Harnessing the Power of Employee Advocacy for Maximum Impact

When companies think of brand advocates, they usually consider external people. But some of the best cheerleaders of your brand can be your employees. 

Employees in branding

Employee advocacy is when an employee of the company acts as the spokesperson for their employer’s brand. It offers first-hand testimony of the company’s mission and values. It can enhance the company’s brand image, sales, marketing, talent acquisition, and other HR efforts if embraced properly. 

Your employees handle the operations up close and know your business better than anyone. Hence, they can highlight your qualities more coherently than any strategically curated copy. 

Through employee advocacy, your workforce provides an internal look into the company — something people can judge a brand by. 

But how do you harness its immense potential to yield the best benefits? In today’s article, we will discuss how you can create and implement a successful employee advocacy program. 

Key Areas of Focus for an Engaging Employee Advocacy Program

1. Recruitment

Recruitment

In this digital age, modern talents rely on the internet to look for their next job. Here, a strong employer brand can bring you the finest candidates.

Modern job seekers use social media and professional networks for their job search. When employees share brand content on their profiles and talk about their experiences positively, it encourages the top talents to join your company. 

An employee advocacy program can be a great idea, even for the most traditional types of business. Chad Romey from Blackburn Romey, a big law firm from Indiana, says, “ we focus on creating an inviting and supportive work environment that appeals to potential paralegal candidates, including competitive salaries, benefits packages, and ongoing career development opportunities. We are proud of the paralegals we have been able to attract and retain due to our successful employer branding strategy, which has helped us provide our clients with the best legal representation possible in all areas of personal injury law.

Companies can achieve that by creating a proper employee advocacy program. This way, they become the ambassadors of your employer brand and can endorse your company as a great place to work. Their validation holds much more credibility for aspiring candidates than any other advertisements. 

2. Culture

Team work and positive work culture

Employees will only endorse their employer’s brand if they are happy and engaged in the workplace. A happy employee nurtures the workplace and is much easier to work with. 

Focusing on employee advocacy can make your workers feel at home and equip them to thrive in their positions. You can avoid workplace conflicts more effectively, improve employee communications, and bring synergy. Your employee advocates nurturing your image to the outer world and creating a high-performance culture. 

Darshan Somashekar, who runs the puzzle platform im-a-puzzle, explains, “Our employee engagement surveys not only help us gauge our company culture’s effectiveness but also serve as a key indicator of the level of employee advocacy we have within our organization. The higher the engagement score, the stronger the employee advocacy, and vice versa. It’s a testament to the power of fostering a positive workplace culture and its impact on employee morale, motivation, and brand representation.

Also Read: Boost Your Employee Experience for a Better Customer Experience

3. Marketing

Brand marketing

When customers see an employee as a brand’s spokesperson, they consider their opinion more authentic. You can increase brand awareness by encouraging employees to share your content on their social media accounts.

You can also maintain control over the narrative through pre-structured content. Your employees can amplify them and personalize individual details. Plus, you’re likely to reach 10x more people by sharing content via employees.

4. Sales

Sales

You need to make the most of your website and social media to drive more sales and outperform your competitors. A focused employee advocacy program can help you up your digital performance by shining a light on positive employee experiences.

To put things in perspective, sales reps who regularly share high-quality content on their socials are 45% more likely to exceed their target. This not only boosts their morale but also shortens the sales cycle, leading to greater efficiency.

5. Customers

Customer satisfaction

Employee advocacy can increase brand awareness and credibility. When employees share information about the company, it is seen as more trustworthy than traditional advertising. Further, employee advocacy can lead to increased website traffic and lead generation. As employees share information about the company, they can link to its website, which can drive more traffic and leads.

Employee advocacy can even improve customer loyalty. When customers see a company’s employees are passionate about the company and its products or services, they are likely to become loyal customers. Finally, an employee advocacy program can improve employee engagement, customer service, and overall customer satisfaction.

Christian Belmont from Plixpay illustrates, “At Plixpay, we have found that employee advocacy is a powerful tool for increasing brand recognition and credibility. Our employees are often the first line of contact with potential customers, so having them share information about our company has been instrumental in driving more website traffic and leads. We’ve also seen customer loyalty rise as our employees demonstrate their enthusiasm for what we do.”

Steps to Start an Employee Advocacy Program

To help you show the way, here is a guide to creating an effective employee advocacy program:

1. Get stakeholder buy-in

The first step to building an employee advocacy program is getting the stakeholders on board. 

Start the process by securing organizational buy-in from C-level executives. Convey how a focused employee advocacy program can enhance employee engagement and help streamline operations. 

Present how satisfied employees are more productive and can deliver better customer experience.

Make it a point to communicate the importance of brand advocacy by shining light on the low up-front expenditure and boosted ROI.

By clearly communicating the benefits, you get the leadership’s assistance and will make implementing an employee advocacy program several times easier. 

Besides, departments like HR, marketing, and internal communications may have important roles in your advocacy initiative. So, early on, involving them in the planning process will help you stay aligned with your goals.

2. Decide objectives and goals

One of the most important parts of creating any strategy is to understand what you want to achieve through it in the first place. To build a successful employee advocacy program, define your overarching goals. This will help you direct your efforts in the right direction and achieve desired outcomes. 

For example, there will be times when your goal will be to build a strong talent acquisition structure through employee endorsements. In that case, you must prioritize channels where industry professionals look for jobs. 

Similarly, if your primary goal is to enhance your marketing efforts, targeting the social media space is wise for the best results. On the other hand, to improve the sales pipeline, you need to merge a strong referral program with your employee advocacy initiatives.

Bring these goals to your employees’ attention so they can help accordingly.

Also Read: 7 Steps to Setting Workplace Goals and Making Them Happen!

3. Develop a strategy

Now that you have a clear idea of the path, it’s time to develop it into a smartly mapped-out strategy. 

Before agreeing on a specific plan, bring finesse into your employee engagement plan

Once you have the proper motivation, make your employees understand how employee advocacy will help them grow their professional network and advance their career development. 

Include a clear social media policy in your employee advocacy strategy. Communicate company guidelines for online communication. This will help you avoid unforeseen outcomes and confusion among employees.

With well-defined do’s and don’ts, your workforce will feel more confident to share company-related content and participate in your employee advocacy program.

Give them suitable content according to the channels you choose. Consider involving your key employees in the content planning and creation process.

Steps to start an employee advocacy program

4. Implement the program

Once you get the basics out of the way, you are ready to launch your employee advocacy initiatives. Make sure you have a documented roadmap to follow. Check whether you have accounted for all the important elements so that harnessing the program becomes easier. 

To ensure the program is well-executed, it’s essential to establish a system for measuring and tracking its progress. Create a system for managing and monitoring the program actively. This includes assigning roles and responsibilities, providing feedback and recognition for employees who participate, and ensuring the program runs smoothly.

5. Measure and tweak

No matter how much effort you put into the planning, the program may not reach its full potential immediately. Every strategy drives proper results after testing, measuring, and adjusting the steps involved. 

Consider your goals and settle on how you will measure their success. Choose appropriate KPIs. Analyze your competitor’s employee advocacy strategy and create a benchmark. Keep track of metrics like participation of employees, social media reach, number of generated leads, sales figures, change in your follower base, etc. 

Once you launch employee advocacy initiatives, examine the candidates applying for jobs in your company. Track website traffic and see whether employee endorsements brought any substantial improvements. 

Based on your findings, you will know which parts of your employee advocacy strategy are working well and which areas need improvements. 

For example, when you see your online community responding well to the content your employees share, you will know your plan is going in the right direction. If you don’t see substantial reach or talent acquisition improvements, it’s time to tweak your strategy. 

Also Read: Top 5 Employee Goals and Objectives

Conclusion

Your employees humanize your brand. Your audience will trust the testimonials of your workers more than carefully curated advertisements. 

Thus, employee advocacy is one of the best tools you have for showing off your culture and leveraging the human element of your company.

However, implementing a successful employee advocacy program doesn’t have a paved road. You have to get buy-in from all the stakeholders and build a plan that aligns with your goals. You need to invest in employee upskilling and provide them with content they will be proud to share. 

With a systematic approach, you can bring the finest talents to your company, enhance your marketing efforts, drive increased ROI, and sustain it.

Goal Setting Module


Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What are the goals of employee advocacy?

Ans. The goals of employee advocacy can vary depending on the organization’s specific objectives, but some common goals include:

  • Building brand awareness: Employee advocacy programs can help increase brand awareness by leveraging the social networks of employees to share company content, news, and updates with their own connections.
  • Increasing employee engagement: By involving employees in the company’s marketing and branding efforts, employee advocacy programs can help improve employee engagement and morale, as employees feel more connected to the company’s mission and purpose.
  • Generating leads and sales: Employee advocacy can also help drive leads and sales by expanding the reach of the company’s marketing messages and driving traffic to the company’s website or other online channels.
  • Building thought leadership: Employee advocacy can help position the company and its employees as thought leaders in their respective industries by sharing valuable content, insights, and expertise.
  • Improving customer relationships: Employee advocacy can also help improve customer relationships by providing a more personal and authentic connection between customers and the company, as they interact with individual employees who represent the company.

Q2. Why is employee advocacy important for employees?

Ans. Employee advocacy is not only important for businesses, but also for employees themselves. By participating in an employee advocacy program, employees can become more engaged with their employer, build their personal brand, and grow their professional network. Additionally, by sharing positive information about their employer, employees can help attract top talent to the company and contribute to the overall success of the business. Plus, employee advocacy can be a fun and rewarding way for employees to connect with their colleagues and share their unique perspectives and experiences. So, if you’re an employee looking to take your career to the next level, consider getting involved in your employer’s employee advocacy program!


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Effective Employee Advocacy Strategy for Your Business

Employee advocacy, which encourages your employees to share the message about your business on social media, is a hard sell because not everybody wants to mix their professional lives with their personal ones. Forcing your employees to advocate for your business would cause them to sour on your company. But not enforcing them to join your employee advocacy program prevents your business from maximizing its online visibility.

The answer is somewhere in the middle—you want them to want to advocate your brand without making it feel like a chore for them. Below are the employee advocacy strategies you should consider.

Establish an Irresistible Company Culture

First, you must set up a list of attitudes and behavior that everybody in your organization must abide by. Having a transparent company culture that is aligned with your business objectives and brand gives your organization an identity that employees can identify with and latch on to.

At the same time, you can attract new hires who share the same ideals as your brand to a tee. This way, they will be more than happy to advocate for your business on their social media.

If you don’t have a company culture, you can start by profiling your current employees and building stronger relationships with them. Knowing their core values as human beings gives insights into the business you have. From here, consider how you reduce employee churn and build a community within your organization. By retaining as many employees as possible, you can quickly establish a culture that everybody will observe. 

One of the best ways to do this is by upskilling employees. Provide them with all the resources and information to succeed at their jobs. Get your high-performing employees and managers to take them under their wing so you can inherit their positions in the future.

Once you understand your employees better, you must connect them to a purpose that ties back to your company goals. Getting them aligned with your objectives allows them to give meaning to their work in your organization, reflecting back to them as people.

Having all these things together sets the tone for the employee advocacy strategy you plan to launch for your business.

Also read: 12 Ideas for Business Mentoring Activities

Set Goals and Boundaries for Your Employee Advocacy Strategy

Next, you must define what you wish to accomplish through your advocacy program. It’s all about consistency and alignment with your brand. You want to associate your program with what your brand is about, which points back to your company culture.

Ultimately, the program aims to generate new customers and attract like-minded people to work with your organization. This is achieved by getting employees to post social media updates that shed your company in a particular light.

Below are the posts your programs should encourage employees to share:

  • Latest project each employee is working on
  • Work culture
  • Images of company swag
  • Company news and blog posts 

Depending on your program’s current goals, you must encourage employees to share certain posts online to meet them. 

If you want to start a content writing business as part of your brand, get your employees to share your team’s latest blog posts. Then mention that they can apply for a writing job if they can write something similar. At the same time, there are things that your employees shouldn’t post about work. For instance, posting your company clients with whom you’ve signed NDAs is a big no-no.

While you want employees to be creative with how they advocate for your brand, you must also set some ground rules.

Monitor the Results of the Program

Once the program is up and running, you want to check its status and how employees are doing with it.

Seeing how they respond to the program is crucial—the lack of advocacy and the underwhelming results are indicators of a program that needs rethinking. This allows you to improve your program to get more employees to join or generate more sales.

Below are metrics that you must measure in your program:

  • Percentage of employees sharing your content – Depending on the platform you’ll use (which we’ll get into later), you want to make employee advocacy easier by creating different content types for them to choose from and share on social media. A higher share rate means they enjoy the content you’ve created for them to share. If not, you may have to provide better content in your program.
  • Activity – How often they work on your program indicates its quality. Fewer content shares and number of times logged in to your employer’s advocacy platform means that it’s not engaging enough for them to join and stay active. 
  • User engagement rate – Arguably more important than the number of shares the content has is how users received them. The more likes, shares, and comments it receives, the more you should create this typeF of content for your program moving forward.
  • Employee net promoter score – Integrate this metric into your program to help you assess whether the program (or even the organization as a whole) is doing a good job engaging its employees with its culture. 

From here, you should know better what factors to tweak in your program to get better results.

Also read: Employee Performance Management In Hybrid Era

Incentivize Employees Who Perform Well

You must reward employees who have been your best-performing advocates. The rewards prove that you value the people who champion your brand outside of the office. Also, they encourage other employees to do a much better job with the program, especially if you’re giving away rewards that could benefit them.

Below are ideas on how you should incentivize your program’s advocates:

  • Rewards that tie with the winning advocate’s hobbies, i.e., extended gym memberships to fitness buffs, a supply of food for pet owners, etc.
  • Vouchers or coupons from popular retailers and marketplaces.
  • A paid course or training program to help accelerate their career development and growth.
  • Give away products you’re selling for free.
  • Upgrades to tools they’re currently using, i.e., LinkedIn Premium, to help make building a much better professional network.

If you feel your program isn’t up to expectations, you may need to build a better community for your organization. Launching a team-building initiative like scavenger hunts is a great place to start. These may not cost a lot, but they go a long way to show employees that their hard work is acknowledged and appreciated.

Use an Employee Advocacy Strategy that Best Supports Your Objectives

Instead of using multiple sheets and documents to keep track of your employee advocacy, you need a tool to streamline the program. The platform combines all these tools in a single dashboard. It can also automatically collect data and monitor the activity of your employees so you can focus on the big picture.

Below is a shortlist of tools you should consider using to run your entire employee advocacy program:

  • Everyone Social – Make employee advocacy fun and easy by setting up content pieces for your employees to share with a click of a button or encouraging them to create their own.
  • Sociabble – Aside from employee advocacy, you can reach out to workers in their preferred online channels, boost your team’s lead generation efforts, and encourage prospective employees to apply.
  • PostBeyond – Launch and measure your employee advocacy program and social selling campaigns to build upon your campaigns and continuously reach out to your audience.
  • Smarp – Allow employees to receive personalized content suggestions about your brand to share across their social networks.

Conclusion

The key to an effective employee advocacy strategy is to encourage as many workers to participate in the program and help spread the message about your business, whether it’s recruiting new talent or generating leads and customers. Either way, the steps above should help you formulate a strategy that will achieve the objectives of your employee advocacy efforts.


Want to know how Engagedly can help with effective employee engagement? Fix a quick demo with our experts.

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About the Author:

 

 

 

 

 

Christopher Jan Benitez is a freelance writer for hire who specializes in the digital marketing field. His work has been published on SEO and affiliate marketing-specific niches like Monitor Backlinks, Niche Pursuits, Nichehacks, Web Hosting Secret Revealed, and others.