E M P L O Y E E A D V O C A C Y
Employees are a companies most valuable asset. A happy and productive workforce leads to growth, retention, and strong culture. But many organisations are not fully tapping into the true potential of their teams.
In a world driven by digital and social, employee advocacy is essential.
What Is Employee Advocacy?
The employee advocacy definition is quite simple: it is the promotion of your company by the people who work for it. People advocate for their employers on social media all the time. A Facebook post like, “Just had a great catered lunch at work. Thanks, [Employer!]” counts as employee advocacy. So does sharing the latest post from the company blog on your LinkedIn feed.
This informal, everyday sharing isn’t what has the marketing world excited, however. Employee advocacy as a marketing tactic is a strategic, sustainable program to encourage employees to share brand values and messages in an organic way.
In short, an employee advocacy program should be strategic, sustainable and organic.
Types of Employee Advocacy
When you activate your employees with a structured and goal-oriented plan for sharing content, digital reach grows dramatically - and it’s measurable.
Beyond raising brand awareness, there are two desired core outcomes of an employee advocacy program, so the makeup of any initiative will usually be framed around achieving one, or (quite often) both.
Attracting New Business: Amplifying your brand through the networks of your employees can dramatically boost visibility, potentially capturing the attention of many new prospective customers. When this is the objective, employees are often encouraged to share content that will appeal to the types of people or organisations you seek to do business with.
Attracting New Talent: Most organisations are making emphatic efforts to foster high workplace morale through employee perks, company outings, personal development initiatives, and more. But it’s difficult to promote these efforts from up-top without sounding self-congratulatory. Empowering your employees to share experiences and impressions from their own perspectives can communicate these benefits in a more authentic and relatable way.
What are the Benefits of Employee Advocacy?
What kinds of goals can employee advocacy help you achieve? What should your employee advocacy platform be designed to do?
There are three major areas of your business that employee advocacy can impact:
On average, employees collectively have social networks ten times larger than a corporate brand does. That means your advocacy program can drastically extend your reach. More than this, employee shares are seen as more authentic than corporate shares, and people are more likely to engage with the content. Employee shares have double the click-through-rate of corporate shares.
Social media presence is a necessary component of modern sales. Even in the B2B space, buyers are using social media to help guide their purchasing decisions. They’re looking for trusted advisors who can help them solve problems.
Salespeople in an employee advocacy program are better equipped to become that trusted advisor. They’re more active on social media, therefore easier for buyers to engage with. They share valuable content, engage in conversation, and help solve problems. Their sharing leads to increased LinkedIn Profile views and an expanded professional network.
Employee advocacy for salespeople can help increase the number of sales-qualified leads, attract and develop new business, shorten sales cycles, and bring in new revenue streams. Salespeople who regularly share quality content are 45% more likely to exceed quota.
Recruiting is partly a marketing function, because attracting top talent requires a stellar brand reputation. It’s marketing’s job to develop that reputation.
Socially engaged employees help boost the brand within their networks and beyond. They share what makes your company great with their peers, while demonstrating the high level of talent your company already possesses.
Companies with a successful employee advocacy program are 58% more likely to attract and 20% more likely to retain top talent. They can actually attribute specific hires to their advocacy program—in some cases, hundreds of them.
Each of the following five steps will help lay the groundwork for effective and sustainable employee brand advocacy:
1. Define Goals and Objectives
These shape your program and help bring it into focus. While the primary goals will likely fall under one of the two broad categories mentioned earlier (Attracting New Business or Attracting New Talent), there are a number of more specific objectives your program can aim to achieve. For instance:
Add X new Company Page followers on LinkedIn
Increase traffic to website by X%
These types of concrete targets will make it easier for everyone involved to see the program’s purpose and upside from the very start. And because you can continually track them, you’ll be able to gauge how well the program is working.
2. Create Channels for Communication and Transparency
Successfully rolling out an employee advocacy program requires consistent open communication. You won’t get widespread participation unless everyone clearly understands why you’re doing it, how it’s going to affect their daily workflow, and what’s expected of them.
3. Gain Buy-In from Executives and Leaders
Your employee advocacy program is far more likely to be successful if your company’s leaders are visibly on board. Incorporate voices from the C-suite in your communications while building up to launch. Highlight executives who are already engaging in advocacy practices and cite them as examples worth following. A top-down approach will almost always yield best results.
4. Content Curation
Create a pipeline of relevant shareable content. Your company’s employees have diverse interests and personalities, which are often reflective of your customer base. They are best positioned to determine what sort of content their colleagues will want to share, and what will resonate best in their networks.
5. Launch Your Employee Advocacy Program
Once you’ve outlined your objectives, created channels of communication, gained buy-in from up top, and assembled your content curators, it’s time to kick off your employee brand advocacy program. In terms of timing, it makes sense to launch around the time of a major industry event, or an annual company outing. This will ensure there is no shortage of pertinent content to share, and will help the initiative hit the ground running with momentum.
How Can I Make Employee Advocacy Sustainable?
The long-term success of your employee advocacy program is up to you and your employees. You could mandate sharing as part of their job description, but that leads to uninspiring, corporate-sounding shares. To keep enthusiasm up, give employees content they want to share, and let them see how their sharing is affecting the business.
People want to share content that they find genuinely interesting. Let your employees have a voice in choosing content that resonates with them, as well as holding value for the audience. Make employees part of the curation process, and you will get more engagement down the line.
For more on Employee Advocacy programmes, contact us here.