What is Employee Advocacy and How to Use it to Elevate Your Business?

Dino Kuckovic
September 1, 2021 - 7 min. read

A single post shared by all of your employees can offer a significant opportunity to increase visibility, improve brand recognition, and provide a competitive advantage. 

Social media has fundamentally changed the way people interact with the world around them, including their organizations. 

According to research by Inc. an employee advocacy program can result in 5x growth in web traffic and generate 25% more leads. 

Despite this great outlook, not many companies have an established strategy on how to activate these external communications through social media.  

The average employee has a wider network of followers than their company. Leveraging the connections and networks of your employees can be a huge differentiator.   

Are employees the (new) brand advocates for your company? It’s all pointing to an untapped opportunity. 

What is social media advocacy? 

 Today’s business reality is that you’ll find disengaged employees in almost every organization. 

Encouraging those teammates to interact more on social media with the company and its goals has become a major priority of Employee Success teams. 

But let’s look first into the three main types of social media advocacy: employee, customer, and influencer advocacy. Each offers a unique advantage for all brands. 

  • Employee advocacy  

This is word-of-mouth marketing that is widely manifested on social and available for everyone to see. It requires employee passion for your products or services while also pooling the knowledge and expertise of the person.  

  • Customer advocacy 

It demonstrates the value of a product or service from a consumer perspective. However, customers often don’t go into the same lengths as employees and quite frankly don’t even need to because a simple recommendation from an unbiased source suffices. 

  • Influencer advocacy 

These brand advocates don’t work for your company, and they may not even use your products. Instead, their affiliation comes in one-off campaigns where brands find a person their audience trusts to leverage that influence to promote the brand. What sets them apart is the established audience they bring with them. 

The benefits of employee advocacy. 

It is estimated that there will be around 4.41 billion users on social networks around the globe in 2025. The majority of these people are somewhat socially savvy and have built up decently-sized audiences of their own. 

However, getting employees to engage with your company’s posts remains a challenge for many brands. But it is a goal that every brand should be pursuing. 

Here’s what your brand stands to gain from employee advocacy: 

  • Broader reach and social presence. 

Don’t underestimate the power of employee content amplification, especially in the time of ad blockers and frequent algorithm changes on social networks. Building up an army of brand advocates led by your very own employees can significantly increase your reach regardless of the size of your social media presence.  

Employee sharing will also humanize your brand. Think about it—with social media advocacy, each post your brand shares ends up in many more personal feeds. This not only works towards improving brand awareness and reach, but also builds up all-important consumer trust. 

  • Lead generation. 

It probably comes as no surprise that salespeople who use social media outsell their peers. LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are all great for lead generation, with little effort required. Employee sharing casts your net even wider, which in turn will impact revenue and growth.  

  • Employee empowerment. 

Encouraging your brand advocates to partake in your employee advocacy program shows them that you’re invested and interested in their personal and professional development. This can go a long way when it comes to retaining your employees and earning their loyalty. 

  • Recruiting. 

People are your greatest resource for evangelizing the company, its values, and its culture. Employee advocacy gives recruiters a much stronger foundation to work from. People will naturally be drawn to a brand whose employees openly and authentically share their love for where they work. This can pay off in qualified referrals.  

How to implement an employee advocacy program. 

Now that we’ve covered why advocacy matters, let’s discuss how to implement it in just three easy steps. 

1.Documentation. 

Start by documenting your employee advocacy program for two different audiences: 

  • Admins who run the program. 

This group of employees would need clear documentation detailing goals, KPIs, posting protocols, tooling used, and more.  

  • Employee advocates who contribute to the program.  

The second group needs the same details in a much more condensed format to understand the rules of the game. 

2. Get the word out. 

Once a program is in place, you need to inform your employees about it. This could be via the company newsletter or Intranet. Additionally, the program could be incorporated into an internal training for new employees. 

It’s up to you to educate people on social media best practices and, above all, get them involved in the employee advocacy program. In time, the program will run itself because connected employees will see each others’ posts and want to like or share the content themselves. 

3. Incentives. 

Down the road, you’ll notice that certain employees are more active advocates, but others have the potential to reach wider audiences. For some, the best motivation for employee advocacy is a boost to their personal brand. Others simply enjoy being involved.  

In order to channel your employees’ enthusiasm, you can publicize a leaderboard showcasing metrics on who’s getting the most impressions or engagement. Offer small rewards to motivate them to keep up the work such as gift cards, candy, certificates, etc.  

While the above are definite musts, there are things you should avoid at all costs: 

  • Not having a clear social media policy: guidelines ensure appropriate employee conduct online.  
  • Making employees share “spammy” content: they’re not just representing you, but also themselves. 
  • Forcing employee participation: this will only be counterproductive. 

Make it easy. 

You already have an attractive and interactive work culture (I hope). Now, incorporate employee advocacy in it in a smart way.  

Content has to be easy to share and relevant to your employees’ network on social. 

To avoid extra work, leverage your existing content. Popular resources that people like to share usually include:  

  • Blog posts 
  • Events 
  • Job descriptions 
  • Favorable brand mentions 
  • eBooks
  • Webinars 
  • Snackable social content like videos, Stories, Reels, etc. 

Now, take a moment to understand the most common bottlenecks your teammates might face when it comes to employer advocacy: 

  • Time 

Employee advocacy comes with time constraints. Sometimes, we are all so busy that sharing yet another social media post about our work could seem exhausting. You need to find the right balance for your team. 

  • Management 

Your company’s leadership is the key to this equation. If you have the management’s buy-in and thought leadership, you will naturally develop your employee advocacy program. 

  • Work-life balance 

Help rather than hinder your employees. Try to find the fine line between work and play and activate your employees to be your brand ambassadors. Some people prefer to keep their jobs and their personal lives separate. 

  • Social media savviness 

Try to educate your teams on how to use social media for employer branding. If they love their jobs, they will be more than willing to share their experience with their social networks. 

  • Fear 

Social media requires a lot of exposure, so depending on your employees’ mindset, you might face some skepticism from their side about sharing posts publicly. 

The impact of social media advocacy on your brand. 

Enthusiasm is contagious. Be sure to hype up your brand initiatives and goals. Remind your employees about the advocacy program with updates about new and shareable content to keep the cycle going. 

You’ll want to see how employee advocacy helps your bottom line to learn and make adjustments to your program as you go. And then, you should find an organized way to accurately measure your success. 

It’s a good practice to align your advocacy program with at least one of your primary business goals. This will also help you decide which social media metrics to track, like for example top contributors, popular shares, top downloads, number of referrals, impressions, share of voice, engagement, website traffic, organic reach, or new leads. 

Setting up UTM parameters to links will allow you to track and attribute traffic from your advocates.  

Make sure to share your employee advocacy program’s results with the teams, as this can inspire your workforce. 

Turn on employee advocacy with Falcon.io & Sociuu.

We have partnered with Sociuu to optimize your social media reach and effect through Employee Advocacy. Sociuu is a simple, safe, and smart employee advocacy platform for social media designed to increase companies’ employee engagement and amplify brands’ social reach.

Social media content created, planned, and published in Falcon.io is transferred automatically via an API key to the Sociuu Content Hub. With Sociuu, you easily create, schedule, and share posts with the right employees at the right time. With one click, employees instantly elevate brands’ social reach. 

If you want to know more on how these tools can enable your successful employee advocacy program, contact us here.

Over to you. 

The time is now for business leaders at all levels to create a culture where employee advocacy can flourish and their organization can start engaging its greatest asset — people. 

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