Employee Advocacy on Social Media: What is it and How to Do it Right (1/2)

Employee Advocacy on Social Media

When somebody advocates for your brand or business, they extend the reach of your message by sharing it with their network. With employee advocacy on social media program, employees are the ones doing the advocating.

What’s employee advocacy on social media?

Employee advocacy is the promotion of an organization by its workforce. This can mean that employees share info about particular products or campaigns. Or, it could mean that employees share the company culture online. This could help increase brand reputation and make recruitment simpler.

Employee advocacy could take many forms, however, the most common and efficient channel is social media.

The reasons why are easy.

Your employees already have social media profiles. They might even be on some platforms that your brand is not. And they definitely have fans that you do not. Plus, they might already be sharing business content on their personal channels. Particularly if they are enthusiastic about their work or about showcasing their industry expertise.

An employee advocacy program gives guidelines, resources, and rewards. It standardizes how employees share brand content and make it simpler for them to do so.

It isn’t just the company that advantages. Employees get something out of advocacy too. They could improve their credibility and position themselves as industry experts. For salespeople, an employee advocacy program could provide a good basis for social selling techniques.

Employee advocacy stats

It’s simple to imagine how employee advocacy can help your brand spread your message. However, you do not actually need to use your imagination. Those employee advocacy statistics spell out exactly how much your brand can benefit from an employee advocacy program.

  • More people trust a regular employee (53%) than a CEO (47%). Even more people (65%) trust a company technical expert.
  • Almost 86% of employees involved in a formal advocacy program say it had a positive impact on their careers.
  • LinkedIn found the employees of a company tend to have 10 times more followers than the company itself.
  • LinkedIn also found that while only about 2% of employees reshare their firm’s social posts, they’re responsible for 20% of overall engagement.
  • Job seekers (i.e., potential recruits) say current employees are the most trusted source of details about a firm. They also rank social and professional networks as very powerful resources in their job search.

Employee advocacy best practices and examples

Make workplace culture a priority

For employees to become brand ambassadors, they should love more about their jobs than just their paychecks.

The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer discovered that 67% of employees expect their employer to have “a better goal” and their jobs to have a “meaningful societal impact.” Almost three-quarters expect the corporate tradition to be “values-driven and inclusive.” And 80% say they expect their employer to offer “fascinating and fulfilling” work.

Linking employees’ work to a broader goal and meeting their expectations helps create trust. And it’s critically essential to growing a high-trust culture. Employees who trust their employer are twice as likely to engage in employee advocacy.

Of course, not all companies have a higher social goal—or at least, not an obvious one. To help meet employee expectations for trust and social effect, you can:

  • Identify your company as an industry disruptor that inspires innovation
  • Concentrate on service
  • Show support for employees in times of need
  • Emphasize your company’s reputation as an industry leader
  • Give back (e.g., through environmental responsibility programs or charity work)

Target employees share the volunteer work they do with the social hashtag #TargetVolunteers. It’s a good way for employees to showcase the firm culture and Target’s corporate social responsibility efforts at the same time.

Get employees on-side

Making a fulfilling work environment is the foundation of any great employee advocacy program. Next comes creating trust.

When you have got these components in place, you should reach out to employees. Let them know about your advocacy program and tools.

Here are some ways to extend advocacy in your workforce.

Start small

Identify potential influencers within your workforce. Reach out to them as beta testers of your employee advocacy program. They could help guide your strategy and provide honest feedback.

Ask them to help you learn what sorts of tools and resources employees are most likely to use and share.

Make the benefits clear

Employees will not promote your brand out of the goodness of their hearts. There has to be something in it for them. Be sure they know the industry advantages.

These may include growing their visibility and credibility as a subject matter expert. However, you might also want to offer some internal incentives for sharing brand content.

Ask employees what types of incentives they want. The more engaged employees are in the process, the more they’ll feel like they have a stake in the program.

Ask, don’t mandate

You need to never force employees to share brand content on their personal channels. For one thing, this isn’t a good way to foster trust. (And keep in mind that trust is a vital component of organic employee advocacy.) For another, forced social shares will lack the enthusiasm and excitement essential to connect with your employees’ social connections.

Recognize employees’ work

And not just their advocacy work.

An “employee of the month” program or notice in a monthly newsletter might sound old-fashioned, however, it could still be effective. So could set aside time in team meetings to recognize certain employees. And, of course, everybody appreciates concrete rewards like gift cards, bonuses, and even firm swag.

Recognition or a re-share on the main firm social accounts may also be a good motivator.

Make advocacy a game

Create a hashtag to promote a particular employee advocacy campaign. Then make a leaderboard to show who’s getting the most impressions or engagement for the hashtag. Organize a prize for the leader, or hold a draw for all group members who make hashtagged posts.

Cisco held a contest for its 2019 summer interns, encouraging them to share with the #WeAreCisco hashtag. The prize? An Apple Watch.

Make advocacy simple

Give employees something fascinating or fun to share. This might be a new product announcement (one that they are genuinely interested in) or a good new video. However, do not stifle their creativity either. Encourage them to share what excites them personally about your brand.

Lush employees are major brand advocates on social media. Their posts make a sense of community among themselves and their customers alike.

Colorado Lush employee Lilly Flynn posts colorful pictures of her tub full of Lush bath products. When one bath experience went amusingly awry, she posted that too.

Since everyone knows the Internet loves cat videos, it isn’t surprising that the post got more than 9,000 views. However even Lilly’s more brand-focused posts get good engagement. This post showcasing her love for the company got a 4% engagement fee.

Be a brand cheerleader

Enthusiasm is contagious, so play up your brand initiatives and objectives. When employees believe in the brand and are excited to come to work, they are extra likely to share brand content on social.

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