Table of Contents Hide
- What Forms of Employee Advocacy Do We Have?
- Benefits of Employee Advocacy
- How To Launch an Employee Advocacy Program
- Starting an Employee Advocacy Programme: Tips and Tricks
- How to Assess the Performance of Your Employee Advocacy Programme
Employee advocacy is one of the most effective strategies to improve your public image and boost employee engagement.
Why? Because your staff is already talking about you on social media. Half of all employees share content from or about their workplace on social media, with 33% doing so unprompted.
That’s fantastic. You have no idea what they’re posting or the ROI of those efforts if they don’t have a content strategy to lead them. A formal employee advocacy program can boost organic reach by 200% and profitability by 23%, among other benefits.
Continue reading to learn how to create an employee advocacy program that your team will enjoy and that will help your company’s results.
What is Employee Advocacy?
Employee advocacy is everything your employees do and say that depicts what it’s like to work for your firm, from content posted about your organization to real-life dialogues about your brand.
In other words, employee advocacy is the act of social marketing and advocating for your brand: providing friends, family, and even strangers on the internet a behind-the-scenes peek at what it’s like to work for your company.
While advocacy is defined as public support for or recommendation of a certain cause or policy, you also want to ensure that your team members are properly representing your organization and industry.
Getting employee advocacy right is critical for your organisation, brand, and bottom line.
What Forms of Employee Advocacy Do We Have?
Employee advocacy can take numerous forms because it is frequently a natural extension of an employee’s profession. Similarly, employee advocacy programs will differ depending on the industry and size of the organisation.
Employee advocacy can take the form of:
- Posting on social media about what it’s like to work with your firm
- Using one’s personal brand to boost the company’s brand (this might happen on social media, in a media interview, and so on)
- Participating in or speaking at a conference or event on behalf of the organization
- Participating as a guest on a podcast or webinar to discuss your organization
- Speaking with family and friends about the advantages of working for your firm
- Wearing company-branded clothing or swag (for example, a reusable water bottle, tote bag, t-shirt, etc.) in public
Remember, there is no one method to be an effective employee advocate. Similarly, there is no single correct method to begin developing an employee advocacy program. What matters most is determining which strategies will reach the intended audience in a way that seems genuine to your employees.
Benefits of Employee Advocacy
In the right employee advocacy scenario, both the company and the employee benefit.
The advantages of a program extend across various departments:
- Increased Marketing brand awareness.
- Increased personal sales network
- A favorable work environment for recruiting and HR
- Subject-matter expertise for thought leadership in the industry
Benefits for the Company and Brand
An employee advocacy program can be used in conjunction with an employer branding program to provide numerous benefits to the organisation.
- Increases the reach of brand awareness. According to one study, when firm-branded messages were shared by employees, they had a 561% higher reach than branded channels. Consider it another method of organically growing your brand.
- Increases employee productivity. According to the same study, organizations with high employee engagement beat those with low engagement by 202%.
- Maintain command of brand messaging. When you have a structured program in place, you can give content for your staff to disseminate. While employees are encouraged to personalize particular aspects, the crucial core elements of company messaging can be kept.
- Increases the number of eligible leads. When employees say nice things about their workplace and company culture, others receive this information passively. Recruiters will have an easier time finding more people who are already familiar with the firm and are interested in working there or doing business with them as customers.
Benefits for Employees
Because a big element of this program relies on employees’ continual performance, the benefits must be substantial. Fortunately, they are.
- Simple, ready-to-use information. When you supply social media links and copy, employees can utilize it as-is to save time or add a personal touch if they like to be more active on social with their own voice. Neither requires much time, making it simple for someone to post.
- This is beneficial for folks who are not social media power users. Some people aren’t always on social media, but they still want to be advocates. They may be afraid to publish, which is why having available content is beneficial to them. Furthermore, the more they post, the more accustomed and at ease they get with social media.
- Creates thought leadership. According to recent research of B2B decision-maker’s impressions of thought leadership, 89% believe it has improved their perceptions of an organization. Branded content is not the only type of content that can be distributed. When employees share industry articles with commentary, it helps position them as competent people in the subject.
- Opportunities for networking. Social media posting automatically generates networking opportunities. The more you interact with others, the more they feel linked to you.
How To Launch an Employee Advocacy Program
You’re undoubtedly convinced by now that establishing an employee advocacy program is one of the most cost-effective and ROI-positive things you can do for your B2B social media marketing.
It may appear difficult to begin advocacy, but it does not have to be. You will be able to begin an effective employee advocacy program in six steps if you plan ahead of time:
Step #1: Create a Content Strategy
The most critical aspect of an employee advocacy program is developing a strategy. You won’t be able to communicate the benefit to employees and executives unless you have a clear plan.
Begin by establishing the content you want your staff to share. It should be consistent with your company’s content strategy and relevant to the interests of your advocates.
The Three E’s are an effective approach to content strategy, according to Andrew Davies, Head of Global Digital Marketing at Capco. Your material must: entertain, enlighten, and educate.
And if at all feasible, all three.
Consider whether you would post this item on your personal profile. If the answer is no, there is no need for your employees to.
Strive for the 6-3-1 rule, which states that for every ten pieces of content, you send to employees, six should be curated, three should be owned, and one should be promotional.
After you’ve decided on a strategy, engagement statistics will help you gauge how well your material is performing. If employees aren’t sharing certain sorts of material, shift your focus to more interesting themes and styles.
Instead of leveraging employee advocacy as simply another channel for echoing your corporate message, consider the self-promotional tone by allowing employees to share in your joy.
Another effective practice is to divide advocacy content into topics. An HR manager and a web developer will have disparate interests and will wish to share content. By categorizing your content, you make it easier for them to find the stuff that is most relevant to them and their networks.
Step #2: Obtain Leadership and Employee Support
Your C-level executives may not be immediately sold on employee advocacy; you must demonstrate how it will affect the bottom line. Provide examples of how employee advocacy works for other B2B organizations to demonstrate how employee advocacy may have a significant impact on corporate objectives.
It is also critical to demonstrate the benefit to employees. Employee buy-in will be a key factor in the success of your program. They should understand why the organization fosters it and, most importantly, what it means to them.
Advocacy has the ability to transform employees into thought leaders by broadening their professional networks and assisting in the development of their personal brand. Finally, the cumulative effect of advocacy is major job advancement.
Step #3: Select Initial Advocates
When businesses rush to put in place an employee advocacy program, the initial goal is frequently to onboard the entire organization. After all, it’s in their best interests for as many team members to share material as possible in order to maximize reach and engagement.
While being ambitious is admirable, taking a “100% engaged or nothing” approach creates excessive expectations. It is critical to carefully select team members who will spearhead the advocacy program and ultimately determine its effectiveness.
Start with a pilot focused on your social enthusiasts, or employees who have an active presence on social media.
Social enthusiasts are typically personnel in customer-facing professions such as marketing, sales, and customer success. They will not only be easy to integrate, but they will also be your greatest hope for displaying success from the start.
C-level executives are also an important group to onboard for advocacy. You wish to tap into the principle of leading by example by including your senior management. Other employees will follow them once they begin sharing stuff on social media.
The bulk of your employees are definitely enthusiastic about content sharing, but they will not go out of their way to be creative or innovative in their contributions. Then there are the social skeptics, who show the least degree of enthusiasm for involvement.
Once your pilot is up and running, you’ll be able to gain support from the social majority, who will ultimately set a good example for less socially conscious employees.
Step #4: Provide Social Media Training
Some of your staff will be new to social media or, at the very least, will not be following best practices. These team members will need additional direction to boost their confidence.
From beginners to experts, you’ll want to make sure everyone’s skills are on the same page.
Investing in appropriate training will result in increased employee retention and engagement. It will also allow you to develop a fruitful advocacy program with a positive ROI.
Your social media training should include the following topics:
- A look at the company’s social media platforms: Provide a summary of your social media objectives, target audience, competition, content strategies, custom hashtags, and so on.
- Examine the company’s social media policy: A social media policy is a collection of instructions outlining how employees should and should not use social media.
- Tips for Creating an Outstanding Profile: Uploading professional profile photographs and covers, creating a compelling ‘about me’ section, connecting with users, engaging with the professional community, and other activities.
- Training and onboarding: Introduce your employee advocacy platform to the team and walk them through the technical parts of the program.
The more familiar employees are with social media and posting advocacy information, the more likely they are to post. On the other hand, this knowledge will benefit the company and help defend the brand’s reputation.
Step #5: Launch a Pilot
An employee advocacy pilot is a great approach to put your team’s social media skills to the test and determine what resonates with your audience and what doesn’t. It will also assist in demonstrating quantifiable effects of employee advocacy and, ultimately, gaining support for your program’s budget and resources.
Here are some pointers for running a successful employee advocacy pilot programme:
- Define the KPIs you wish to track, such as sharing, engagement, participation rate, ROI, and so on.
- Allow the pilot to run for at least a month before evaluating the outcomes. Hold weekly feedback sessions to uncover opportunities and promote excellent sharing.
- Encourage employees to provide feedback: gathering and acting on comments helps strengthen employee support for advocacy.
- Demonstrate positive results: Excellent results from your pilot will set the standard for company-wide employee advocacy implementation.
- Adjust as you go: The purpose of the pilot is to work out the kinks in your employee advocacy program.
When your pilot proves successful, you’ll be able to begin a full-fledged employee advocacy program and gradually welcome more advocates.
Step 6: Establish Employee Advocacy Objectives and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Defining your goals for advocacy will allow you to establish your techniques and track your progress. The good news is that if you already have a great social media strategy in place, you only need to match your employee advocacy program with it.
Once you’ve determined your SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound) advocacy goals, you’ll need to identify the appropriate KPIs to track their progress.
Typically, B2B marketers choose to focus on the following objectives and metrics:
- Reach for Brand Awareness: If this is one of your objectives, the first statistic you should consider is reach—how many people saw your material. The more views your material receives, the more recognisable your organisation gets.
- Likes, shares, clicks, and comments on content: Try segmenting engagement by network to discover which one is most effective in terms of employee advocacy. You can also focus on certain posts that are receiving the most attention.
- Lead Generation Leads: In the end, B2B marketers must produce leads. You should keep track of the number of conversions generated by employee-shared posts. Measuring the true ROI of the programme can help you understand how advocates influence revenue KPIs like leads and finalised deals.
- Platform sessions, sharing rates, and content shares by employees: Metrics such as platform sessions, sharing rates, and content shares can be used to gain insight into internal employee engagement. If you want to build a long-lasting advocacy program based on trust and motivation, be open about your successes.
Starting an Employee Advocacy Programme: Tips and Tricks
Setting up your own employee advocacy programme may appear daunting if you are starting from scratch. That is why we designed a checklist to guide you through the process of establishing an employee advocacy programme step by step.
#1. Encourage involvement
While employee advantages such as networking opportunities and thought leadership are desirable, they are not necessarily immediately lucrative. Offer bonuses and incentives to boost programme participation.
According to a Social Media Today survey on recognition strategies, the top two most effective were company recognition (39%) and monetary incentives (19%).
These forms of incentives could be part of a programme, such as being named employee of the month. Employee referral bonuses are typical for recruiting. You can utilise employee recognition software tools to encourage team members to recognise the efforts of their colleagues, such as by promoting shoutouts across the entire company or establishing awards and incentives.
#2. Encourage genuineness
According to an employee advocacy benchmark assessment, personalised social media posts from employees produced 64% higher interaction than those that were not. Encourage staff to change the copy and add their own spin to the post once they are comfortable sharing sponsored information.
Your personal voice is just as important as the company’s brand voice. Adding a sentence or two to a post promotes authenticity and helps to develop your personal brand.
Provide instruction If someone isn’t very online, they won’t feel as at ease posting on social media. Giving them social media training helps them gain confidence in their abilities.
Whatever form of programme you choose, you’ll need to train personnel on how to use it.
Training does not end there. You should regularly assess how the programme is doing, ensure that you’re communicating effectively internally, and provide further training as needed, especially when platform features expand and alter.
#3. Establish goals and KPIs
As with any plan, you must determine the “why” and “how” of your program. We previously addressed the advantages of having an employee advocacy program and gave resources for developing one.
It is now time to decide how you will measure its success. According to benchmark research, the average adoption rate across all industries was 53%. Keep in mind, however, that this average varies across businesses and that you should not expect it when you initially start out.
Other factors such as company size and use case influenced the adoption rate. Let’s look at some more measures that can help you track the effectiveness of employee advocacy.
How to Assess the Performance of Your Employee Advocacy Programme
When you use employee advocacy solutions like Employee Advocacy, your entire program is housed there. This implies that as a brand, you may curate content, distribute branded content, and monitor analytics. On the employee side, you’ll get on-brand copy recommendations, subjects to follow, and ready-to-post social media content.
As the manager of the employee advocacy program, you will also have insight into critical metrics that will aid in demonstrating the success of your efforts.
Here are some of the most important key performance indicators for employee advocacy:
#1. Rate of adoption
As previously indicated, the adoption rate is critical for determining the success of your programme. This can be determined by the number of invites sent out, accounts created, and active accounts.
#2. Active Participation
As social media marketers, we understand that simply being a member of a network does not imply that you are active on it. Is the account just sitting there, or is the user doing something?
#3. Leading contributors
Are specific teams or individuals producing intriguing content and garnering a lot of attention for it? Recognise and reward your high-performing employees.
#4. Natural reach
According to the employee advocacy benchmark study, the average reach for employees is 459 LinkedIn connections, 433 Facebook friends, and 772 Twitter followers.
Organic reach is already difficult to accomplish, so examining how employee advocacy boosts that measure should be part of your KPIs.
Employee Advocacy systems generate these metrics automatically, allowing you to spend more time making significant improvements to your program.
#5. Organic participation
What kinds of debates are sparked by employee postings? Is their audience engaging with their content? People want to communicate with humans rather than faceless brands online. Monitor the level of organic engagement with content published by employees.
This can refer to a variety of activities. Your sales approach most likely already contains information about where your leads are originating from. Include a referral source that indicates it came from an employee’s social media post. When an employee refers a possible candidate, their identities are frequently logged in recruiting. Finally, see if the number of social media referrals to your website has improved since you started the program.
Employee advocacy is a new kind of B2B marketing that enables businesses to broaden their reach, humanize their voice, and deliver significant business results. It offers the ability to reach thousands of new consumers and engage them in a personalized experience using only organic content.
However, creating, launching, and optimizing an employee advocacy program will take time. There is some labor required, and you must be willing to play the long game here. Employee advocacy is founded on honesty and trust, both of which take time to build.
Your organization will be on the cutting edge of establishing social proof through employee advocates if you have the correct people, policies, and technology in place.
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