Employees are one of the most untapped resources that marketers have today, and many companies are nowhere near realizing their full potential. According to Pew Research Center, an average individual has around 200 friends on Facebook. This being said, if 50 employees shared company-related content with their 200 friends, thatâ€™s 10,000 people. Do we have your attention yet? This is what employee advocacy is all about, and once applied correctly, it can offer a myriad of opportunities for companies.
What is employee advocacy?
Employee Advocacy refers to the promotion of a company by its workforce. In other words, itâ€™s asking your employees to share company-related content to their own personal circles. And in todayâ€™s digital world, the most common and fruitful medium for employee advocacy is social media.
Why is employee advocacy important?
Â For most companies, trust is one of the hardest things to come by. While people donâ€™t trust companies, they do trust the individuals who work for them. In Edelmanâ€™s 2017 Trust Barometer, 48% of respondents said they would trust company information from a regular employee, while CEO credibility dropped to an all-time low of only 37%. This indicates that people are more likely to trust a face than a logo. Consequently, employee advocacy can boost trust and transparency, in addition to humanizing the brandâ€™s image, making it more recognizable to a wider audience.
In todayâ€™s world of paid boost and ads, marketers are facing an issue when it comes to reaching people organically. Letâ€™s take Facebook as an example:Â Although Facebook is growing, post reach is at an all-time low of around 2%. Per contra, posts published by employees on social media reach hundreds of new connections. This is exactly why employee advocacy is so powerful. The combined reach of your employeesâ€™ post is thousands more than the reach of your companiesâ€™ page.
The DOs of an Employee Advocacy Policy
- DO create social media guidelines and make sure to communicate them to allÂ concerned employees. These include general behavioral guidelines on how to communicate online (e.g. be polite, avoid abusive languageâ€¦).
- DO provide training on the best social media practices. By bringing all concerned employees up to speed, youâ€™ll increase your chances of success and encourage individual initiatives.
- DO appoint a leader to manage your social media advocacy program. This person will provide advice and counsel to advocates as needed.
The DONâ€™Ts of an EmployeeÂ Advocacy Policy
Â DONâ€™T ask your employees for passwords to their accounts. Itâ€™s simply inappropriate. Alternatively, you can use a social media tool such as Hootsuite Amplify or SocioAdvocacy that let employees add personal social profiles to the platforms, so you can post on their behalf.
- DONâ€™T tell employees what they â€śmustâ€ť do. Instead encourage them to participate by giving them incentives, always keeping in mind that at the end of the day itâ€™s their social media accounts.
- DONâ€™T forget to promote advocacy offline as well. This is done by offering employees company-branded swag, organizing get-togethers and outings, and recognizing their effort.
Your employees are your most important company asset. Adopting employee advocacy is a win-win for both the company and its employees as they become aligned with the companyâ€™s vision and success. With the right program and approach, employee advocacy can become an essential, and successful, part of your marketing strategy.
Written by Nassif Abou Khalil