‘Employee advocacy’ is a phrase we’re starting to see a lot more of as ‘TEAM’ becomes a large part of many company’s ethos.
So, what is this fancy new term? Employee advocacy is the promotion and backing of a business by its workforce. This can take form in many different ways, from verbal recommendations to posts on Social Media. The latter, is what we like.
Want some stats?
Word-of-mouth in whatever form is a big influencer for buyers. According to Adweek, 76% of individuals surveyed say that they're more likely to trust content shared by “normal” people than content shared by brands. Here’s the kicker - employees’ social posts generate eight times more engagement than posts from their employers (Cisco)!
A post shared by your employees can offer a massive opportunity for increasing visibility, and improving brand recognition. In fact, on average, employees have 850 social media connections across various platforms (Nielsen). So, even if you only have a staff of 5, making use of those connections can give your company a huge advantage over your competitors.
If you’re still not convinced, consider this: companies with willing and engaged employees outperform those without by 202% (Nielsen). So it’s well worth improving staff morale, not only because it’s 2019 but because having enthusiastic employees that are more likely to advocate your company is worth its weight in branding gold!
So, what next? Get your Employee Advocacy (EA) ball rolling
1. IMPROVE YOUR BUSINESS CULTURE
To make brand ambassadors out of your employees, it’s important for staff morale to be high. So, confirm your investment in developing a great brand culture. Make real connections with your employees, offer learning and development opportunities, and gain the trust of your employees. Basically, this is business 101. Why would your team recommend you otherwise?
Bring your employees together first, by promoting in-house conversation. Not only will this help spread company news, it should also bring employees together. At The Social Shop, we use Google Chat to keep in touch with each other on a daily basis. We also get together in person whenever possible and make it a priority that our team contributes to our culture.
2. GET EMPLOYEES INVOLVED
When your workplace culture is on point, the time is right to ask for your employees help by advocating for your brand.
A great way to kick this off is is to recognise their work. In a recent study by Harvard Business Review, 72 percent of businesses said that recognition for high performers had a significant impact on employee engagement. So, set aside time in team meetings to recognise employees, start an ‘employee of the month’, shout out your superstars in company newsletters, or even offer gift cards, or bonuses etc.
Another way to encourage your employees to contribute to your social community is by making advocacy a game. Create a leaderboard to show metrics on who’s getting the most interactions, or create hashtags that you can reward employees for using.
If you make advocacy easy, your employees are more likely to want to promote you. Create a fun new product announcement or humorous video for your employees to share.
Stay enthusiastic about your brand initiatives and goals, and remind your team about the program and give updates on new, shareable content to make the most of employee advocacy.
3. SET GOALS
It’s likely that some of your employees are already posting about work on their social media feeds. Particularly if the brand culture is good, and they’re engaged with their job and the company as a whole. However, without a system in place to track your results, it’ll be hard to see what’s working.
In order for your employees to help you to the best of their ability, it’s a good idea to set specific EA goals. For example, if your goal is to raise awareness, ask your employees to post about the brand as a whole. If you are keen on promoting a specific product or service, create engaging shareable content about that product.
4. PRODUCE SM GUIDELINES
It’s important any messaging about your business stays on brand. Creating a social media guidelines doc which covers tone of voice, is important to ensure employees are using the right language when posting and replying to comments.
REMEMBER: The easier you make advocacy, the more likely they are to do it.
Be sure to make the guidelines easy to understand and follow. Guidelines should enable advocacy instead of restricting it. Give ideas for what, where & how to share to get your employees on the right track.
5. TEACH SM BEST PRACTICES
Some employees will be more comfortable on social media than others, so bringing everyone up to speed on SM best practices will be helpful in the long run, and creates a level playing field.
It’s also worthwhile being consistent in offering new and shareable content, to get employees into the habit of advocating. Did we already say, make it easy?
And rounding it out;
6. MEASURE SUCCESSTake a look at your marketing goals, and align them with EA goals that contribute to achieving these.
Some key metrics you might want to use are:
- Top contributors. Which individuals or teams are sharing the most?
- Organic reach. How many people are seeing the content shared through your employee advocates?
- Engagement. Are people clicking links, leaving comments and re-sharing content from your advocates?
- Traffic. How much traffic did the content drive to your website?
Now it’s your turn
Go forth and create a culture where employee advocacy can flourish. Your greatest business asset is your team so make a plan to get them involved in your marketing. You can thank us for it later!
Remember: Need help or guidance with an Employee Advocacy Program? Get in touch: we'd love to help!