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What is Employee Advocacy? Why Employee Advocacy?

Companies use various resources to reach their target audience and promote their business. Social media advertising, third party endorsements and sponsored posts on niche websites are a few of the ways that companies use to spread the word about their business.

However, one of the most effective resources that many companies neglect is their employees. Everyone knows that happy employees mean growth, retention and great culture at a company. Employees advocates can play a significant role in reaching a company’s target audience and influencing people’s decisions. With the right employee advocacy platform, you can activate employee advocates to move the needle for important business goals.

The whats and whys of social media employee advocacy

A business might ask its employees to actively promote the organization, usually through social media. In a world that’s driven by digital media and experiences, social media employee advocacy can make a significant contribution to business. A social media post such as “Just helped Client A earn 1,000,000 impressions on social media”, can demonstrate to potential clients your capabilities and establish trust for future projects on which you might work together.

Putting faces on your brand

Employee advocacy also gets clients and investors in touch with your workforce – the faces behind your brand, adding credibility to the claims you make on social media. People connect with other people most; they don’t connect with faceless brands.

In fact, that’s why global brands such as Walmart and Starbucks feature employees as part of their content and communication across all channels. They invest a lot of capital in engaging employees as an integral part of their marketing and audience outreach programs.

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Reaching clients, investors and future employees

Employee advocacy doesn’t necessarily have to target only clients. An employee advocate may share a social media post that says “Just enjoyed a gourmet meal at the office, thanks boss!,” and this would essentially show people in his(her) network that his(her) company is a great place to work. Every HR, manager or marketer knows that an employee’s social network is the best source of high-quality leads for current job openings. However, employee advocacy is also a great way to establish a strong employer brand that speaks to passive job seekers, who are great candidates for specialized and high level jobs within an organization.

Alternatively, an employee could share “We just outperformed this month’s targets,” and that would create a strongly positive image of the brand among passive investors. If your C-suite employees are active advocates themselves, such messages could reach warm investors who are already a part of their social networks.

So, why use employee networks? Isn’t sharing on brand social media pages enough?

Here’s what happens each time an employee shares a social media post.

  • Your reach expands – If each employee has a 1000 social media connections across various social networks (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.), your total reach or potential impressions via employees would be (enter number of employees here) * 1000 = (total reach). According to one study by the MSLgroup, your social media reach could increase upto 561% via post sharing by employee advocates.
  • Your influence increases92% of social media users trust in employee recommendations more than they do in brand recommendations. And trust is a critical part of staying connected with your target audience during the fake news era, in which all sources of information on social media are generally being regarded with scepticism.
  • Your impact deepens – Word of mouth strongly impacts consumers’ purchase decisions, especially when these recommendations come from friends and family. According to this study, word of mouth recommendations reduce perceived risk, simplifies complexity and increases confidence in a consumer’s decision-making.

Plus, here are 9 other reasons why you should consider investing in employee advocacy.

  • Employee advocacy is a great content distribution strategy to achieve virality. In fact, brand content is reshared 24 times more frequently when shared by employees when compared with when it is shared by the brand.
  • Employee advocacy can revive your brand pages that are devoid of social media engagement. In fact, according to SocialMediaToday, brand content shared by employees begets 8X more engagement than brand content shared via a brand’s social media channels.
  • Employee advocacy doubles-up as a great conversion optimization technique. Leads generated via employee advocacy are 7X as likely to convert as leads generated via other sources.
  • Employee advocacy programs enable long-term employee engagement and retention. Employees of companies that have advocacy programs in place are more likely to feel positive about their jobs and stay longer at their companies.
  • Employee advocacy requires relatively less capital and yields a great ROI. Employees are already active on social media; A little momentum in the right direction can help you transform your brand’s social media results. In fact, we’ve found that employee advocacy can yield up to 1.4 million impressions and $21-$31K equivalent advertising value per 100 active employees.
  • Employee advocacy can increase customer retention and reduce turnover losses. After all, the human touch matters and customers are more likely to respond better to human faces. In fact, customers referred by employee advocates are 37% more likely to stick with your business.
  • Employee advocacy is highly beneficial to all parties involved. Close to 31% of all high-growth organizations have an employee advocacy program in place, and about 86% of employee advocates who are part of a formal program say it has positively impacted their career.
  • Employee advocacy enables low cost recruitment. In fact, with a proper employee advocacy program, you can run zero cost recruitment programs that help you identify the best candidates for the job who are usually employee referrals.
  • Employee advocacy is the simplest way to create brand awareness and build a positive perception about your brand. 60 million American employees are already sharing positive content about their brands on social media.

So, you get it. Employee advocacy can change your business in today’s digital world. But why have all employees participate? Why not just the marketing department?

Enabling diverse business goals via employee advocacy

Employee advocacy can help you make an impact in so many areas of your business apart from just social media marketing. However, each of those goals require different segments of your employee network and different content strategies. Think about it. Each goal has a whole different target audience made of members with unique content consumption and conversion behaviors. Here are a few business areas that can benefit from using employee advocacy, along with the most relevant employee segment for each area.

  • Marketing – all employees and marketing, sales and customer support teams
  • Business development – business development executives and business analytics, C-suite executives
  • Sales – sales executives
  • Recruitment – HR and any department that’s recruiting
  • Customer support – sales and customer support executives
  • PR – PR managers, C-suite executives, senior managers and all employees who are social media influencers
  • Employee growth & retention – all employees

That’s why it’s important to set definite goals before running an employee advocacy program. You could chase one or all of these goals, but ensure that you have the right set of employees and content for each of the goals you pursue.

Alright, then what?

Why should you use an employee advocacy platform? Why not just ask employees to share?

Employee advocacy doesn’t require a lot of resources apart from employees and the right content. However, there are several reasons why your employee advocacy program might fail even if you have the right employees and content.

  • Content sharing isn’t easy. If it’s hard, people won’t do it. Even if they do, they are highly likely to give up over time.
  • Employees are not motivated to participate. If employees don’t have sufficient motivation, they won’t do it. Workplace culture and excitement are great intrinsic motivators, but you can also consider monthly incentives and/or employee effort recognition programs. According to a TimesJobs study, 35% attribute their sub-par performance to lack of recognition and appreciation.
  • Program manager can’t measure ROI and make a case for investing in employee advocacy. Marketing executives who suggest employee advocacy as a solution often struggle with measuring the effects of their programs and proving to the board/C-suite execs that the investment is worthwhile.

Each of these issues can be resolved by using an employee advocacy platform such as DrumUp. Here’s how.

Overcoming employee advocacy challenges using tech

There exist a plethora of employee advocacy apps in the market that simplify management of such a program and make the program measurable. Here’s how we do it at DrumUp.

  • DrumUp allows automatic content sourcing from your blog (via RSS feed reading) and social media pages for easy sharing with employees. Following a 5 second setup, employees will see your blog and social media posts in the “company stream” on their dashboards each time something gets published.
  • The platform makes it easy for employees to share company content on their social media accounts through 1-click scheduling, auto-posting and easy sharing across multiple accounts that they can easily connect to DrumUp. All of this can also be done via mobile apps while on the move.
  • Employee advocates invited to use DrumUp are automatically entered in a monthly advocacy contest which runs on a points system and incentives for top performers that you can choose.
  • To keep employees engaged and active, DrumUp has an automated email system that informs employees of new posts, contest standings and winners.
  • All posts published through DrumUp are tracked to measure employee engagement and measure the impact of employee sharing on social media.

Employee advocacy is an ingenious way to amplify your content. If you’d like to try the program today, visit DrumUp and get started with your free trial. If you want to learn more about how to run such a program, take a look at our employee advocacy guide.

Hope this helps!

Feature image via Freepik.com