Employee Advocacy is something a lot of companies don't think to add to their marketing mix, and yet it's highly effective in building audiences, engagement, and ultimately, bringing in more sales. So let's get into it.
What is employee advocacy?
The formal definition: Employee Advocacy refers to the practice of empowering and encouraging employees to promote a company's brand, products, or services through their personal social media channels. It involves employees acting as brand ambassadors, sharing company content, and engaging with their networks.
The informal definition: your employees help spread the word about your business on social media.
What are the benefits of Employee Advocacy efforts?
Increased brand visibility: When employees share company content, it reaches a wider audience and increases brand awareness. Not sure if your employees are connected to your target audience? Start with the sales team and have them actively connect with those targets prior to starting the sharing process.
Doubled engagement: People trust recommendations from people they know. We've proven in the real world that people engage with content from people 2X more than when that same content comes from a brand!
Amplified reach: By leveraging the networks of employees, a company can significantly increase its reach on social media platforms.
Cost-effective marketing: While building the process to easily allow employees to share content has some operational cost, you'll easily recoup those costs and then some. How do you measure that? With earned media. Earned media is the equivalent value of what it would have cost to get a click from an ad. If your average click cost on LinkedIn is $5, then a click from a post shared by an employee is worth $5. If you spend $10,000 to set up your sharing process, it'll take 2,000 clicks to cover that cost. Sound like a lot of clicks? Find your most well-connected employees to get a strong start.
If you're already creating engaging ad content, then it can be easily repurposed here, and vice versa.
Improved employee morale and satisfaction: Engaged employees who actively participate in advocating for their company's brand often experience increased job satisfaction and a sense of pride in their work.
The basics of establishing an Employee Advocacy program:
Clearly define the goals and objectives of the program, whether it's increasing brand visibility, generating leads, or driving website traffic.
Provide proper training and guidelines to employees, ensuring they understand the company's brand voice, content sharing policies, and social media best practices.
Encourage and recognize employee participation by creating incentives, such as gamification elements or rewards for top advocates (if your legal department allows).
Implement a monitoring and measurement system to track the impact of employee advocacy efforts, including reach, engagement, website traffic, conversions, and earned media totals.
Understanding the risks:
Work with your legal and cybersecurity departments to address concerns regarding potential risks, such as inappropriate or unauthorized content sharing of intellectual property, recognizing scams, and more.
Clearly communicate guidelines and boundaries to employees to maintain brand consistency and prevent any negative impact. This can happen in internal webinars, training sites, and forums.
Provide ongoing support and resources to employees to help them effectively participate in the employee advocacy program. Some employees are hesitant simply because they're not terribly comfortable with writing. Whether your team writes the post or allows employees to write their own, provide help to make it as easy as possible for them to share the content.
Regularly assess and adapt the program based on feedback and insights to ensure continuous improvement and alignment with business goals. Sometimes the content doesn't resonate with either 1) the employee; or 2) the end customer. Learn to know the difference and modify the program accordingly.