The Power of Employee Advocacy
What was once a category of influencers that was often overlooked by comms teams, is now slowly starting to have its value noticed. And rightly so, because when it comes to conducting one of the most impactful forms of promotion - positive word of mouth - it’s your loyal employees who are the ones most likely to sing your praises from the rooftops.
And the best bit? You’re already paying them, so you don’t have to worry about dipping into that already-stretched marketing budget for an overpriced #ad on Instagram.
Research by Fast Company shows that if a company’s employees are saying positive things about the company, it’s much easier for people to believe what they’re saying, as opposed to what the company promotes itself. It was found that content shared by employees gets on average 8x more engagement than content shared by brand channels and 25x more shares.
According to LinkedIn, "On average, a company's employee networks are at least 10x larger than a company's follower base. And, when your colleagues share a post, it is seen as 3 times more authentic, which helps the message cut through."
But how do you know where to start?
First of all, you need to make sure anything you activate with your employees is aligned with your overall business goals, and your marketing strategy.
For example, if you’re a growing start-up who is hoping to use social media comms to attract more junior talent, then TikTok would be the perfect place for your employees to create fun content that will help attract the right people to apply.
See if there’s any of your team who are already active on TikTok - it could be that they’ve previously shared content about your business, potentially through ‘day in the life’ style videos, or even just from jumping on trending dances/formats with colleagues at a work social event. This all helps play a key role in your overall objective of promoting a fun company culture, and should be encouraged.
It’s worth keeping these employees in the loop with what’s coming up, or if there is anything you’d like help pushing from a perks/benefits point of view. The brand channel can then share this content to their wider audience, so the employee will also benefit from increased exposure/followers thanks to this - it’s always important to show how these opportunities can be mutually beneficial!
If you’re a more corporate/B2B brand, then LinkedIn is a really effective platform for encouraging your team to share your company’s content. After all, it’s designed specifically as a professional network, so employees will naturally feel more comfortable sharing updates for work-purposes there.
Seeing blog posts, award celebrations or event promotion from someone that you know, rather than a face-less brand, is immediately more engaging - especially if they can add some context as to how they were personally involved.
But how do you encourage employees to take part?
There are plenty of tools out there, for example DSMN8, which makes it super simple for employees to share content with the click of a button. Many of the tools also have a leaderboard which helps encourage some healthy competition between your staff - the more clicks your post gets, the higher you will rank. This can then also feed into their annual reviews and shout-outs in monthly meetings.
If you aren’t ready to invest in a bespoke platform, LinkedIn has brought out a handy free feature that acts in a similar way. If you’re an admin of a company page, you just need to hit the ‘Content’ button and then click ‘Recommend to Employees’. You can then write a bespoke post that is ready for sharing - employees will then be notified and they will just have to hit ‘repost’. Company page admins will then be able to see how many shares and clicks the content has received, which will hopefully highlight just how much impact your employees’ amplification has had.
Whilst it would always be best practice to encourage employees to write their own posts, in their own tone of voice, with their own photos, in terms of building confidence with posting, this feature is a great place to start. You’ll be surprised by how many of your employees find it daunting to hit the ‘post’ button, especially if they haven’t done it before. But as soon as the ‘likes’ and new connection requests start to come in, this will help encourage them to keep at it.