Sometimes, the best brand advocates are sitting right under your nose. Yes, we mean your employees! A company’s long-standing employees possess all the knowledge, experience, and passion needed to advocate their respective brands effectively—and social media is the perfect place to do it.
Recent studies show that consumers value the staff’s opinions of the brands they follow. But an employee advocacy program on social media doesn’t just benefit customers. It also helps the employees themselves, along with the company as a whole.
Keep reading as we dive deep into why you need a content strategy for employee advocacy on social media and how your company can use it to increase sales, brand awareness, and employee satisfaction.
What is employee advocacy?
Employee advocacy is the promotion of a brand or company on social media by the people who work there. In the past, employees have been discouraged from posting about their professional roles and experiences online. But today, this is being leveraged as a tool for connecting with a broad audience.
A good employee advocacy program will allow employees to amplify company messages and increase brand awareness. It will offer an “inside perspective” of their brand to consumers and serve as an expert recommender for that brand’s services or products.
Let’s take a look at some popular employee advocacy statistics:
- Branded company messages on social media have a 561% reach when posted by employees as opposed to impersonal branded channels (Forbes).
- Employee posts get double the click through rates than if they come from the company itself. Employees can drive more traffic to your site, along with improved engagement (Beekeeper).
- Brand messages are re-shared 24 times more frequently when distributed by employees. Better yet, leads developed through employee advocacy convert 7 times more (Nael Schaffer).
- 87.2% of the employees participating in employee advocacy programs recognized that it contributed to expanding their professional network. A further 76% believed that it helped them keep up with industry trends (Hinge Research Institute).
- 86% of employees state that an employee advocacy program has positively impacted their careers (Edelman Report 2021).
Creating a content strategy for an employee advocacy platform means your customers get a more personalized perspective on your brand. On top of that, employees are uplifted and empowered to do their jobs well. This kind of brand synergy is hard to come by, hence employee advocacy’s fast-growing popularity.
Benefits of employee advocacy on social media for businesses
There are many benefits that come with a strong employee advocacy program. With the correct guidelines and systems in place, brands can advance in a variety of essential areas. Here’s what you could look forward to.
1. Strengthens staff retention and engagement
Numerous studies have indicated that employees are one of the biggest benefactors of an employee advocacy program. It fosters thought leadership, enhances their perception of the organization they work in, and creates more networking opportunities.
In fact, a LinkedIn report found that 58% of companies with an employee advocacy program are more likely to attract and retain top talent.
2. Improves brand sentiment
Brand sentiment is the emotional relationship people share with a brand. With an employee advocacy program, both employees and customers can develop a more personalized and humanized perspective on a company, allowing for improved brand sentiment to thrive.
3. Increases sales
These programs can bring in thousands of new leads and consumers through organic reach. For every employee that shares content about their company on social media, a whole new pool of potential customers is being advertised to. Word-of-mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing tools, and few do it better than an enthusiastic employee.
4. Fortifies brand loyalty and trust
Trust and loyalty are very important for brands. Studies repeatedly show that consumers far prefer branded content from real people as opposed to business accounts or influencers as they find it more authentic. This makes employees a powerful tool for building brand loyalty and trust amongst followers.
Benefits of employee advocacy for employees
Employee advocacy programs on social media don’t just benefit your business, they can have a positive impact on employees too.
1. Personal growth and development
Employee advocacy can help employees to build their own social media presence, creating valuable connections in the industry. It’s an opportunity to showcase their knowledge, highlighting career successes. It’s the ultimate networking opportunity, allowing them to gain influence in this space.
2. Creates transparency and unites teams
Many employees benefit from a deeper understanding of company goals and initiatives. Taking part in an employee advocacy program means employees are exposed to the company’s wider vision, along with a more in-depth scope of other departments and their areas of focus. It can build camaraderie across the organization, making it a more enjoyable work environment for all parties. A united team can be incredibly powerful for employee morale, sparking that feeling of belonging and purpose which is incredibly rewarding.
Potential challenges to your employee advocacy program
As with any new project, there are a few challenges to be aware of before you get started. That way, you can hit the ground running, combatting potential pitfalls from the get-go.
1. Low adoption rate
Many employees around the world prefer to keep their online presence free of business-affiliated content—and companies need to respect that. Unfortunately, that means some brands may see a low adoption rate of employees willing to partake in an online advocacy program. However, according to some studies, the number of employees interested in participating in a program like this is rising.
2. Tools or technology issues
In order for employees to post high-quality content, they will likely need access to functional tools and technology. Proper cameras, smartphones, editing software, and content management sites can help to produce high-quality, consumer-engaging content.
3. Employee perception liability
The risk of employees sharing inappropriate content is something for brands to consider. To combat this, it helps to implement a thorough social media training program. You may also want to consider content screening processes for the early phases.
Top tips to get started with employee advocacy on social media
Now that we’ve covered the basics of employee advocacy and how it can benefit your brand, let’s move on to some best practices for starting a program in your organization.
1. Create a positive workplace culture
Before you can even think about initiating an employee advocacy program on social media, you need to make sure employees actually derive value from working with you. This will make employees more willing to participate and the content itself more authentic.
Investing in your employees’ experience at your company will feed into positive workplace culture and give workers more incentive to share it with the public. And with authentic content being so popular online, the more value employees extract from their brand, the more they will put out into the world.
2. Incentivize employees to participate
While employee advocacy on social media can hugely benefit employees, the rewards are not always immediately accessible. Bearing that in mind, some additional incentivization can encourage them to participate in your program.
Perks like company recognition and referral bonuses are some of the most attractive incentives for employees. However, your company can get creative about rewarding participation with incentives that suit the working environment and workplace culture.
3. Provide guidelines and training
Guidelines and rules are fundamental when it comes to implementing and running a successful employee advocacy program. People who don’t spend much time online may lack social media etiquette, which could ultimately harm your brand’s reputation and render the program disastrous.
Before actually implementing employee advocacy on social media, make sure each participant goes through basic social media training first.
This can be implemented as an upskilling program that not only allows them to participate in employee advocacy but also benefits them in other aspects of their career.
4. Set KPIs and goals for your employee advocacy program
As with any other program, setting goals and KPIs is essential for measuring progress. Some basic factors that can help to shape KPIs include:
- Company size and industry
- Adoption rate
- Organic reach
- Active participation
All of these variables should play a role in setting specific KPIs for an employee advocacy program. They will help you understand what needs tweaking or adjusting along the way.
Should you launch your own employee advocacy campaign on social media?
Only some businesses are in the right position to launch an employee advocacy program on social media. However, you’d be surprised how simple it is once certain bases are covered.
If you’re wondering whether your business could benefit from an employee advocacy campaign, consider these factors:
- You have the budget – Planning and implementing an employee advocacy campaign takes considerable time, effort, and money. A training program will need to be developed, and rewards will need to be supplied to incentivize participation.
- Customer engagement is low – Employee advocacy has repeatedly shown its ability to renew engagement and connection with customers and content consumers from around the world.
- Employee retention is low – You can fix this serious problem through proper incentivization and investment in employee satisfaction and potential for growth – both of which are benefits that come alongside employee advocacy.
Even if your business cannot facilitate employee advocacy on social media right now, shelving it for a time when resources allow for it is still a good idea.
Let Clearview Social Help You Get The Best Results
Businesses should always seek new ways to grow their online audience. Everyone wins if you provide employees with the tools they need to feel satisfied and fulfilled in their careers. Employee advocacy does both of these things and more.
For your program to be successful, you’ll need assistance with building personal profiles for your team. Clearview Social is a great place to start! We specialize in this, making it easy and fun for your teams to start sharing approved company content.
With Clearview social you can build a queue of articles about your business, employees can receive prompts to share approved content, and you’ll gain access to the AI PeakTime™ allowing you to post at the most strategic times of the day. Moreover, you’ll be able to track analytics and insights, understanding the full impact of your content.
Get as much as 8x more engagement on company-related social media posts shared by your employees. Schedule a free demo with Clearview Social today!