How to Use Employee Advocacy to Broaden Your Reach in 2023
Navigating the world of employee advocacy can feel like uncharted territory, can’t it?
It’s a game-changing strategy that, when leveraged correctly, can supercharge your brand’s reach like never before.
Within these lines, we’ll delve into what employee advocacy really means, its transformative benefits, and some actionable tips for deploying it in your own business.
We’ll reveal the best-kept secrets that have helped businesses just like yours skyrocket their online presence.
Ready for a social media revolution?
Let’s dive right in.
What is Employee Advocacy?
Imagine walking into a bustling cafe. The barista, full of genuine enthusiasm, tells you about their new blend of coffee.
You’re not just sold on the product, but you’re also won over by the employee’s authentic passion.
This, in essence, is employee advocacy.
It’s when employees ardently support and promote their company’s brand, not out of obligation, but out of genuine belief in their company’s mission.
While social advocacy generally refers to advocating for a cause or social issue, and brand advocacy is a customer’s positive word-of-mouth marketing, employee advocacy is a powerhouse that merges the two.
Employees, as insiders, have an intimate understanding of the brand, making their advocacy highly credible and impactful.
Take Starbucks, for example. The coffee giant encourages its employees, or ‘partners’ as they’re called, to share their experiences and coffee knowledge on social media.
This real-world personal promotion makes the Starbucks brand more relatable and trustworthy to consumers.
Why Employee Advocacy is Critical
Businesses, whether they operate in the B2B or B2C sector, thrive on connections.
And when these connections are sparked by the authentic enthusiasm of employees, they become even more powerful.
Employee advocacy can help businesses increase their reach, strengthen their brand image, and even boost sales.
Think about it.
Who better to sing the praises of your business than those who know it inside out?
Besides, employees’ social networks can reach prospective customers that traditional marketing may not touch.
In fact, employee advocacy is vital for good branding.
A brand isn’t merely a logo or a tagline; it’s an emotional and psychological relationship with your customers. And who better to foster these relationships than your employees?
Forget the cliché of employees as mere cogs in a machine. In the age of social media and personal branding, employees are the heart and soul of a company.
5 Essential Steps to Creating an Effective Employee Advocacy Program
Creating an effective employee advocacy program requires careful planning, implementation, and monitoring. Here are five steps to get you started:
1. Set Your Objectives
The first step is to identify your overarching aim.
Do you want to enhance brand visibility, drive more traffic to your website, attract top-tier talent, or perhaps boost sales?
Each of these objectives requires a different approach.
For instance, if your goal is to attract top-tier talent, you might encourage employees to share their positive experiences at the company and highlight your workplace culture.
Or suppose your aim is to increase brand visibility. In that case, you might decide to measure this through social shares, impressions, or mentions.
And it’s not just about what you want to achieve, but when you want to achieve it.
Establishing a timeline creates a sense of urgency and provides a clear endpoint for assessing your program’s success. Without a deadline, goals can often feel abstract and unattainable.
Just remember, setting your objectives is not a one-time task.
As your business evolves and grows, so should your goals. Be ready to revisit, reassess, and redefine your objectives regularly to ensure that your employee advocacy program continues to drive value.
2. Select Your Advocates
Once your objectives are set, it’s time to find the employees who will carry your brand’s message far and wide. But how do you choose them?
First, look for passion: An ideal advocate is someone who is genuinely enthusiastic about your brand.
They’re the employees who live and breathe your company’s values, the ones always singing your praises to anyone who’ll listen.
Next consideration: Advocates should also be able to communicate effectively. After all, they will be sharing your brand message with their networks.
So look for employees who have strong written and verbal communication skills. They should be able to express ideas clearly and persuasively.
And consider the reach and influence of your potential advocates. Employees with larger networks can help your content gain more visibility.
Just consider that not every passionate employee will know how to advocate effectively for your brand.
Some might need training on what to share, how to share, and when. You might also need to guide them on responding to negative comments or questions about your company.
And remember, advocacy is a two-way street.
Your advocates are doing their part to promote your brand, so make sure you’re doing your part to make it a rewarding experience for them. Show appreciation for their efforts, and they’ll likely continue to be enthusiastic participants in your program.
3. Create Advocacy Guidelines
Once you’ve got your team of passionate advocates all fired up and ready to go, there’s one crucial step left: laying down the ground rules.
First, your advocates need to understand the bigger picture. What’s the purpose behind this advocacy program? What are the goals?
Share your vision with them. This not only helps them align their efforts with your objectives but also keeps them motivated and connected to the cause.
Next, provide a clear direction on what type of content your advocates should be sharing.
Do you want them to focus on company news, product updates, customer testimonials, or industry-related content? How often should they post? And on which platforms? Clarify all these points.
Also, establish a code of conduct.
Your advocates should understand what is acceptable and what isn’t when representing your brand online.
You don’t want them sharing sensitive company information or engaging in inappropriate conversations. So a clear code of conduct will help avoid these potential pitfalls.
Provide guidelines on how to respond to negative comments or tricky questions. This is also a good place to remind your advocates to always be respectful and maintain a positive tone.
And don’t forget legalities! Make sure your advocates understand the importance of adhering to all relevant legal requirements.
4. Equip Your Advocates with Shareable Content
Make it easy for your advocates to share content.
Keep in mind, though, that your advocates aren’t necessarily professional marketers, and you shouldn’t expect them to be.
Keep the content simple, relatable, and easy to share. Remember, the goal is to make your advocates’ job easier, not harder.
But also consider encouraging your employees to generate their own content that aligns with your brand. User-generated content adds authenticity and diversity to your brand’s narrative.
All content should be not just promotional but also valuable and informative to your audience.
5. Measure and Monitor
Once you’ve set your objectives, selected your advocates, established guidelines, and equipped your team with shareable content, it’s time to track your progress and monitor the performance of your employee advocacy program.
Here’s how you can do that:
Begin by defining your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). KPIs help you measure the success of your advocacy program.
This could be an increase in social media reach, number of shares, engagement rate, traffic to your website, leads generated, or any other metric.
Choose KPIs that align with your program’s objectives. Then leverage social media tools to track your KPIs. These tools give you valuable insights into the performance of your program and help you identify what’s working and what isn’t.
Always keep a close eye on the performance of your advocacy program. Are you hitting your goals? If not, where are the gaps? Regularly review and adjust your strategy based on your findings.
And don’t forget to ask for feedback from your advocates. What’s working for them? What’s not?
Recognize and celebrate their efforts. This keeps them motivated and engaged, which is crucial for the long-term success of your advocacy program.
Remember, creating an effective employee advocacy program isn’t a one-and-done process.
It requires continuous effort, adjustment, and engagement with your advocates.
However, the benefits — increased reach, improved brand reputation, and enhanced customer trust — make all the effort worth it.
Top Innovative Tools for Employee Advocacy
Now that you’re sold on the importance of employee advocacy let’s delve into some tools that can facilitate your advocacy program.
EveryoneSocial is an all-in-one employee advocacy tool. It allows your team to curate and share content, track engagements, and even measure the direct revenue impact of their social sharing.
The cherry on top? It offers an interactive leaderboard to encourage friendly competition among your advocates.
SproutSocial is a fantastic advocacy tool. It provides a content library for easy sharing, tracks key metrics to measure performance, and integrates seamlessly with other Sprout Social products. Its clean interface makes it a hit among users.
PostBeyond focuses on ease of use. Advocates can share content with a single click. This tool is ideal for organizations looking to boost their social reach.
It also provides robust analytics to track the success of your advocacy efforts.
Haiilo is a robust employee communication, advocacy, and engagement tool. It’s perfect for businesses aiming to boost their brand’s reach, recruit new talent, and improve internal communication.
Haiilo also offers detailed analytics and leaderboards to keep your advocates engaged.
Want to gamify your advocacy program? Try GaggleAMP.
This tool provides a unique gamified approach to advocacy, with advocates earning points for completing “gaggles” or challenges. It’s a fun, interactive way to get your employees on board with your advocacy program.
Ultimately, the best tool for your business will depend on your specific needs and goals.
So take advantage of free trials to test different tools and find the perfect fit for your program.
The Future of Employee Advocacy
As we look towards the future, employee advocacy is poised to play an even larger role in branding and marketing strategies.
With the rise of remote work and digital transformation, employees’ online presence and influence are set to grow.
But it’s not just about trends.
Incorporating employee advocacy into broader employee communication strategies is crucial. Employees should be kept in the loop about company news, changes, and achievements.
This not only fuels their advocacy efforts but also fosters a sense of belonging and loyalty.
As with any new initiative, challenges are part of the journey. But with clear guidelines, open communication, and a genuine commitment to fostering a culture of advocacy, these challenges can be navigated effectively.
A Final Word on Employee Advocacy
There you have it! Your all-in-one guide to understanding, building, and harnessing the power of employee advocacy. Now, it’s over to you.
The power to transform your company’s social media reach lies within your team.
And the success of your employee advocacy program depends on you taking the leap.
So, what are you waiting for? Isn’t it time you let your team be your brand’s most powerful ambassadors?