What is Employee Advocacy and How to Use it in Your Social Media

Marketing / 12 Dec 2021

What is Employee Advocacy?

Organic reach on social media is in decline. LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram (now, Meta) prioritise community content above all else because it keeps its users on-platform as long as possible. It’s a fact that on social media, business exposure is a paid-for privilege. Short of copywriting services, paid advertising and premium membership, what options do businesses have to increase their reach and exposure?

Here’s a low-cost option you may not have thought of or considered in enough detail, and that’s employee advocacy. If it’s not already, it deserves consideration as part of your agency’s wider marketing strategy in 2022.

First Things First: What is employee advocacy?

Hootsuite defines employee advocacy as the promotion of an organisation by its workforce.

Your employees may already like, share, and comment on your business content, especially when they’re passionate about your work. A strategic employee advocacy programme enables them to do so in a guided, low-risk, meaningful way.

For your sales team, it’s also a great starting point for your social selling strategy.

Why Employee Advocacy Works

Research shows that more people trust an employee (54%) than a CEO (47%). In part because they view a CEO as having a vested interest in a company’s success. But also because the employee has more credibility within their network amongst their peers.

In the same way that influencer marketing works, an employee advocating for your business via social media is a form of social proof – and that’s something money can’t buy.

How to Use Employee Advocacy Successfully in Your Marketing

Make a Plan and Set the Tone With Clear Goals

Before you spring into action prematurely, take some time to think through what it is you’re trying to achieve through an employee advocacy programme.

Are you trying to increase general brand awareness, publicise a new product or service, or both?

What metrics will you use to gauge performance? How will you define success?

What potential issues might you face along the way? How might you address them?

Preparation is the foundation of a successful strategy. Set a defined time frame for your programme, set clear goals, and communicate them to your team.

Communicate Effectively

Asking your team to talk about your business as part of their social media activities can be a reputational risk. It’s one of the reasons why you need a clear plan and associated guidance in place.

Preparing helpful guidelines about how to approach the task helps to channel your team’s creativity and enthusiasm, always ensuring that any messaging used is on-brand.

Starbucks social media guidelines are a great example of how to standardise social media activity well.

Encourage the team to ask questions and share content ideas by starting an employee communications channel. A Whatsapp group, Slack or Discord channel, or something similar is a great place to start and address the masses.

Clearly state your expectations. Guide the team about what to say and do, but also – just as important – explain what not to do. A social media policy helps ensure everyone is on the same page and prevents problems down the line.

Create Resources

Employee advocacy on social media may well be a new endeavour for your staff. They may need some support to know where to begin.

Help them get started with a set of prompts for posts, branded graphics they can be proud of, and a how-to guide for those unfamiliar with social media.

Reward Participation

A well-executed employee advocacy programme can reap significant financial rewards for your agency. Increased exposure, higher engagement, and access to new prospects, to name a few.

It’s only fair then that your team should benefit from their effort. 

Encourage participation using rewards, recognition, and a little healthy competition. Demonstrate the impact their hard work has had through sharing impact reports and the associated ROI.

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