The advent of social media has undoubtedly opened up a world of opportunities for businesses across industries. Today, there are hundreds of brands that leverage social media as a key channel for product sales, brand awareness, customer engagement, and so much more.
However, this also means that there are a lot of businesses that closely compete with each other on social media and it has become quite challenging for brands to cut through all the noise by themselves.
This is where there is one key strategy that winning brands are using to stand out on social media and that is employee advocacy.
In this blog we elaborate on everything you need to know about employee advocacy on social media and why it’s important.
What is employee advocacy on social media?
Employee advocacy on social media is nothing but a strategy where individuals who work at a company promote it on social channels such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and others. This is often done through an employee’s personal social handles and includes content around company culture, job openings, industry news, and other company-related news and articles.
Types of employee advocacy
There are different types of employee advocacy on social media. Let’s take a look at some of them that you can include in your marketing strategy:
1. Promoting company merch
Most companies periodically send out company swag to employees. These can include tshirts, sweatshirts, stickers, mugs, notebooks, and several other useful, branded items that employees can use everyday. Not only are they a great way to promote your company but they are often a hit with employees.
Employees often put out posts about the swag and merch they receive on channels such as LinkedIn and Instagram and are a great example of employee advocacy on social media.
2. Advocating company culture
Another way to encourage employee advocacy on social media is by getting employees to post about the company’s culture. They can elaborate on initiatives taken by the company to empower employees and enable their well-being. A good example would be aspects such as mental health days, harboring a culture of innovation, transparency, inclusivity and more.
This brings attention to the organization’s values and their standards and how they are working towards creating a positive work environment for all employees.
3. Advocating internal rewards and recognitions
A happy employee is the most loyal brand advocate for a company. This is why it is essential to foster a culture of recognizing employees for their contributions and achievements. Some examples of recognition programs include celebrating work anniversaries, sending out gift cards and coupons, staff lunches, etc.
What are the benefits of employee advocacy?
Employee advocacy on social media has a positive impact on the company as well as on employees.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of employee advocacy:
1. Improved brand sentiment
Employee advocacy on social media brings about a positive impact on how people view an organization. It brings about a sense of optimism and favorability towards a brand amongst the target audience.
2. Increased brand reach
Along with a better perception of the brand, employee advocacy increases brand awareness and is a great way to promote your company organically. Better brand reach also contributes to improved sales.
3. Better recruitment and sales leads
The positive word-of-mouth and employee advocacy on social media evokes favorable perceptions in the minds of both people looking for jobs as well as customers. This increases the possibility of getting better recruits into the company and also improves the quality of sales leads that come in.
4. Better employee retention
Employee advocacy programs encourage a high level of employee engagement simply because it strikes the emotional connection employees have towards their company. Improved employee engagement means employees are likely to stick around for longer at an organization thus reducing turnover.
5. Better handle on PR crises
Employee advocacy on social media is a great tool for getting a grip on issue management whenever a PR crisis emerges. The positive brand impact from advocacy builds a sense of trust in the company. This is especially true because audiences don’t place their trust in brands but rather in people. So, when an employee acts as a brand ambassador it goes a long way in influencing your audience.
6. Increased networking opportunities
When employees post on social media they also interact with other peers. This increases networking opportunities and is a great way to build strong professional connections.
How to build an employee advocacy program on social media?
There are several ways to build a strong employee advocacy program on social media. Here’s how you can do it at your organization:
1. Foster a positive company culture
The simple fact behind employee advocacy is that your employees need to be motivated to give their honest and unfiltered opinion about their company on social media. For this, they need to love working at their company.
This is only possible by creating a warm and positive environment for your employees. They need to feel empowered and happy at their workplace.
You can enable this by ensuring that all employees, across hierarchies, have a strong and robust relationship with the organization. This creates happier employees who are not only passionate about their work but are also enthusiastic to talk about their company.
Aside from this, ensure that internal communication is always smooth, straightforward, and transparent. Your employees need to know the importance of their role and how they contribute towards the company’s larger objectives. This motivates them and keeps them engaged at the workplace, leading to more productive employees.
2. Define the goals of your employee advocacy program
When implementing an employee advocacy program on social media, it is important to define ‘why’ it is important to your employees. You need to have clear-cut goals that elaborate on what exactly you hope to achieve through an employee advocacy program.
Some goals could be to attract better talent, improve the quality of leads, increase brand awareness, etc.
You can also set specific KPIs to measure the success of your employee advocacy program. Some of them include:
- Brand reach: How many people have viewed the posts shared by your employees?
- Traffic: Has the content shared by your employees driven traffic to your website? If so, by how much?
- Engagement: Are people interacting and engaging with the posts shared by your employees on social media?
3. Identify leaders for your employee advocacy program
In order to promote your employee advocacy program on social media, you need to pick advocates who are already using the channel frequently. A good fit would be someone who uses social media for their personal branding and to share insights into the market and industry. Advocates would need to have a significant network on social media and it’s always great if they are enthusiastic about their job and the company they work for.
4. Define clear cut guidelines for employee social media
Advocating on social media can get slightly tricky when it comes to identifying what content needs to be shared and how. It is also important to understand the kind of language you need to use and how you should be responding to comments from the audience.
This is why it is important to set clear guidelines on the do’s and don’ts of employee social media.
These guidelines need to be easy to understand and follow. You can define two types of social media guidelines as follows:
- Content guidelines: These include instructions on the kind of content that can be shared, the type of messaging and language that can be used. It can also be used to define the topics employees can talk about publicly and what they need to avoid.
- Branding guidelines: These guidelines help employees to understand how they can design their social media posts, the correct usage of the company logo, the different terms they can use, and hashtags they need to include, etc.
Setting guidelines is an important step in avoiding any security risks or PR issues that can come up later.
5. Ask your employees for their inputs
When planning out your advocacy program, ensure that you ask employees for their inputs in every step. Get their opinion on what they think could constitute social media worthy content and plan your calendar accordingly.
Best practices for running employee advocacy programs on social media
While there are no rules of employee advocacy and it should be more natural, here are some best practices we recommend following:
- Share engaging content: Ensure that the content you share is worthwhile and interesting to your audience.
- Motivate your team: Try to incorporate strategies that will motivate your team to share about their experiences with the company. It can include incentives, prizes, the opportunity to build their reputation online, etc.
- Harbor a positive workplace environment: Employees should feel compelled to share about their workplace and the only way to get them to do this is to provide an engaging and positive company culture.
- Encourage employees to add their own touch: Instead of going for templatized content, encourage employees to customize the content they put out to add authenticity.
- Measure success: Define multiple goals and corresponding KPIs to measure the success of your employee advocacy program on social media. This allows you to identify what’s working and what’s not.
How to measure the success of your employee advocacy program
There are several KPIs you can use to measure the success of employee advocacy on social media:
- Adoption rate: A measure of the number of invites sent out, the number of active accounts, and the number of accounts created.
- Active participation: How many users are actively using the account?
- Top contributors: Who are the people sharing the most content and how are they engaging with the audience?
- Organic reach: Is your content increasing your connections on social media channels?
- Organic engagement: How are followers interacting with advocacy content?
- Referrals: Is your employee advocacy program driving better sales leads and prospective hires to your company?
You can easily measure the impact of your employee advocacy on social media, using a social monitoring and analytics tool like Radarr.
Your employees are your strongest voice!
Employee advocacy on social media only works when you measure proactively and improve your strategy. This is where social listening comes in handy to see what conversations are being initiated and the impact advocacy has on your brand.
Want to know how you can make employee advocacy measurable?