You probably have noticed more publications, companies, and even experts in marketing or sales talking more about the power of employee advocacy.
It is especially important these days as social networks have become massive centers for connecting with prospects and customers.
On top of that, 76% of individuals surveyed say that they’re more likely to trust content shared by “normal” people than content shared by brands (Adweek).
Unlocking the Power of Employee Advocacy: What is An Employee Advocacy Program?
An employee advocacy program enables employees to access and share approved company content with their networks.
Now, organizations can build content libraries for their employees to easily access to share via mobile, email, or social media. Tools include many features and reporting capabilities, so it can easily fit into your existing tech stack and integrations.
The power of employee advocacy programs can be used for a lot of different areas of your company, like for sales, recruiting, communications, employer brand, marketing, etc.
Yet, the most immediate impact employee advocacy programs will have is on your company’s marketing and social media results. Many well-known brands utilize an employee advocacy program for:
- Boosting brand visibility
- Driving more quality leads
- Increasing social engagement
- Saving huge costs on paid advertising
- Increasing lead pipeline
- Organically expanding reach
Below is an infographic of some surprising – and interesting – employee advocacy statistics as it relates to marketing.
Here are the employee advocacy stats listed in the infographic along with the sources.
- Brand messages reached 561% further when shared by employees vs the same messages shared via official brand social channels (MSLGroup)
- 79% of firms surveyed reported more online visibility after the implementation of a formal employee advocacy program. 65% reported increased brand recognition. (Hinge Marketing)
- Content shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than content shared by brand channels. (Social Media Today)
- Leads developed through employee social marketing convert 7x more frequently than other leads. (Marketing Advisory Network)
- Earned media (press, word-of-mouth, peer-to-peer referrals) drives 4x the brand lift as paid media. (Bazaar Voice)
- Peer-to-peer marketing is the leading driver behind 20-50% of all purchasing decisions. (McKinsey)
- An employee advocacy program costs 1/10 of paid advertising, showing the power of employee advocacy. (EveryoneSocial)
- According to Kredible, on average, an employee advocacy program involving 1,000 active participants can generate $1,900,000 in advertising value. Learn how to build a successful employee advocacy program with this guide.
Content originally published and image created by EveryoneSocial.
Why is Employee Advocacy Important?
Employee advocacy is important for several reasons:
- Brand Amplification: Employees can significantly amplify a company’s message. When they share content about their company on social media, it reaches a broader audience. This organic reach often surpasses what the company could achieve alone.
- Trust and Credibility: People tend to trust messages from individuals more than from corporations. When employees share positive aspects of their work or company, it comes across as more genuine and credible.
- Employee Engagement: Engaging in advocacy programs can boost employee morale and engagement. When employees are proud to share their company’s values and achievements, it reinforces their commitment and satisfaction with their workplace.
- Recruitment and Retention: A strong employee advocacy program can aid in attracting and retaining talent. Prospective employees are often influenced by the positive experiences and testimonials of current employees.
- Market Insight: Employees can provide valuable insights into market trends and customer feedback through their networks. This information can be crucial for a company’s strategy and product development.
- Cost-Effective Marketing: Compared to traditional advertising, employee advocacy is a cost-effective way to market. It leverages the existing social networks of employees, reducing the need for large marketing budgets.
- Increased Sales: Studies have shown that leads generated through employee advocacy are more likely to convert than those generated through other forms of marketing. Employees’ networks often include potential customers who trust their recommendations.
- Enhanced Company Culture: A culture that encourages and values employee advocacy is often seen as more open and transparent. This can enhance the overall company culture, making it more attractive to both current and potential employees. When employees feel their voices are heard and valued, it fosters a sense of belonging and community within the organization.
10 Types of Employee Advocacy
Employee advocacy can take various forms, depending on the goals of the organization and the interests of the employees. Here are some common types of employee advocacy:
- Social Media Advocacy: This is the most common form. Employees share company news, achievements, and other content on their personal social media accounts. This can include LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms.
- Content Creation: Employees contribute to the company’s content marketing efforts by writing blog posts, creating videos, or participating in podcasts. This not only helps in content diversification but also showcases the employees’ expertise.
- Brand Ambassador Programs: In this type, selected employees act as official ambassadors for the company. They represent the company at events, conferences, and in various public forums, sharing their positive experiences and promoting the company’s products or services.
- Employee Referral Programs: Employees advocate for the company by referring potential candidates for job openings. This is based on the idea that current employees understand the company culture and can help find the right fit.
- Internal Advocacy: Employees engage in advocacy within the organization, sharing knowledge, participating in internal networks, and contributing to a positive work culture. This can include mentoring, leading training sessions, or participating in internal committees.
- Community Engagement and CSR: Employees participate in community service and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, representing the company in a positive light in the broader community.
- Product or Service Reviews: Employees provide testimonials or reviews for the company’s products or services, which can be used in marketing materials or shared online.
- Thought Leadership: Employees establish themselves as experts in their field, sharing insights and opinions that reflect well on the company. This can be through speaking engagements, writing industry articles, or participating in panel discussions.
- Crisis Advocacy: In times of crisis, employees can play a key role in defending and upholding the company’s reputation, either by sharing official communications or by offering personal insights to counteract negative publicity.
- Feedback and Innovation: Employees contribute ideas and feedback that can help in improving products, services, or internal processes. This type of advocacy emphasizes the employees’ role in innovation and continuous improvement.
Each type of advocacy serves different purposes and can be more or less suitable depending on the company’s industry, culture, and objectives. A successful employee advocacy program often combines several of these types to create a comprehensive and engaging approach.
12 Tips for Launching Your Employee Advocacy Program
Launching an employee advocacy program can be a great way to leverage the power of your workforce to amplify your brand’s message. Here are some tips to effectively launch and maintain such a program:
- Define Clear Objectives: Before starting, define what you want to achieve with your employee advocacy program. Whether it’s increasing brand awareness, generating leads, or improving employee engagement, having clear goals will help guide your strategy.
- Get Leadership Buy-In: Support from top management is crucial. They can not only provide the necessary resources but also set an example by participating in the program themselves.
- Choose the Right Tools: Utilize software and tools that make it easy for employees to share content. These tools should integrate seamlessly with social media platforms and be user-friendly.
- Create a Content Strategy: Develop a content strategy that aligns with your brand and is interesting for your employees to share. This could include blog posts, company news, industry insights, and more.
- Educate and Train Employees: Provide training on how to use the chosen tools, what content is appropriate to share, and best practices for social media. This will help mitigate risks and ensure a consistent brand message.
- Develop Clear Guidelines: Establish clear guidelines on what can and cannot be shared. This includes respecting confidentiality and understanding the boundary between personal and professional posts.
- Encourage Participation, Don’t Mandate It: Participation in the program should be voluntary. Forced advocacy can come across as inauthentic and may have a negative impact.
- Recognize and Reward Participation: Acknowledge and reward employees who actively participate. This could be through recognition in company meetings, incentives, or awards.
- Measure and Adjust: Regularly measure the impact of your program against your objectives. Use these insights to make adjustments and improvements.
- Create a Diverse Content Pool: Ensure that the content available for sharing is diverse and appeals to different employee interests and strengths. This keeps the content fresh and engaging.
- Foster a Culture of Sharing: Cultivate an organizational culture where sharing and advocacy are valued. This can be done through internal communications, highlighting successful stories, and encouraging senior leaders to participate.
- Ensure Consistency: Regularly update the content and keep the program active. Consistency is key to keeping employees engaged and maintaining the momentum of the program.
Remember, the success of an employee advocacy program largely depends on how well it is aligned with your employees’ interests and your organizational culture. It should feel like a natural extension of their daily work life, not an added burden.
Employee advocacy is a multifaceted approach that can significantly benefit an organization by amplifying its brand, enhancing credibility, and fostering a positive work culture.
Whether through social media sharing, content creation, acting as brand ambassadors, or participating in community engagement, employees can be powerful assets in promoting and representing their company.
Tailoring the type of advocacy to align with both the company’s goals and employees’ interests is key to creating an effective and sustainable advocacy program