The reputation of a company is reflected in the treatment of its employees. For a business, there is no better advertisement than a passionate, satisfied and happy employee.

By making your employees feel valued, you are raising their morale, self-esteem, and self-confidence, thus creating loyal staff motivated to give their best in achieving the goals of your company.

There is no need to emphasize how important it is to be sincere while doing so. But, there is also a way to take advantage of such a resource. You can grow your employees into your most dedicated and authentic brand ambassadors. It can be an awesome way to boost your brand reputation and help attract new talents who share similar values.

Employee advocacy is contemporary influencer marketing. It has been around for decades in various forms, but the internet and social media have revolutionized it. Yet, there are plenty of companies that haven’t been activating their employees as marketing, sales, and recruiting assets.

Let’s see how to improve that. But, first…

What is Employee Advocacy?

Simply put, employee advocacy is the promotion of a company by its staff members. Employee advocacy activities include recommending your company’s products or services to friends or family members and raising awareness of your brand through various online or offline channels. 

Employee advocates also represent the best interests of your company, internally and externally alike, and provide insight into the company culture. As you can see, you and/or your staff may have already been using some of these marketing tactics without realizing it.

There are different ways in which your employees can advocate for your company, both off and online. However, social media proved to be the fastest, most effective, and most common channel for employee advocacy.

Here is why.

Employee Advocacy on Social Media

Traditional marketing channels have long ago left the scene to the digital ones. Your customers spend a lot of their free time on their social media networks, but so do your employees.

It’s not just marketers, salespeople, and paid influencers who can share your content. Your complete workforce can find relevance in the content your marketing team creates and, therefore, be your brand voice.

Though bloggers and social media celebrities certainly have large followings, it’s not so uncommon for regular people to have hundreds or thousands of followers too. Since they have already built a certain reputation, activating such employees to be the ambassadors of your brand can be the key social media growth hack for your business.

Benefits of Employee Advocacy

Building Your Brand Reputation

As mentioned above, employees are the mirror of the company. When workers are happy with the company and the work environment, when they feel respected, valued, and have a sense of purpose, they are willing to share it with their friends, colleagues, and peers around the globe.

Once they share something positive about your brand, it cannot go unnoticed. It puts your company and brand in the spotlight and spreads the message. Word of mouth is the best advertisement. When it comes from your employees, that word is even more valuable. While making a decision regarding a purchase, generated leads trust employees more than they trust CEOs or the marketing department., and this reflects on your conversion rates.

When you create a culture that your employees value, they then want to share it on their profiles with other people. The total social media reach of your staff can be greater than that of your brand. You should take advantage of it and try to grow your social media following organically.

Improve Your Brand Visibility

The results of a study by Cisco showed that employees’ posts on social media generate eight times more engagement than the same content shared on the brand’s official profiles. Additionally, your employees’ network can number up to ten times more followers than that of your company. This, of course, depends on the size of the company.

For easier calculation, let’s assume that your business has 100 employees and 5,000 fans on your Facebook business page. If each of the employees has an average of 400 friends on Facebook, the total reach is 40,000 people. There lies the possibility to reach a much larger audience.

Having employees who share your content and promote your initiatives is like having more accounts on social media that promote your brand. Except that they are more authentic and less promotional.

However, it also means that your employees need to take a proactive approach when it comes to managing a social media workflow. They need to plan and schedule Facebook posts to create a constant output. It’s important for your employees to be able to schedule Facebook posting themselves, and they can do that easily with a dedicated tool and a centralized platform. That said, keep in mind this needs to be an organic approach that’s not blatant PR for your brand.

Adding More Human Element to Your Brand

When employees post online information related to their workplaces, the message is viewed as more genuine and trustworthy. Their personal yet objective insight can make a difference in how the audience relates to the brand.

The same applies to avoiding the more professional jargon and using more common and colloquial phrases. All that helps humanize your brand. A message that bears a more human touch is more receptive.

Let’s set team-building activities as an example. New job candidates will trust the pictures and comments posted by your employees regarding team-building activities in your company rather than the same content posted on your official social networks.

The psychology behind this is straightforward – the experience of your company gatherings, the overall atmosphere, and their willingness to participate seem more genuine when coming from the employees themselves.

Employee Advocacy Strategy

As you can see, employee advocacy can be a powerful marketing tool. Like every other marketing effort, it requires more than simply telling your staff to share your content on their personal profiles.

To get the best of it, you need to develop a plan, a policy, a guideline, and a consistent social media calendar. You need to set goals and find the right people among your workforce to deliver this task to. You also need to provide them with a great platform and quality content they can share.

Though the actions they take might have already revealed the employee advocacies in your company, you still need to prove proper training and helpful tips. You can increase their willingness to participate in these extracurricular activities by offering guidance on:

  • Relevant social media channels they should post to
  • A list of topics and links to share
  • An insight into posting interval
  • Identified target audience and set tone of voice
  • Training on how to optimize their social media profiles
  • A list of appropriate hashtags
  • Suggested captions for sharing content
  • Define the value behind employee advocacy

Don’t hesitate to go into detail. As in making every strategy, it is always better to calculate every step in advance than to be taken aback by a sudden situation, unprepared to react. Introducing your advocates even into something as basic as email subject line formulas can come in handy in certain situations.

However, half of brands find it difficult to keep their employees motivated. That is why it is important to nurture relationships with your staff and communicate the benefits the employees themselves can gain from participating in employee advocacy programs.

In fact, 86% of employees in companies that have a formal employee advocacy program say that their involvement in social media for professional purposes has helped in building their careers.

Like every other marketing strategy, employee advocacy requires lots of effort and patience to get the results. Similarly, measuring and analyzing social media success is vital for an employee advocacy program. It gives you an insight into what works and what needs to be improved.

On the other side, the payoffs of employee advocacy are enormous. It might be the right time to give it a try.

Author Bio

Nina Petrov is a content marketing specialist, passionate about graphic design, content marketing, and the new generation of green and social businesses. She starts the day scrolling her digest on new digital trends while sipping a cup of coffee with milk and sugar. Her white little bunny tends to reply to your emails when she is on vacation.