The Benefits Of Employee Advocacy

The main reason why an organization implements an employee advocacy program is to boost its reach on social media, increase engagement and deliver messaging in a more influential way.

When employees share company messages, they have a 561% further reach than the same messages shared by brand accounts, according to the Marketing Advisory Network. The reason for this is that your employees' followers don’t typically follow your brand’s accounts, so your employees reach people that your brand doesn’t.

Additionally, brand messages are shared 24-times more frequently when employees post content. This is because people who follow your employees’ accounts have a level of trust in them already, and because they don’t view it with the level of skepticism people view an advertisement or a post from a brand.

No Need To Advertise 

Having your employees post and promote company messaging is more effective than social advertising, and it’s far less expensive, so of course businesses would much rather have a strong employee advocacy program than pay for ads.

Employee advocacy benefits human resources departments as well because it leads to people feeling more connected to their company’s mission and with their jobs, which helps with retention. Employee advocacy also helps HR with hiring because followers of employees trust when they say they enjoy working for their company.

This is why 44.5% of people say they are more likely to apply for a job they saw their friend post on social media than they would if they saw the same position on a job board, according to the Marketing Advisory Network.

Your Employees Want To Help

A big misnomer about employee advocacy is that none of your employees want to promote company messaging. 

You may be surprised to hear that a majority of your employees would be happy to help, but need your guidance. They might not know what content to share, what posts to promote or what captions to write in a post, but they want to take part in your program. All you need to do is steer them in the right direction through a little training. 

This is the segment of your employees you need to focus on.

Take a Segmented Approach  

A segment of your employees already share promotional content and brand messaging on social media.

Of course, there are employees in every office that aren’t comfortable with social media, and others who are comfortable, but have concerns about their accounts turning into company bots. You can address these concerns through training, and teaching employees about the personal benefits of building a personal brand through employee advocacy.

Additionally, many organizations implement gamification to keep employees motivated, and draw in employees who were initially on the fence about joining. By implementing a points system for when employees perform activities, and giving out prizes for those who reach certain milestones, you can give employees more of an incentive to join. 

Where To Focus

Don’t spend time trying to convince employees to help you who don't want to. Focus on the employees who want to help you but don’t know how. Through training, they can go a long way. 

If employees are already social media savvy and have personal accounts set up, you can show them what content to share, what kinds of captions to write, what messaging to promote, what people to follow and engage with, and more.

You may be surprised how many of your employees will be happy to help off the bat, and how many more will volunteer to be part of the program once you show them personal benefits and gamification in place.

Once they see colleagues who are taking part in the employee advocacy program winning prizes, whether they're monetary prizes or company branded gear, more employees will consider taking part. 

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Gamification

In order for employee advocacy to work, it needs to be completely voluntary.

Your company can’t make its employees share or promote posts on their personal social media accounts – they have to do it on their own. You should suggest what to promote, but they have to voluntarily promote posts and share content.

Many employees at your company are willing to do this, and many already are, but some might need a little incentive to enroll in an employee advocacy program, while others might need a little push to stay active over a long period of time.

That is where gamification comes in.

Gamification with employee advocacy is really simple. For every action an employee performs, they earn a certain amount of points. You can customize what exactly the points mean. If an employee earns the most points after an allotted time - let’s say a month or a quarter - you can give them an award. For example, you could give out company branded gear, such as backpacks, coffee mugs, shirts, and more. We’ve seen some companies offer a free lunch with the CEO, more paid time off, gift cards, or financial bonuses.

It’s up to you how you want to set up your points system and what exactly you’ll award your employees, but the purpose is to keep employees motivated. You can share a scoreboard so employees know where they rank, how they’re doing, and how many points they need to reach a goal. This is a great way to acknowledge them for contributing.

Gamification works, and many companies have seen great results because of it.

Employee Advocacy by Department

Marketing

Increase Your Social Reach 

The biggest area your employee advocacy program will have a place in is your marketing department.

Your marketing department will run your employee advocacy program, but the program will also involve the whole company in your marketing initiatives. Digital marketers are tasked with extending brand awareness and reaching new target audiences. Activating your employees to amplify your marketing campaigns is a no-brainer. Tapping into your workforce’s network of connections opens up your brand to an entirely new audience that your corporate social accounts often miss.

Pay-to-play has taken over on social media through advertisements, and many brands are spending more than ever on paid promotion to achieve the same reach they had in years past. Advertising budgets are ballooning with no end in sight. Leveraging your employee networks essentially amounts to native advertising. Employee advocacy programs drive higher reach, click-through, and share rates than official brand pages or social ads.

Take a Personal Approach 

For far too long there has been a top-down approach to digital marketing.

When a new marketing campaign launches, content is published on the company website, ads are placed, posts go out on the official corporate channels and maybe a press release is distributed. Where’s the humanity in that? People don’t connect with brands, they connect with the people that make up the brand. When you receive great customer service, are you connecting with a logo or a person? Your digital marketing should be thought of in the same way. It needs to have a more authentic approach

People prefer a personal connection and even more so people want to connect with someone like them, not the CEO or a corporate spokesperson. Make it easy for them to connect with real people within your company.

Native Influencer Marketing

Many organizations spend vast amounts of resources seeking out influencers in their industry to work with them and incorporate them into their marketing plans.

What if, instead of going and getting outside influencers, you nurtured and leveraged the influencers within your company? There is no doubt you have experts and leaders in their field right inside your own company. These are the people your audience is looking to engage with. Let them!

Sales

Meet Prospects Where They Live...Online

The costs of traditional cold calling and emailing continue to rise while their effectiveness falls.

In 2015, Millennials overtook the majority representation of the workforce, and by 2030 this hyper-connected, tech-savvy generation will make up 75% of the workforce. The ability to connect with and meet prospects online has never been easier. Where many go wrong is treating social networks like another sales channel. Today’s buyers don’t respond well to direct outreach from a salesperson. 77% of B2B buyers said they did not talk with a salesperson until after they performed their own independent research. This statistic can seem a little discouraging. However, there’s an opportunity if done right.

"77% of B2B buyers said they did not talk with a salesperson until after they performed their own independent research."

By changing the objective from selling to providing value, sales becomes less about sales and more about education. When a salesperson shows dedication to providing useful information with no agenda, that can be turned into real value when leads become interested and want to know more about your company.

Relationship Building

Your prospects are in a new generation that focuses on more than just a user experience.

They’re looking to build a relationship with a company they choose to partner with. Old sales tactics such as cold calling and bulk emailing come off as impersonal. Users want to feel unique, and your advocates are able to develop those relationships more effectively, tending to each customer as needed.

Human Resources

Employee Engagement & Culture

Company loyalty can be somewhat of a touchy subject. The days of getting a job and staying at one company for 20+ years seem to be long gone. Switching jobs every few years is the new norm, and if you’ve spoken with any HR professional, hiring and onboarding new employees is a huge drain on resources.

A well managed successful employee advocacy program benefits HR in a multitude of ways including helping curb this issue. Involving employees in the bigger picture provides them with a greater sense of ownership and belonging. A significant driver of employee satisfaction is how well employees understand the way their job connects to the organization’s success. Knowing that they can have a real impact on business success through their online sharing and activities fosters higher internal engagement.

Informed Employees

Many organizations use some combination of newsletters and intranets to distribute company news. It is very important to many companies that their employees are up to date on what the company is up to. Unfortunately, employees face a barrage of communications these days and an organization’s efforts often get tossed in the pile with the rest of them. There’s an easy way to overcome this through employee advocacy.

A funny thing happens when employees are more involved in your marketing activities. Not only do they start promoting content, but they start consuming it as well. They read the news and articles they are sharing. They know about the latest products and what’s happening in your industry. They’re doing more than just coming in, getting their work done and leaving. Employees begin to truly become engaged with the work that not just they are doing but the work their company is doing as a whole.

Recruiting & Hiring

Recruiting new employees is a time-consuming and often frustrating venture.There are many different avenues to pursue but most of them come with high costs and variable results when it comes to successful placement of long-term employees. The advent of social media opened the floodgates to a massive pool of candidates. However, the scope was also magnified hundreds of times due to the sheer volume of users on social media. So, how do you filter through this vast ocean to find the right candidates? This is where your employees can step in and assist.

According to studies, employee referrals have the highest applicant-to-hire conversion rate. Even more interesting is that only 7% of applicants are referred via employees, but this accounts for 40% of all new hires. By enlisting employees to post your open positions on social media, you narrow the field and the best candidates are attracted by people they already know. As an added bonus, your employees will feel valued knowing they are helping build great teams within your organization.

Employees In General

Career Enhancement

By providing employees with content to share and guiding them on activities to perform, you’re investing in their professional development and helping them build new skills. The more they interact digitally, the more their personal brands grow.

As employees start to take a more active role in their digital presence, people start viewing them as an expert in your industry and they build thought leadership. When people interact with your employees, they get a better idea of who they are, what they do, and what their interests are both personally and professionally. As a result, their network begins to grow as they develop relationships they can leverage throughout their career.

By investing in an employee advocacy program you are investing in your employees’ growth.

Internal Recognition

Who doesn’t like a little public appreciation?

As part of the gamification aspect of your employee advocacy program, you'll acknowledge employees who contribute the most. Each activity you suggest to employees is worth a certain amount of points, and whoever scores the most points will be at the top of the scoreboard that you can share to all your colleagues in the employee advocacy program or in the company. You can reward employee advocates who reach certain milestones with different prizes.

You'll appreciate them for promoting your brand, and they'll appreciate you for broadening their reach on social media, adding more value to their positions, making them more influential in your industry, and of course, the prizes. 

 

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Use Your Employees' Insights

Your organization is filled with people who are experts in their respective fields, and you can use their knowledge as part of your employee advocacy program.

For example, your developers are knowledgeable in coding, and know other developers who respect them and follow them on social media. If your company wants to promote an initiative specific to developers, your own developers are the best people to share that messaging. They’d also be able to help you develop content ideas around these specific initiatives because they’ll have insights you do not.

Your customer support and sales representatives are also a great source of information to help you develop ideas. They have insights into specific problems and needs your customers have that you might not have thought of.

There’s an endless list of examples, so keep that in mind when coming up with content ideas and trying to communicate with a specific target market.

SMB

SMBs want to boost brand awareness, but it can be challenging to stand out in a crowd of competitors, especially when many of them are large enterprises.

These larger companies often have much larger marketing teams and marketing budgets, but in today’s world of digital marketing, a bigger budget doesn’t always lead to success. When competing with those who have more money for advertising and marketing campaigns, it’s important to make every dollar count. Employee advocacy costs far less money to get the same results through advertisements.

Employee amplification opens the door to a much larger audience at a much lower cost, and that’s a huge benefit and advantage for SMBs to maximize their marketing potential.

Enterprise

A large enterprise isn’t as focused on spreading brand awareness as much as an SMB is. Instead, they prioritize promoting specific initiatives such as events, products, campaigns and more.

The problem when a company promotes their own initiative is it doesn’t always go over as well as it would if someone else promoted it for them. For example, if a large company posts, “we love our employees and we’re known for being a great place to work,” it might come off as self-serving and not as convincing. But if an employee of that same company posts, “I love my job, and my company is a great place to work,” it’s more authentic and doesn’t seem like there is an agenda attached.

With employee advocacy, the source of promotions like this are the employees rather than the company itself. Studies show that people trust posts from employee handles over the same posts from the company handles. People follow these employees because they respect, trust and listen to what they have to say. Employee advocacy allows large enterprises to promote content in a way that’s far more influential.

See how GaggleAMP works!

Empower your employees to support your business goals by sharing content and creating authentic engagement with prospects, customers and more. See how GaggleAMP works today by watching the video to the left or explore more features by requesting a live demo. 

 

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