Employee Advocacy 101: Why You Should Care and How to Start a Program From Scratch

We’ve all been there. You’ve spent time, money, and resources on producing great content for your company blog, only to have that content seen by just a handful of people. Sound familiar? You know you need to increase the eyeballs on the content to actually make it worth anything, but the thought of committing even more money to boosting and promoting every post puts a strain on the ol’ ticker (and marketing budget of course). If only there was a group of individuals who were invested in your company AND actively wanted to promote it. Enter employee advocacy.

Quite simply, employee advocacy is when your employees promote your company/content/marketing message through their personal social networks. In action, the process goes like this:

1. You publish a piece of content to your website

2. Your employees share that content on their personal social media accounts

3. You marvel at the increase in traffic and engagement

But does employee advocacy actually help lift content engagement? The studies say yes. In fact, brand messages are re-shared 24 times more frequently when distributed by employees vs. the brand. Also, content shared by employees receives 8 times more engagement than content shared by brand channels. Still not enough? How about the finding that customers referred by advocates have a 37% higher retention rate!

Having employees advocate for your company on their social networks can be huge in terms of increasing social engagement, website traffic and brand awareness; as well as generating sales and attracting top candidates for employment. Why? Because, on average, your employees have 10 times more followers than corporate accounts and can be your best brand ambassadors. When employees share your content, your company has the opportunity to reach new audiences and new levels of brand loyalty.

Not only do employees love your brand (if they don’t, then hire people that do), they also add a strong sense of authenticity to your brand’s message; their followers are more likely to engage with your content if it’s coming from a friend. In fact, according to Cisco “77% of consumers are more likely to buy a product from someone they trust.”

So how do you actually “build” an employee advocacy program?

Start by selecting an advocate marketing platform that can handle everything from distribution (with company safeguards in place) to rewards. With tool in hand, you’ll want to select a small group of employees to act as pilots. Train them on the platform, empower them to make recommendations on how to improve the program and dole out a couple of rewards (a little free lunch or extra hour of PTO never hurts) while they’re testing it.

Once the pilot team has worked out the kinks, you can roll out the program to the rest of the team. Invite employees into the program, ensure that there is proper training, and let the content driving begin! Don’t be afraid to put a little competition behind it either (sales vs. marketing anyone?).

Recognition can take many forms. Prizes, certificates, public recognition or friendly competition are all ways you can show your employees that you appreciate what they are doing while acknowledging them as a voice of your brand.

 Ready to get started? SocialToaster stands ready to help you create, manage and execute your brand’s employee advocacy program. Contact our sales team today to see what SocialToaster can do for you!