“You don’t really build a business, you build people and then people build the business.”
This old adage proves how important employees are to any organization. They are the most prized assets that drive the growth of the business. And so, it only makes sense to leverage employees as your own brand ambassadors.
While often employees are overlooked as simply the people who work for the company, they can also be a significant marketing asset a brand can have. They can be your authoritative brand advocates, but are often left untapped! Here’s where employee advocacy comes into play.
According to a Hinge and Social Media Today survey, 51.7 percent of employee advocacy programs were owned by the marketing department and the HR had a minimal or no role to play.
However, this should not be the case. HR has a pivotal role to play in employee advocacy. They need to shake hands with the marketing team and create a stronger employee advocacy program!
What Is Employee Advocacy?
First things first, employee advocacy refers to the promotion of a company by its own employees. In a world driven by digital and social media, employee advocacy can be as simple as a post on Facebook or LinkedIn sharing good things about the employer.
This trivial and informal sharing can go a long way to promote a brand. Employee advocacy can be viewed as a strategic, sustainable and organic marketing strategy.
Types Of Employee Advocacy
Gone are the days of general word of the mouth, today is the age of social media. When you empower your employees to share content about your company with a well-structured plan, digital reach grows exponentially.
Brand awareness is the most basic type of employee advocacy program, apart from this there are essential two types:
1. Attracting New Business:
Amplify your brand through the network of your employees. This will boost greater visibility and potentially capture the attention of prospective customers. Customers will be more swayed when they see an employee advocating for a brand.
2. Attracting New Talent:
The best hires come from your referrals from existing employees, isn’t it? This type of employee advocacy program would entail employees to share experiences and impressions from their own perspective. Employee advocacy can be a great tool for talent acquisition and recruitment.
Here Are A Few Benefits Of Employee Advocacy!
Let’s take a look at some ways in which employee advocacy can help a company…
Content shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than content shared by other brand channels. Employees collectively have social networks ten times more than corporate brand does. This means that it can drastically extend your reach.
More than a celebrity-based influencer marketing, buyers tend to trust the insider’s opinion. Employees know the ins and outs of the business, and they can be one of the biggest influence to generate leads and convert them to sales.
3. Better Employee Engagement:
Engaged and empowered employees show vested interests in your business’s growth. You can implement an employee advocacy program to encourage a culture of engagement and sharing within your company. Cultivate social professionals who are passionate about doing their work.
Here’s How The HR Can Promote Employee Advocacy!
Let’s take a look at some steps the HR can take to further employee advocacy.
Step 1: Define your Goals and Objectives:
What is it that you like to achieve with your employee advocacy program? From increasing traffic to your site, boosting social engagement and generating new leads, set out concrete targets to build a blueprint for its successful execution.
Step 2: Open up Channels for Better Communication and Transparency:
Open line of communication is essential for employee advocacy. That’s how you can win an organic participation of your employees to vouch for your brand. Unless everyone is on the same page and know what’s expected of them, you will not gain a widespread participation of your employees. Make sure that the program leaders are receptive to feedback.
Step 3: Senior Leadership Support:
Make sure to enlist support at the top levels of the organization with leadership serving as role models. It is essential to on-board company leaders visibly and
Step 4: Content Curation:
A variety of content should be available including stories about the organization’s mission, employee experience initiatives, company news, awards and recognition, customer impact, values
Step 5: Employee Advocacy Tools:
It would be great to use a tool for employee advocacy programs so that you can measure its performance with ease. It would also be a lot easier for your employees to share content. Tools like Buffer,
Step 6. Monitor and Measure:
Tracking how an employee advocacy programming is doing, is the only way you can tell whether it’s working or not. You can measure several metrics from engagement to reach, sales to ROI and beyond. You can even track employee activity and their influence to give you deeper insights. These insights can be put together to modify and improve your employee advocacy strategy.
Step 7: Paying Back:
What’s in it for the employees who advocate for your brand? Reward them with something exclusive and recognize them for their accomplishments. Small bonuses, exclusive access to events, virtual badges, internal recognition are some perks you can get started off with in accordance with the budget.
Step 8: Make Employee Advocacy Sustainable:
Once you have launched your employee advocacy program, your job does not end there. You need to make sure that you don’t lose momentum and facilitate sustainability. The longterm success of the employee advocacy program lies on your employees.
To mandate employee advocacy, ensure that participation is voluntary and out of genuine interest. Let your employees have a voice in choosing the content that they like to share and show them how their sharing is impacting the business.
When you want to boost visibility for your brand, it is wise to turn to your extended family of your own people — your employees. Reap the full benefits of the employee advocacy program by creating a happy workplace for your employees and improve your bottom line at the same time. Now that is what we call a win-win situation!