There’s no denying social media is an effective and essential communication tool for any business, but it’s limited to reaching a brand’s existing following. And since posting the same material to the same audience over and over again doesn’t yield a good return on investment, it’s time you started branching out beyond your current following — which brings us to today’s topic: how to create a social media employee advocacy program.
The numbers speak for themselves.
- Brand messages have a 561% higher reach when shared by an employee rather than company accounts
- Collectively, employees’ social networks are 10 times larger than corporates’
- Employee posts generate 800% more engagement than corporate posts — and convert 700% more leads
Now, before you start barking at your co-workers to start sharing every single piece of branded content, gather key stakeholders to develop the purpose and strategy behind this new initiative. Today, we’re going to learn how to do just that in order to create an effective social media employee advocacy program that:
- Excites and activates your employees
- Builds credibility and authenticity for both employees and the organization
Let’s learn how!
What Is Social Media Employee Advocacy?
Social media employee advocacy is when a company empowers their workers to promote their brand on social media while also positioning themselves as thought leaders within their peer group and industry. Typically, employee advocates will post things to their social media accounts like:
- Company, team, customer, or individual recognition (awards, features, mentions)
- Workplace culture and team involvement (i.e. volunteering, office celebration)
- Event attendance or exhibition
- Customer spotlights
- Service or product announcement/update
- Relevant thought leadership — whether from the company blog, industry influencer, customer use case, etc.
- Career opportunities at the company
When employees share news, insights, and shout-outs related to their company, they’re not only cultivating brand awareness on behalf of their employer, they’re also nurturing credibility based on who they are as professionals. (This is especially important for sales professionals — more on that shortly.)
Employee advocacy on social media represents authentic engagement, interest, and professional development in their expertise — not a promotional sounding board for the business. We are all invested in our careers, and part of establishing our personal brand is how we present ourselves on social media. Employee advocacy should amplify this and empower individuals to act as knowledgeable and engaged professionals rather than forcing people to mindlessly copy and paste sales pitches that only serve the company.
When done right, social media employee advocacy is a win-win for employees and organizations alike. The employee is able to bolster their personal brand as a professional while the company gains cost-effective brand awareness to fresh audiences, which leads to increased site traffic, conversions, revenue, and even new talent acquisition!
How to Kickstart Your Employee Advocacy Program
Implementing an employee advocacy program is a marathon — not a sprint. Like I mentioned above, establishing a strategy and purpose early on is essential for gaining maximum interest and involvement. So, without further ado, here’s a 4-step guide for launching your employee advocacy program:
- Figure out your goals and objectives for your social media employee advocacy program — and be specific. What metrics are you measuring? What do you want to accomplish (other than something vague like “get more brand awareness”)? How does this play into your overall social media strategy? You’ll want to have a clear understanding of what you and the company expect for this employee advocacy program before jumping into launch-mode.
- Become familiar with the social media tool you’ll be using to promote employee advocacy so that you can help onboard your peers. Take advantage of any training resources at your disposal, and work with your account manager/customer success representative to get the most out of its functionality. This will help you communicate how-to’s and also recognize any limitations within the platform.
- Determine which department will have the greatest impact and benefit the most as social media employee advocates (*HINT: It’s Sales), train them how to use the software, and develop a regular sharing cadence. Once this team is fully onboarded and participating, move to other impactful departments, such as your leadership and marketing teams.
(Why Sales? Because their role and methodology has completely transformed within the past decade. While technology obviously plays a major role in closing the deal, authentic connections remain the biggest factor in any business relationship. Engaging on social with a salesperson is fun and personal than a cold call, and it creates a foundation for those initial sales calls because the prospect will now recognize the name and brand. It’s no surprise that sales professionals who use social media in their daily activities achieve 78% more sales than those who don’t, right?)
- Create social media content that is authentic and valuable for customers and employees alike. Your staff wants to grow as professionals and become recognized as experts in their field, and sharing useful insights with their industry peers and colleagues helps them do both.
As you write your social copy, try to gain a little perspective. Account managers want to celebrate customer success rather than tout how your company helped them achieve those wins. Engineering departments are proud of achieving great positioning in product reports and are eager to share their accomplishments. Sales loves to serve as a credible and educational resource for hot leads, which means they might want to share engaging thought leadership content. Social posts that resonate with more employees will prompt more shares, clicks, engagement, and, ultimately, revenue.
The Do’s and One Big Don’t of Employee Advocacy
Do incorporate the employee advocacy program into onboarding for all new team members. This includes setting them up to use the platform successfully and reviewing company policies as they relate to social media.
Do use a social media tool with a good employee advocacy feature (like Act-On’s Advanced Social Media Module)
Do occasionally encourage friendly competition — especially if there’s a certain event, go-to-market, or piece of content to emphasize.
Do create content that appeals to different departments outside of Marketing and Sales. If you aren’t sure what they like to share and engage with, ask!
Do set up notification emails for your employee advocates to alert them whenever you post new messages. (Bonus if they can directly share the post from the email!)
Don’t require employees to post to social media. Employee social media accounts are their own, and they should be able to decide if and what they want to share. Some people aren’t active on social media and others are particular about keeping work and personal completely separate — and that’s okay. Encourage your employees to participate, but never make it mandatory.
Improve Your Social Media Employee Advocacy With Act-On’s Advanced Social Media Module
Social media can be a tough nut to crack, especially for smaller B2B companies, which is why employee advocacy is such an important part of any successful social media strategy. If you’re ready to take your social media marketing game to the next level, you should reach out to one of our digital marketing experts to learn more about Act-On’s Advanced Social Media Module.