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Employee advocacy: making it work

If you haven’t yet heard, employee advocacy is the next big thing. And to be honest, when you look at the successes of brands like Dell, Starbucks and GymShark, whose employees are wrapped tightly into their marketing and business success, it’s no wonder why.

If you’re serious about social media and your brand, you need to be serious about employee advocacy.

Put simply, employee advocacy is the promotion of your business by those who work in it. it can be online or offline but here I’m focusing on the power of social media.

So why are your employees so valuable to your brand?

Well, it ultimately boils down to their trustworthiness. They’re real people, which matters in a world where consumers are sick of celebrity influencers and big brand content (I certainly am, aren’t you?).

Your employees know your business and can give your brand a unique and authentic voice. The results? Increased brand exposure, more website traffic, higher quality leads, and ultimately more sales.

Happy employees are positive employees. Give your staff what they need to be happy and they’ll be natural advocates for your brand.

Algorithms now prioritise UGC over brand content, so you’ll save heaps on advertising too.

Don’t believe me? Well according to a study by Cisco, employee social media posts can generate 8x more engagement than when that same content is shared through a brand handle.

But that’s not all. Your employees get big gains as well.

From building their visibility and career with your own organisation to strengthening their personal career profiles, professional gains are immense. Plus it’s fun!

So how do you make it work?

  • Firstly, take it seriously for your brand, but keep it easy for your staff.
  • Give your advocates three simple goals:
    • to share and engage positively with company messages and promotions
    • to positively and authentically share about their own experiences with and working for your brand
    • to act as an expert on a specific subject matter, related to their role, and recommend products and services to their networks
  • Incentivise your advocates to achieve set goals. Most people love rewards. And celebrate top performers.
  • Provide SIMPLE guidelines to give them the confidence to crack on. (No, not multiple pages that WILL NOT be read; or if they are, they’ll put your advocates off before they’ve even started – yes, I’ve seen way too many of those!)
  • Embed a policy that enforces good behaviour, in every sense of the word – this will protect your employee and your brand from negative PR!
  • Provide in-person training on tools and channels so you can make it easy as possible for them to succeed.
  • Help them define their topic or topics and tone of voice. Having a focus is key, but they should be authentic too.
  • Make sure they understand the value of ENGAGEMENT. Building their network is key, which means mapping in time for posting, discovering and talking to their friends.
  • Encourage them to do ongoing research, exploring other feeds they can draw inspiration from.
  • Provide handy content ready to use, templates and assets to help them on their way.
  • Finally, give them the confidence and creative freedom to post, to get things wrong, and, hopefully, get things even more right.
  • Micro-managing every post is definitely not the answer…it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to get results.