Business development · 24 December 2019

What your employees need to know before creating an advocacy strategy

Employee advocacy is the promotion of a brand from within its organisation. For advocacy success, an employee needs to be on board with the company’s initiative. An engaging and attractive advocacy program is sure to satisfy employees and maintain engagement.

Once employees are satisfied with the company’s culture they are sure to encourage brand promotion from within. Statistics have revealed that 84% of consumers’ value recommendations are from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising. Therefore it makes financial sense for employee advocacy to be a part of an organisation’s marketing plans.

An engaging content strategy

Your content strategy needs to align with your overall business objectives. For example, are you looking to encourage new recruits to the business? Do you want to grow and boost engagement on social media? Or do you just want an easier way to deliver content to your sales team?

First, keep a clear business objective in mind. Then you can begin to explore which types of content will work for you. The types of content could range from blogs, job posts, brand mentions, industry publications, ebooks or webinars.

Having content planned out is only the start of an effective program. You must then need to encourage your staff to share, post and promote this content online. It is necessary to ensure that you have a variety of content that is engaging, relevant and interesting to your employees and their social connections.

For example, if you are a global engineering company, asking employees to share content that is only American specific is not putting your employees first.

You should consider a variety of content such as industry news, internal news, branded content as well as company culture content. This allows the business to supply a wide range of content to its customers – improving your brand awareness and visibility.

Another tip is to get employees involved in the content creation process. Encourage employees to suggest industry topics they find relevant and interesting. You can share department wins to help encourage a culture of thought leadership and inclusion as well.

How to get employees on board: changing the mindset

A study by Pew Research Center revealed that 93% of Millennials in America use social media. It was cited that a large majority (73%) of Millennials who are online believe that the internet positively impacts society.

To influence your employees to engage with an advocacy program, they need to understand why it is being implemented. They must know the benefits it will have on both the company and the individual. You can do this by sharing all the information in a company newsletter, through your internal intranet or through Slack.

Maintaining and supporting employee engagement is understanding the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) factor. An employee advocate has many personal advantages as it drives employees to develop their own personal brand. Helping employees stand out from the crowd and become credible is what makes them sought after individuals in their own industry.

Hinge Marketing reveals that nearly 86% of employees involved in employee advocacy say it has had a positive effect on their careers. Employees that are willing to put forward their expertise and role on social platforms can not only title themselves as thought-leaders but are also able to contribute positively to a business’s growth.

That said, it’s perhaps unsurprising that LinkedIn found that employees of a company often have up to 10 times more followers than the company itself.

You can help your employees develop their own personal brand with coaching and training sessions, ensuring that the message they are expressing remains valuable and their advocacy journey is supported.

Don’t let engagement die

The easier you make it for people to engage with your content, the quicker you will see results. Content has to be easy to share as well as relevant and interesting to your employees’ social connections.

It’s important to remember that not all employees will have the same level of involvement online.  Some people may be more active and present online and some may refrain from posting directly themselves but are happy to share and engage with other colleagues’ posts. Both types of engagement are beneficial to your end goal and are to be encouraged.

To ensure employees stay connected you could introduce gamification. For example, if an employee receives 10 likes by sharing something on LinkedIn, they can improve their position on a leaderboard or even win an incentive.

The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer highlights the emphasis on social impact in advocacy with employees. Employees have the potential to authenticate brand voice and it was found that 67% of employees expect their employer to have a ‘greater purpose’.  Jobs should have a ‘meaningful societal impact’.

Employee advocacy can be an extremely enjoyable aspect of company culture. If your employees enjoy their work environment they are more likely to show enthusiasm promoting the brand.

In today’s digital world, social media is an essential tool to share your brand’s message. The more voices you have sharing those messages, the better the response will be. With an effective employee advocacy program in place, you can transform your brand’s reputation. Excel your employee’s careers and drive growth with a better advocacy program today.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Director of Marketing, at PostBeyond.

HR