Employee Advocacy is including employees in social marketing by empowering them to share corporate content on their powerful social networks. This program yields results in many fronts including increased marketing ROI, sales and employee morale. Employees make the best brand advocates because they are truly passionate about the brand, their networks tend to be in the same ecosystem as the company’s and their knowledge in adding personalized comments makes any post stand out. So, harnessing employee networks in social marketing is highly effective, and also economical.
Does employee advocacy work for companies with less than 100 employees?
It’s simple math that when more number of employees participate in spreading brand messages on social media, it fetches higher results. The question is what if the companies do not have large workforces with thousands of employees?
In absence of an employee advocacy program, growing companies depend on reaching out to new audiences by increasing followers. With changes in the algorithms of social networks, posts from brands or business pages always take the back seat. All posts do not reach all your social followers. The best bet is to reach relevant audiences through your own employees even if they are a small group of people.
Let’s calculate potential social reach through 100 employees in a company.
Number of employees = 100
Employee participation rate in advocacy program = 70%
Connection overlap among employees = 20%
Potential Social Reach per post = 101,934
However, all connection on social media do not get to see each individual’s post. From our own customer database, we have found the reach is more close to 20,000 per 100 employees for each post.
To summarize, employee advocacy will be effective even with employees less than 100. More number of employees certainly bring higher reach, however the quality of impressions and clickthroughs are be higher for smaller teams. Sometimes, large teams tend to dilute the brand by with sheer quantity of shares but no quality or personalization behind it.
Employee advocacy implementation in both growing companies and large enterprise have their own challenges. We have shared here a few tips that have helped our own customers succeed.
(This article was first appeared in Marketing Profs)
1. Get buy-in from the management team
Before you ask employees to become ambassadors, share your plan and strategy with the leadership team and get their buy-in on the business benefits of social media. Explain how employees can bring value by spending just a little time on this effort. For example, educate the head of Sales on how sales reps will discover and nurture new leads and interact with prospects in an informal way, which will eventually turn into revenue. Also ask the management team for recommendations on who from the board or advisory team would make good advocates for the brand.
2. Educate brand ambassadors
Identify brand advocates and coach them on the importance of social engagement. Share with them the benefit of becoming thought leaders in the industry and demonstrating their expertise. For example, let them know that as advocates they help reach the right audiences, attract smart new members to their teams, and maintain the culture they are all part of. Also, share with them the downside of going rogue and venting on social channels, which will hurt the company and have a negative impact on their own, personal brand.
3. Provide guidelines and framework
This may seem like a tip from yesteryear—after all, everyone knows how to use social media, right? Most people are comfortable sharing their personal details with friends and family. However, each ambassador should understand the difference between personal content vs. content share by a brand ambassador. They’ll need to understand the importance of adhering to corporate guidelines, do’s and don’ts, key hashtags, and the best way to engage online using company information. Host companywide informational sessions about how to manage social profiles and participate in social conversations, followed by separate sessions for various functions. You should also offer individual guidance to those who would like to learn more or those who are advanced social players.
4. Share branded and non-branded content
Employees can share company- and product-related content—from data sheets and press releases to webinars and lead-gen campaigns. If you are livestreaming an event, the recorded content is also good for sharing. Posting pictures from tradeshows and company outings also helps the brand. Most marketing teams will create branded and nonbranded content—from videos to infographics—to drive awareness and engagement. Help employees understand the types of content that should be shared on various channels—such as on Instagram vs. LinkedIn—for goals such as building camaraderie or selling a product.
5. Show employees the results of their effort
Once the employees are active on social and sharing content regularly, it’s important that you show them the results. That could be a report on new customers/revenue stream, brand awareness metrics, or engagement from their social interactions. Using specialized platforms, such as my company’s (see my bio, below), you can personalize messages, see which influencers have the highest impact, and see how individual posts are doing through shares, clicks, views, and impressions. Sharing this info will help people understand their audiences. By giving feedback, you’ll get employee advocates to be more engaged and willing to support your programs. Finally, you may also want to hold monthly contests and reward the top employees on the leaderboard.