Employee advocacy is one of the smartest ways to increase brand awareness among masses through social media. The concept nurtures and brings out the true potential of the employees, which not only benefits the company but also adds value to their skillset.
Every organization, company and brand want their venture to be the top player in the market. Companies need positive reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations for business growth. The best way to attract is to instigate trust within the audience. And there’s no better way to build trust among the audience than employee advocacy.
According to the statistics from the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer, 52% of the consumers trust an average employee more than the CEO. The stats have gone up by 30% since 2009. According to another study conducted by Cisco, the content shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than content shared by brand channels.
How does employee advocacy help brands and employees?
If you think employee advocacy only favours the organization, it’s not true. It is a mutually beneficial activity and accelerates growth for both the parties involved, in different ways.
Employee advocacy is a reputation-building marketing technique which helps the organizations in multiple ways:
- It opens up doors of opportunities for brand recognition
- It increases organic shares, builds trusts and generates leads
- Company employees promote the company culture on social media platforms, which further attracts the prospective employees and helps the business find the right talent
- Businesses know the strengths of their employees and can leverage that to build a strong employee advocacy campaign
Similarly, employees also get multiple advantages through the advocacy program. Participating in employee advocacy activities allows them to garnish their professional profiles and add vast skills into their resumes. They get:
- To grow their network while working for a full-time job
- Build meaningful relationships, both inside and outside the organization
- To stay connected with the top management as employee advocacy builds transparency in the organization
- To experiment with their creativity in a corporate set up
Any employee advocacy program is only said to be successful when the employees are fully engaged and dedicated to make it a big success. To make it a hit, employees should know what’s in it for them and how they can revolutionize the company by being a valuable asset to the team.
Successful employee advocacy campaigns:
Here are some examples of brands who harnessed the potential of their workforce to spread brand information and generate buzz around the internet:
MasterCard has been leveraging employee advocacy benefits even before people had coined the term. The brand had roped in 7, 500 employees’ company-wide back in 2013 and made them comfortable with social media and acting as social media brand advocates.
MasterCard runs a MasterCard Employee Ambassador Program through which employees share brand-related news and information across all their social media platforms. The organization has over-time realized the power that employee advocacy holds and how it can transform the company’s online presence if done with a perfect strategy.
MasterCard gives full liberty to employees to engage on social media platforms during work hours. They also include their employees in the decision-making process. MasterCard understands that before implementing employee advocacy in the organization, employees need to be fully aware of the dos and don’ts of the program.
Marcy Cohen, VP, and Senior Business Leader for Worldwide Communications at MasterCard brought the company together for a meeting for an open discussion about the guidelines, allowing people to ask questions and understand what was and was not allowed on social when acting as an employee advocate for MasterCard. The company videoed this meeting and then made it available to its other employees around the world.
Starbucks has taken a unique approach to inculcate employee advocacy in their business. Starbucks employees have a separate page where they post employee advocacy content- pictures, stories and videos about Starbucks.
They call the page Starbucks partners because the brand wants to create a sense of belongingness among the employees and also want them to be accountable and mindful of their actions on the page. The brand regularly updates the employee on the employee advocacy guidelines regarding what they should do and how they go about the situation.
Each brand has a niche they fall in, so it’s important to build an advocacy program that encircles the ideologies of the brand and reflect it through employees. Reebok has harnessed true value through advocacy programs.
It encourages its employees to share photos of themselves on their social feeds wearing Reebok products, along with a fitness-related hashtag to share their passion for fitness.
The hashtag helps the company to track all the posts shared by the employees on their social media handles and find ways how they can make their employee advocacy strategies better.
Reebok uses two systems to create content for employee advocacy. It creates blogs and articles which employees share on their account, and the employees also generate content which further gets approved by the program heads and then goes up on employee accounts.
Adobe noticed that particular employees’ efforts on social media drove more revenue for the company than its branded social networking properties. Hence, the organization decided to opt for an employee advocacy program.
Adobe launched Adobe’s Social Shift Program that educates employees about the best practices, how to create effective social media content, gain engagement and helps them to become brand ambassadors.
More than 30% of Adobe employees have gone through employee advocacy training globally. Employee advocacy also involves rewards that employees get for their work.
Adobe appreciates and promotes social sharing. They frequently hold contests that create a high level of social engagement. The advocacy team also searches for posts and stories which have done well and put it as digital signage to appreciate the employee’s efforts.
Dell has been using social media for increasing its brand presence for a long time. The brand has never left an opportunity to take advantage of any new platform.
So, when employee advocacy came into the picture, Dell became one of the first companies to encourage employees to find and share their own content in addition to what their team provided the employees. All the participants of the Dell advocacy program are called Dell Champions. They carry out all the campaigns and generate buzz for Dell on social media platforms.
Dell recognizes the power employees hold in strengthening the internal and external communication for the brand. The company offers brand and social media certifications for all employees to become subject matter experts. Once employees complete their training, participants can officially become part of the Dell Champions network, along with more than 1,200 other employees across 84 countries.
Just like these brands, many others have switched to employee advocacy to promote their brands on social media platforms. It’s 2020, and its high time that brands shift to something more feasible and profit-driven. Employee advocacy can provide excellent results to all the brands who are looking for social media presence expansion.