Your employees rock.

They are the most credible voices on the plethora of topics surrounding your brand. They’re the experts on your company’s work environment, integrity, innovation and they’re the face behind the day-to-day grind. You value the work they do, otherwise they wouldn’t still be on your payroll.

Some 90 percent of brands have put an internal communication plan in place to pursue employee advocacy, according to the Altimeter Group. If your employees aren’t your biggest fans, you have bigger problems in your company, to paraphrase my friend Jay Baer.

Employees, he said, have an authentic perspective. They should genuinely love your brand, and love the work they do for your brand. Using them as another piece to your marketing strategy will boost morale and, ultimately business.

Your employees are a trusted source to customers, contacts and prospects. So create a desire to allow them to use their social posts to push your marketing messages. Creating a brand advocate in your employee can increase your marketing reach by 561 percent.

But how?

Humans are driven by purpose. Offering up a clear purpose and mission for your brand is the only way to get sincere emotional investment into what you do. And while everyone loves a little extra cash in their pocket, studies have shown financial incentives don’t work long term. People need to feel relevant and important. They need to feel needed.

But employee advocacy isn’t just sending out an email asking staffers to share your latest company news through their social profiles. We’ve all seen it – a single employee retweeting a company update verbatim, or sending out a clearly pre-drafted message is not an advocacy program.

What you need is your staff sharing information because they actually want to.

Starting your advocacy program at the point of distribution is like starting a political campaign on election day. It’s unprepared, unengaging and, likely, not going to win many fans. An advocacy program should start way before your content plan. To really succeed, you need to build an internal communication plan that provides your employees a culture of passion.

It sounds both idealistic and unrealistic at the same time. But the idea behind an employee advocacy strategy is to enable your staff to get involved. And, show off their professional expertise. Everyone likes to brag on themselves at least a little, right? Give your staff a reason to get involved. Make them want to share the message about their awesome company.

Daily engagement boosts advocacy 87 percent more than no engagement, while weekly engagement builds it 64 percent more and monthly engagement builds in by 49 percent, according to Strativity, a research and consulting firm. And you’re already emailing your staff every day, right, so try injecting empowering content into your internal communication plan.

Here are a few ways to empower your employees through your internal email signature:

  1. Benefits or enrollment

Give your employees the heads up on the open enrollment period and keep the dates top-of-mind with every email exchange. When employees are more informed, they’re more likely to take action.

2. Community involvement

Does your company participate in volunteer hours or corporate challenges? Give your employees an easy way to get involved! Employees who feel like they belong and are making a difference will be more motivated in and outside the office.

3. Content education

New material is published, but no one is checking it out. Try injecting it into your internal email signatures and give employees a quick and easy way to dig deeper. An employee who is in the know with company news or updates becomes a better advocate for the organization as a whole.

4. Employee recognition

Create employee advocates through recognition programs. Get employees involved in the voting and give a shout-out to standout performers each month. It’s important to recognize when team members are making progress!

5. Charity and philanthropy

Your employees are insanely generous, each working to make the world a better place. Offer up an easy resource for them to get involved through donation or charity work. Make it fun, and let them know your organization cares about helping others.

6. Internal app adoption

Get them using the apps and products you know will help them (and help you!) by putting the info straight into your email without having to resend the same message over and over (and over). More productive employees = happier employees.

7. Event or fundraiser

Have an event coming up? Want to drive registrations from your employees? Give them the details on what’s happening and make it easy to sign up. The more participation the better, both for your company and fundraising.

Happy employees are critical to a company’s success. Offer them programs, resources and events that make their life easier and more fulfilling. Use employee email signatures as a way to promote these internal initiatives.