What is employee advocacy and how do marketers win with it?
Updated: Feb 11, 2022
What is employee advocacy and how do marketers win with it? When employees organically amplify their company’s brand, product and promotional messages using channels such as social media, email, messaging apps or direct channels such as meetup groups, conferences, community, it’s called employee advocacy.
If you have spent any amount of time on LinkedIn lately, you have probably seen posts from individuals giving an ‘inside look’ into the company they are employed at. From onboarding experiences to hiring to sharing company news, employees share brand messages via posts that may look informal, only that they are not. Today, companies utilize their most valuable asset - their people - in creating brand awareness, positive brand reputation and driving sales.
Not only that, employee advocacy is also utilized to keep workers informed, boost team morale and improve employee engagement - something more organizations are paying attention to in light of ‘Great Resignation’ of 2021.
As a marketing leader, you want an empowered culture so you can not only lead a distributed team effectively but achieve big results : brand growth and a full sales pipeline. Employee advocacy can help.
Employee Advocacy Statistics
People value human to human connection more than they value a brand and if you are considering an employee advocacy program as a marketing strategy, you need to be first convinced yourself of it's value before securing a C-level buy in. So let’s look at some statistics -
79% of firms surveyed reported more online visibility after implementation of a formal employee advocacy program. 65% reported increased brand recognition. (Hinge Marketing)
Content shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than content shared by brand channels. (Social Media Today)
70% of adults online reported trusting recommendations from friends and family, but only 15% trusted companies’ social media activity (Influitive)
Companies with engaged employees outperform those without by 202% (Dale Carnegie Training )
Companies that transform their employee engagement experience are shown to have 4x the profit and 2x the revenue as other companies (HBR)
According to IBM, when a lead is generated through social selling or employee advocacy that lead is 7X more likely to close compared to other lead gen tactics. (Gartner)
85% of new graduates surveyed said employee treatment was more important than other factors when deciding which company to work for (Nielsen)
81% of millennials share information about their company (Vantage Circle)
Measurable benefits include increased web traffic (44.9%), better search engine ranking (32.4%), and increased content downloads (24.6%) (Influitive)
Employee Advocacy helps Marketing and Business
The overarching goal of any marketing team is to generate demand, support sales and increase revenue but marketing and selling isn’t easy in today’s competitive environment. Today B2B buyers prefer to do their own product research while considering a purchase. They only spend 5% of their time meeting with your sales team. Strategically planned and distributed content that is shared by employees can help get in front of prospects and current customers, positively impacting both acquisition and retention.
For example, you lead marketing for an e-commerce Saas tech company, think of how you can leverage your engineering, product and sales team in your advocacy efforts. Perhaps your sales can talk about how digital commerce has shifted from traditional click and browse to more immersive and personalized experiences or how you have helped brands stay ahead in IT innovation. Your product and engineering can share about technologies used such as modern JAM stack (Java, APIs and Microservices) including architecture system and system design.
Let's look at some other post ideas -
Thought leadership articles written by you and other executives showcasing your expertise
Industry research and trends showcasing your niche and how you are innovative
News about upcoming Webinars and Podcasts
Company’s Why - your mission, core beliefs and values
Sales content - checklists, product comparison, case studies, testimonials, demos, videos
News about funding and company growth
New partner tie-ups, collaboration, mergers and acquisitions
Leveraging your employees in sharing vital company/product information can help increase your brand reach, attract new business and most importantly help buyers through buyer’s journey.
Employee Advocacy helps HR and Recruiting
If the 'Great resignation' or the ‘Extraordinary exodus’ has reminded us of anything it is that - employees thrive in great company culture. They are happy and productive when engaged in meaningful work and supported by employers who prioritize their well-being. They don’t want to be overworked, feel unvalued and handled as if they were machines.
As a marketing head, you want a stellar brand reputation so you can attract and retain the right talent. Employee advocacy can help foster a sense of belonging within the organization. It can generate a sense of pride and connectedness, especially with distributed work force.
Some examples of content that can help with human resources initiatives are -
Hiring videos - you are building your team and are hiring
New hire videos - showcasing who they are, what they like to do outside of work and why they joined you
Company merch with branded products - t-shirts, desk accessory, cap etc.
Surveys on how to stay better connected while working remotely or hybrid
Company news about being recognized as a Top Employer
Employee incentives and recognition program related news
Work anniversary celebration
Employees organically share news on their personal social media accounts, besides being an important tool for enhancing their own personal brands, advocacy posts help create more transparency into your organization as well as teams, both locally and globally (should you have offices in other parts of the world.)
What To Keep In Mind While Planning An Advocacy Strategy
Securing executive buy-in - Any new program requires leadership to be on board so it can be successful. So prepare for that.
Leverage technology - There are several employee advocacy platform solutions on the market today such as -
Determine which is right for you based on your goals and objectives.
Set social media guidelines - Guidelines are important as it gives your employees a starting point - what content to create, curate, source or share, which channel to use and how often etc. You also want to set the guideline to mitigate any risk for the brand.
Measurement - Once the program is set, you should definitely measure its effectiveness to see what is working and what is not. Are the posts leading people to your website? Are you seeing an increase in traffic? Is sales getting more conversations? Is it leading to more conversions?
Any new program takes time to show results and for increased user adoption. Once you launch your employee advocacy initiative, be patient.