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What is employee advocacy and how to improve it: 4 easy tips

Employee advocacy is a powerful tool for improving your company's brand, but it can be hard to know where to start. We'll review employee advocacy...

Author Rachel McQuigge of WFHomie and GoCo

by Rachel McQuigge - September 6th, 2022


Employee advocacy is a powerful tool for improving your company's brand, but it can be hard to know where to start. We'll review employee advocacy and how to improve your program using four easy tips.

What is employee advocacy?

Employee advocacy is a form of marketing where employees—trusted by their networks—promote your brand on their social media accounts. It's an excellent way to amplify your message and reach a new audience because people trust other people more than they trust brands.

Key Takeaways

  • When employees share something from your company (a blog post, event invitation, or anything else), it has the potential to be seen by many more people than if you share it yourself.

  • When you leverage employee advocacy for your business, make sure you have clear expectations around what types of posts are acceptable and what is not so that everyone is on the same page regarding compliance.

What are the types of employee advocacy?

Two types of employee advocacy exist: 

  1. Employee advocacy for a company

  2. Employee advocacy for a product or service

In the first type of employee advocacy, individuals use their brand to amplify the company's brand. Boosting the company brand may occur on social media or in a media interview. Examples include posting about what it's like to work at your company or speaking about the company on CNBC. 

In addition to these activities, some employees might attend events and conferences as representatives of their employer; they could also appear as guests on podcasts or webinars related to their employer's industry. 

Finally, many workers share information about their organization's benefits with friends and family, often called "employee referral marketing."

Employees that engage in this kind of promotion act as "ambassadors" because they support their employers' brands through word-of-mouth marketing efforts—though it may not always feel like marketing when an individual shares information about their job on social media!

The second type of employee advocacy is called "employee advocacy marketing," or "EA-M." 

EA-M refers to a company's efforts to get its workers actively involved in promoting its products and services. Getting employees involved may mean encouraging them to write favorable reviews on Glassdoor or LinkedIn, taking surveys about their experience with the organization, sharing stories about how they used a particular product—or even posting positive comments on social media.

There are many ways to be an employee advocate. Likewise, there are many ways to build an employee advocacy program. What matters most is identifying tactics that reach your intended audience and feel authentic to your employees.

Examples of employee advocacy

  • Posting about the experience of working for your company on social media

  • Using social media, a media interview, and other means to promote the company's brand in a way that reflects well on the individual's brand.

  • Representing the organization at an event or conference

  • Appearing on a podcast or webinar to speak about your company with knowledge and authority

  • Discussing the benefits of working at your company with family and friends

  • Wearing or using branded items in public can help your company stand out from its competitors.

What are the benefits of employee advocacy?

Employee advocacy is a powerful tool that can help boost your business in many ways. 

This type of marketing is more effective than traditional advertising because it's more authentic and relatable than paid advertisements. Employee advocates are also better at reaching new audiences because they're usually passionate about the company's mission and beliefs (and therefore motivated to share). 

For example, suppose an employee loves working for a law firm because it makes helping people feel good about themselves and make good money. If they like you, they'll share it on Facebook or LinkedIn, and those people may decide to work there too!

The Benefits of Employee Advocacy

  • Enhance your marketing efforts by boosting your social media presence.

  • Increase awareness of your brand and what it's like to work for your company by encouraging word of mouth.

  • Brand ambassadors can help attract top talent. People trust what their peers say over branded messaging.

  • A good company culture hears and values employees' voices; this culture can boost employee engagement and retention.

  • Engaged teams are more profitable.

  • For example, Gallup reports that high-engagement teams have 21% greater profitability and enjoy a 41% reduction in absenteeism and 59% less attrition than disengaged teams [2].

  • High workplace engagement contributes to a positive customer experience and improved sales.

4 tips for improving your employee advocacy program

1. Establish an employee advocacy platform.

An employee advocacy platform is one of the best ways to get your employees talking about your brand and encouraging their networks to do the same. But it's not as simple as just posting on Facebook or Twitter and calling it a day. You need to establish a system that tracks where employees share content, what they're sharing, whom they're reaching with their messages, etc. You can ensure all this information finds its way back into your marketing efforts for it all to be helpful.

2. Use surveys to ask for employee feedback

The more you know how well your current efforts are working (or not), the easier it will be for you to improve upon them in the future! Does this mean taking regular employee surveys and asking them questions like: How much value do they see from being involved in these activities? Are there times when they don't want us involved? What else could we do better?" Regularly asking these questions will give content creators and HR managers valuable insights into how effective their programs are—and thus help them find ways to improve them over time.

You can use an employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) survey to measure how likely your employees are to recommend your workplace to a friend and then ask them why with free-response questions.

Then, you can use Additional Questions to learn more about what they suggest you do to build a successful employee advocacy program. Use this information to guide your advocacy action planning.

Thank employees for completing the survey and letting them know you value their opinions.

3. Get creative with your content!

Many companies are now looking for ways to take their content creation efforts from simply sharing information about themselves and their products/services to creating more exciting and engaging content to help build brand loyalty and employee awareness.

Engaging content can help provide a more personal touch to your company's social media efforts while allowing employees to enjoy their work. 

4. Encourage employees to share on social media! 

By encouraging creativity and getting employees involved in the process, you can create engaging and educational content for your audience.

It's essential to get your employees involved in the process. Encouraging creativity and encouraging employees to share their insights and expertise with their networks will help you create content that stands out.

The best way to get people excited about your product is to make them feel like they're a part of the process. When you ask your employees to share their stories, you can create engaging and educational content for your audience.

How to measure the success of your program

Measuring the success of your employee advocacy program is essential.

With so much going on in the business, it's easy to lose sight of what matters most. Understanding how employee advocacy impacts your business will help you make better decisions, allocate resources effectively, and continue to drive growth.

Measuring employee advocacy can be done using data from multiple sources:

  • Employee surveys – use questions that measure attitudes towards your brand and positive behavior changes that have resulted from participating in the program (e.g., increased likelihood to recommend)

  • Social media analytics – track follower numbers, engagement with content posted by advocates, and mentions across social media platforms

Final Thoughts — Employee Advocacy Works

Employee advocacy is a powerful way to promote your brand, reach more customers, and increase sales. Having your employees share great things about your business can build trust with new people and improve your reputation.

But it's not just about the numbers: employee advocacy works because it allows employees to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves by positively sharing information about their job. And if employees feel good about their work, that means better customer service for everyone!

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