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What is Employee Advocacy?

Hayley Sakae

Social Media and Content Coordinator @ AdRoll

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It’s common sense that if your employees wear branded swag out in public, talk about your company at trade shows or post to their Instagram story about your awesome culture, the more likely people are to take notice and start recognizing your brand. The same goes for getting your content seen by online users. 

What if I told you that the key to having your content reach a large, relevant audience on social media is right in front of you? Though it’s not a new concept, employee advocacy has become top-of-mind for many social media marketers and is among some of the biggest trends of 2020. The reason is simple: employees who endorse your brand contribute to brand awareness, new leads and more revenue. 

What’s more, the easier you make it for your employees to advocate for you, the more likely they are to actually do it. Let’s dive into what employee advocacy is, its impact, and what you need to know to create a formal program that employees won’t have any choice but to engage with. 

What is Employee Advocacy?

There are two groups that know your brand well enough to advocate for it: customers and employees. Employee advocacy is a form of word-of-mouth marketing — specifically, the act of empowering the people who work for you to promote your content, your brand, and your product. After all, they’re the ones who breathe your brand day-in and day-out.

According to Sprout Social, the average person’s network is around 846 users. Regardless of how large your company is, that’s almost hundreds of social media users per employee who can potentially be served your content. 

Creating a program is easy when you have the right tools. LinkedIn Elevate, Bambu by Sprout Social and EveryoneSocial have features that allow you to curate relevant content from the backend and allow your employees to share content from within the platform, all while letting you report back on the success of your program with insights like reach, engagement and link clicks.

What’s the Impact of Employee Advocacy?

On top of creating brand awareness and brand recognition for your company, employee advocacy:

  • Helps employees grow their professional brand on social. Employees have the opportunity to be seen as thought leaders, stand out from their peers and create meaningful connections on social media. 
  • Increases revenue for the company. According to Hinge Marketing, sales teams have reported shortened sales cycles, with 64% of participants saying it attracted new business and 45% saying it led to new revenue streams.
  • Decreases paid ad spend for your team. Say your content team wants to promote a blog post. Depending on your current price-per-click (PPC), you could save hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars that would’ve otherwise been spent on paid acquisition — just from having your own team promote it.

Creating a Program That Sticks

1. Assess your employees’ motivations to share

Depending on their job function, employees may benefit from employee advocacy in different ways. For example, content marketers may view employee advocacy through the lens of promoting their bylines. On the other hand, employees in sales could use the content as another touchpoint in their messaging to leads and prospects. By taking note of the different needs, wants and benefits of your individual teams, you can refine messaging to make the impact relevant to all, and curate your content accordingly.

2. Gamify it

Especially at the beginning, when your intent is to get people into the program and engaged, incentives are key. With anything from raffles to tiered prize systems to in-office treats, it’s a win-win for both parties. People love getting free stuff, and you get to encourage adoption of your program.

As the program continues, employees may start seeing the results of their efforts first-hand and set goals for themselves to share, no rewards involved. But when employee advocacy slips the mind of less active participants, it’s important to continue rewarding them so they know that they have something to work toward. 

3. Make it as easy as possible

Your employees already have enough on their plate with their day-to-day jobs, so to get them to stop and perform yet another task may seem daunting. That’s why it’s crucial you answer their question of “what’s in it for me?” and stress that a small effort can have a HUGE impact on the business. 

The process of sharing to social media should also be seamless. Whether it’s plugging in pre-loaded copy or sending weekly reminders, your employees should be able to easily navigate through the program and quickly share with just a few clicks.

At the end of the day, implementing a sound employee advocacy strategy can only help your business. This is the year all brands should use their internal advocates and leverage word-of-mouth to increase brand awareness and revenue. 

Want to learn more about optimizing your company’s organic social media? Check out our blog post on 5 Organic Social Media Tactics to Boost Growth, here.

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