In a time where the relationship between brands and their audience is so crucial, marketing directors need to do everything they can to foster engagement, trust, and connection with the outside world.
And as it turns out, consumers are far more likely to respond to employee voices than the brands that hire them.
When high-performing employees advocate their brand’s mission, message, and core values, it can lead to dramatically increased conversion rates, audience reach, and more.
In the future, brands that use employee advocacy programs on social media are likely to be the frontrunners in the marketing field.
Today, we’ll answer common questions about what employee advocacy is, as well as provide employee advocacy examples, strategies, and best practices going forward.
What Is Employee Advocacy?
Employee advocacy is a marketing technique that uses employees’ voices, experiences, and testimonials to promote their employer or brand.
Few understand the essential mission and core of a brand more than the employees that work for it. And they can use their uniquely familiar perspectives to engage with the outside world as a means to bring in more business, expand audience reach, and even boost sales.
Employee advocacy is often implemented on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. It can come in the form of promotional posts, blog posts, videos, or testimonials. However, it needs to be treated as a proper social media campaign with a tactical, efficient strategy in place.
Some recent stats showcase how a social media employee advocacy program can positively benefit brands, employers, and employees:
- Content shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than content shared by brands (Forbes)
- Brand messages can travel up to 561% further when posted by employees (Forbes)
- Employee advocacy programs can generate 16% better win rates and drive 48% larger deals (SalesIntel)
- Leads developed through employee advocacy programs produce 7x more conversions (Business2Community)
- Employees who participate in an employee advocacy program are more likely to stay with their company and further their careers within it (Prophet)
Despite these promising statistics, only a meager 20% of employers implemented an employee advocacy program on social media in 2022. However, this is primarily due to a need for more understanding of this form of marketing. But with access to the right tools and information, any company can implement it.
Answering the question, “what is employee advocacy” is simple. In a nutshell, it’s a social media campaign strategy that uses the platforms and voices of top-performing employees to promote the brand they work for.
What Are The Advantages Of Employee Advocacy To Organizations?
There are many practical and social advantages to implementing an employee advocacy program. From improved marketing metrics to happier employees, let’s dive into what makes this type of social media campaign so effective for brands.
- Brand humanization – Consumers are craving authenticity from brands more than ever before. Employee advocacy is a great and highly accessible way to create it. By using the voices and experiences of real humans who know the company inside out, consumers are more compelled by their message, reinforcing their relationship with the brand.
- Increased sales and conversion – Collectively, employees possess a much broader reach than a single brand account. This allows them to cast a wider outreach net, leading to increased sales, conversion rates, and online engagement.
- Happier, more engaged employees – Employee advocacy doesn’t just benefit organizations – it benefits the employees, too. In fact, those who contribute to an advocacy campaign are more likely to feel engaged at work, loyal to their brand, and experience more career growth opportunities.
- Helps attract and retain top talent – Because employee advocacy programs benefit employees too, they can serve as powerful incentives for both attracting and retaining top performers. That means a higher overall retention rate and a faster hiring process when seeking new, talented employees for the company.
Examples Of Successful Employee Advocacy Programs By Top Brands
Over the years, hundreds of successful brands have utilized the employee advocacy strategy to uplift their brand and expand their reach. Some of the most notable ones include:
Gainsight is a software strategy company that has used employee advocacy to foster thought leadership, increase site visitors, and expand reach by 1.3 million audience members. They encourage employees (everyone from the CEO to the interns) to upload approved, brand-focused content that results in amplified leads, conversion rates, and service bookings.
We are all familiar with this famous beverage brand. But one of the things that led this massive company to success was implementing an employee advocacy program.
Starbucks employees get regularly featured on the brand sites, adding a warming, human touch to the brand experience. They also refer to participating employees as “partners”, giving workers a sense of recognition and affirmation, which aids engagement levels.
Merck is a company that uses an employee advocacy program to enhance and streamline the recruitment process. This is achieved through employees posting regular images and content around their favorite experiences with the company and celebrating the high number of women that work for Merck. As a female-dominated space, they attract high-performing women from around the world.
6 Effective Employee Advocacy Strategies
Now that we’ve established what employee advocacy is and why it is so effective, let’s take a look at some of the actionable ways you can start developing a strategy for implementing one at your company.
1. Establish goals and objectives
Before you start laying down the groundwork for your employee advocacy program, it is crucial to define your objectives. What is the purpose of the program? What are you trying to achieve? It could be attracting new talent, boosting employee satisfaction, improving online reach, or something else.
Once you have a clear idea of the intention behind your program, you will be able to develop and execute it with more precision and a higher likelihood of success. It goes for any project or campaign. By defining your overarching goals and objectives, you’ll define the foundations for your execution.
2. Define criteria for participating employees
Employee advocacy needs to reflect the company’s best interests. You don’t want every employee posting whatever they want whenever they want – it needs to be monitored for the best results.
Defining criteria for who can participate in the program will ensure that the content posted by employees is 100% appropriate and approved. Generally speaking, employees with the best performance, track record, and online following are usually the ones encouraged to participate.
3. Create, set, and implement policies
Policies are essential for any new company campaign or program. They add the necessary structure, boundaries, and guidelines to create the best system possible. Without procedures, employees may feel free to post offensive, divisive content derailing the program’s purpose.
Therefore, solid guidelines and policies must be set in motion well before any employees officially join the program. It can (and should) include post requirements such as a company hashtag or relevant tagging.
4. Provide training
Unless most of your employees fall into the Gen Z category (and even then, this strategy is still relevant), social media training is extremely important for a successful employee advocacy program. Essential social media skills such as:
- The best times to post content
- Selecting the best images for engagement
- The right platforms for specific audiences
- How to phrase captions
- What topics to focus on or avoid
Having a broad understanding of how social media works and how best to utilize it to reach the defined goals is absolutely necessary for a strong employee advocacy program. Free upskilling can also incentivize employees to participate in the campaign.
5. Track KPIs
Once you have your goals, guidelines, policies, and training programs set up, you can go ahead and launch your employee advocacy program. But once that happens, measuring KPIs is the new task.
KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) help us track progress over time. When implementing any new social media campaign or program, tracking KPIs is essential for gaining insight into its efficacy. That way, you can celebrate future milestones more accurately.
6. Outsource your employee advocacy strategy
Implementing a new kind of social media strategy can feel like exploring uncharted territory – and in many ways, it is. You can ensure the best results by hiring an external company that possesses all the tools, templates, and professional expertise needed to execute a strong program. A half-hearted internal strategy is unlikely to have the impact you’re after.
Not sure where to look? Clearview Social is a company dedicated to providing resources, consultation, and expert strategy development for brands wanting to implement employee advocacy via social media.
Employee Advocacy Program Best Practices
When it comes to implementing a fresh employee advocacy program for your company on social media, it can help to familiarize yourself with popular best practices for high-performing results.
1. Prioritize workplace culture
The healthier and more positive your workplace culture is, the more successful an employee advocacy program will be. Employees who aren’t happy won’t feel motivated to promote their company. Investing in and prioritizing their lived-in experience is important for many reasons, and this is one of them.
2. Offer incentives
Not everyone will want to participate in the program. After all, it requires onboarding and training. Some employees may perceive this as extra effort. But with some incentive, you can motivate employees to join the campaign, adding the value you need to drive success.
Firstly, you can highlight the many benefits for employees that participate: free upskilling, higher job satisfaction levels, a more competitive career, and more growth opportunities. But you can also offer desirable rewards that encourage employees to give it their best shot. These could be monetary or simply internal office perks.
3. Follow trends
Social media trends are fickle and ever-changing. Keeping tabs on what kind of employee advocacy content is popular throughout the year will help you develop a program that is primed for success.
Essentially, the message here is to keep your finger on the social media pulse, motivate employees to participate with rewards, and invest in the quality of their employee experience. Achieving an effective and sustainable employee advocacy program will be much easier with these best practices.
How Clearview Social Can Help
Employee advocacy is still a relatively new approach on the marketing scene.
However, it’s picking up fast, and it’s easy to see why. If you’re curious about developing and implementing a strong employee advocacy program for your brand, utilizing the support and expertise of Clearview Social can make all the difference.
With state-of-the-art employee advocacy software, tools, and professional team members, Clearview Social can help your business cultivate a powerful social media campaign that focuses on using the perspectives of employees to boost both themselves and the company.
Contact us to book a free demo today to see what we can do for your business.