There is nothing new about Employee Advocacy in business or marketing and thanks to the practicality and popularity of Social Media it’s now easier than ever. Yet, it’s still not as commonly utilised as you’d expect – most likely due to the speed Social Media grew.
Some industries and businesses are known for being ‘stuck in their ways’ or behind the times and if you’re not utilising Employee Advocacy on Social Media then you might just be one of them.
What Is Employee Advocacy?
In short, Employee Advocacy is the promotion of a business by its employees.
Of course, this isn’t relevant or practical for all brands – especially bringing Social Media into the mix – but the majority of businesses could benefit from encouraging their employees to promote their products or services via their own digital platforms.
Encouraging Employee Advocacy
It’s important not to make Employee Advocacy a mandatory role requirement as the best promotion will come from those who truly believe what they’re saying. Happy employees will be more than willing to market the business if they feel their friends and family will also benefit from it.
This level of authenticity will be clear to those closest to them and what better place to do so than where they are already connected – Social Media. Who better to spread the good world than those who know the business best?
Utilising Social Media
Customers, and let’s face it, Employees, spend a large portion of their day on Social Media platforms. In fact, the average person spends over an hour a day on Social Media. Let’s just hope it’s not during their working hours!
By employees sharing positive insight, feedback and awareness for a brand on Social Media, they will reach a much larger audience for free. Not only will this benefit the business, but it also helps employees truly feel like a part of the team and feel a sense of ownership within the business.
Furthermore, Social Media users may pay less attention to posts online when they’re coming from a brand, especially one they haven’t heard about yet. Reading about them via a loved one, however, will have a much higher chance of attracting their attention and staying front of mind.
Employee Advocacy Incentives
As above, Employee Advocacy shouldn’t be mandatory, especially if you’re asking employees to utilise their own Social Media networks. However, there’s no harm in adding a bit of incentive into the mix.
Whether it’s part of an ‘Employee Of The Month’ scheme or simply a (preferably public) thank you and recognition to the employee, people like to be praised and it will increase the chances of them posting again and encouraging others to do so.
Benefits Of Employee Advocacy
There are some obvious benefits to employees sharing positive promotions across Social Media, the first being free advertising. Although you may wish to give employees some financial incentive, or perhaps branded merchandise (which can also be shared on Social Media) it’s still a much lower cost than other forms of marketing.
The combined organic reach of your employees will likely prove larger than your business page (at least at first) and this will open your business up to a much larger demographic. Furthermore, it’s known that Social Media algorithms favour personal accounts over brands and therefore your employees are likely to reach a higher percentage of their audience than the company page could.
Word of Mouth
Word of mouth isn’t new to marketing but the reach and speed Social Media allows for opens businesses up to almost instant engagement. If done well, an Employee Advocacy programme could increase sales and customer retention.
Finally, the insight into employees feelings and their interpretation towards a business is also a valuable tool when it comes to existing employee satisfaction and it looks great for anyone looking to join the team. Creating a good culture and positive work environment where everyone feels they have a voice is vital.
Implementing Employee Advocacy on Social Media
1. Outline Goals
As with all marketing plans, if you’re looking to introduce a new focus it’s important to outline your goals. For example, you could be looking to increase sales with new conquest customers or perhaps you’re looking to improve customer retention. Either way, it’s important to have a clear understanding of how Employee Advocacy and Social Media fit in.
2. Include Employees
If you’re planning on asking your Employees to start promoting your products or services on their personal accounts, then you must bring them into the conversations early. Ask your employees what they would be willing to share, how often and what they would (potentially) want in return.
Discuss your goals with them and how you as a business feel it would benefit both parties and, before it’s officially introduced, get an understanding of their thoughts and feelings.
3. Define Ground Rules
Not to put a downer on the pros of Employee Advocacy, but it’s essential to outline a few ground rules. Social Media can turn from positive to negative fast and many big brands have been stung by silly mistakes such as not knowing the real meaning behind a hashtag.
To protect your brand reputation, consider outlining a few simple rules to follow when it comes to language, tone of voice and suitable imagery. The business must be represented in a positive light and although ‘behind the scenes’ insight, for example, could be fun, it’s essential that anything shared complies with the rules.
4. Employee Training
If you feel like your team could do with a refresh on the requirements and rules then introduce a training programme so they can start advocating with confidence. As you grow and maintain the advocacy programme you could lean on some of your best employees to train new members.
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