July 13, 2024


Technology and Age

12 Steps To Giving Your Employee Advocacy Program Wings

12 Steps To Build A Successful Employee Advocacy Program

It’s common knowledge that people don’t trust brands – they trust other people. All too often, digital marketing can come across as cold and lifeless. But it’s not hard to warm up your digital marketing, and win the trust of prospects and customers.

Why? Because your company consists of people: people who probably have a healthy appetite for sharing their thoughts via social media.

At the risk of lowering the temperature, I shall now introduce one of those frigid-sounding marketing terms: employee advocacy.

But really, it’s a term with a lot more warmth and appeal than you might imagine.

In a nutshell, employee advocacy is the promotion of a company by its people. It involves them talking your business or brand up on social networks because they want to… and it helps boost your company’s visibility and credibility by showing you have a strong relationship with your employees.

Many brands don’t encourage employee advocacy, but they should. If you’re not empowering employees to advocate for your company, you’re missing out on a huge PR opportunity. The conversion, retention and engagement potential is huge.

Check out just some of the benefits companies claim they’ve experienced from employee advocacy, courtesy of a study conducted by Hinge Marketing and Social Media Today.

Data from Smarp, an employee advocacy software company, indicates the average employee advocate has approximately 420 Facebook friends, 400 LinkedIn contacts, and 360 Twitter followers. It’s easy to see how getting them to give you a shout-out on social media has the potential to dramatically amplify the reach of your company’s messaging.

Here is Smarp’s formula for estimating potential reach boost via employee advocacy. It makes a compelling argument.

“Employees who share company content on social media… and spread the good word around can do wonders for your employer brand,” notes Smarp’s Content Manager, Annika Rautakoura. “Employees who feel empowered and in charge of their work will gladly advocate their work and the employer to their social networks.”

Smarp’s platform helps marketers promote internal communication and employee-driven content sharing with features such as a gamified leaderboard and data-rich analytics that can help calculate advocacy-based ROI.

Employee advocacy also overlaps a great deal with employee engagement. “When employees become brand ambassadors, they feel a vested interest in the company’s success and are therefore engaged in exceeding the stated requirements of their job,” writes Sapir Segal on the Oktopost blog. “And the more employees feel engaged, the more they want to continue talking and promoting the company’s brand.”

Providing an end-to-end solution for enterprising B2B social media marketing, Oktopost’s employee advocacy tools enable marketers to post content to themed sharing boards which aggregate to dedicated mobile apps as well as the employee’s web browser. Marketers can easily browse through the platform’s content curation and social listening modules to find the most relevant and fresh content to push to these boards.

Oktopost’s “Social Advocacy” mobile apps make it easy for employees to find relevant suggested content to share, which marketers can organize by topic.

But team members aren’t necessarily going to share content about their employers without a dedicated employment advocacy program to encourage them to do so. “[Employment advocacy] requires proper training, a significant time investment, and the appropriate software tools,” the authors of Understanding Employee Advocacy on Social Media point out.

“The most effective way to motivate employees to advocate the brand on social media is to explain why they are being asked to do so. Both managers and advocates agree that this communication is the biggest motivator, more so than gifts, monetary incentives, or public recognition of performance.”

So what’s a marketing organization to do to foster participation in its employee advocacy program? The following 12 steps are bound to give it wings.