As the workers of the world look to unionize, the need for an effective employee advocacy strategy is direr than ever. Many businesses today still question the benefit of an employee advocacy program even when it is key to the success of any business. In this article, we are going to discuss the most impressive benefits of employee advocacy for businesses.
Employee advocacy generates brand advocacy as it increases exposure through mass media and through offline channels like word of mouth and casual discussions.
Employee advocacy offers encouragement and motivation to the employees to become brand ambassadors. It safeguards and represents the best interests of the company both internally and externally.
Why Employee Advocacy is So Important
Employee advocacy ensures the recognition and recommendation of the company’s products and facilities to friends and family members. A successful employee advocacy program ensures active participation of the employees in the organization and in ambassadorship programs.
Following are the benefits of employee advocacy for businesses;
- Free Publicity
- Reach Target Audience
- Direct Customers Engagement
- Greater Networking
- Stronger Employee Engagement
- Employee Loyalty
- Thought Leadership
- Recruit New Talents
- Brand Awareness
- Mission-Focused Marketing
What are the Benefits of Employee Advocacy for Businesses?
Employees are the potential customers of your business and need to be looked after the same way you would handle customers. We explain the benefits of an employee advocacy platform in the following paragraphs:
The presence of the internet and our social media culture is a two-sided thing: on the one hand, it is far easier to get your message out but, on the other, the resulting noise is deafening. Brands and businesses are competing on a 24-hour stage across multiple channels, using a range of different media.
In this tough competition, employee advocacy can be your friend.
Every employee is a potential brand advocate and marketing channel. If they post something positive and productive on social media regarding the brand, then their correspondence and connections will read, respect, trust and appreciate their opinions and perspectives.
It’s very difficult for brands to earn this level of trust with their direct followers and many of them spend millions paying media and PR agencies to run campaigns to try and gain this level of engagement.
Employees that are truly engaged with the business will naturally talk about their services, products, and daily life on social platforms, reinforcing trust through transparency and openness.
When you provide the links and copy that can be used for social media, employees involved can either use it as-is and save time or add a personal touch if they prefer to be more active on social with their own voice. Neither takes that much time, making it easy for someone to post.
The bottom line is that earned media marketing is increasingly seen as a reliable source of growth. Still largely described as ‘free publicity largely from promotional efforts’, earned media will also be attributable to employee advocacy.
Reach Target Audience
Creating greater engagement and communication is an ultimate result of an advocacy program. Employees need to be invested in the company’s success before they cooperate and willing to become advocates.
When an organization communicates in an organized way about the mission and goals, employees are more likely to be engaged on the job – and then become advocates which leads to achieving the goal and target.
Nothing creates greater brand equity and drives a rapid increase in growth more than happy and satisfied customers. When employees share stories and personal experiences of how the company is helping and cooperating customers meet their goals, potential clients can envision themselves having similar success. A sound content strategy goes a long way.
Direct Customer Engagement
Employee Engagement is the strength of the mental and emotional connection employees feel toward their place of work.
Highly engaged organizations don’t have to call on mechanisms like peer pressure, termination, or other high-stress behaviors to boost up the employees. Instead, these organizations use practices like employee recognition, social selling, one-on-one or face-to-face meetings, and 360 feedback to drive performance.
Without bosses barking threats at them or ordering them, employees are happier, feel safe, and relaxed which leads to the saving of employers’ money.
The American Psychological Association estimates that more than $500 billion is lost every year due to workplace stress.
The most prominent challenge to run this program is to get employees and executives in the same boat. The smooth running of the program will require the higher authorities to back the program. They have to give their approval so that necessary investments can be made.
Another significant problem to run the program is that the managers may not know how to deal with it. Proper training and sessions require an immense amount of time that can delay the execution of plans.
Advertising and promoting brand initiatives and engaging with other competitors in their industry enable your own employees to develop a personal brand for themselves and become thought leaders of tomorrow.
By being more active and available on social media and sharing their industry knowledge and visions, companies create opportunities for workers to develop a reputation for being credible, authoritative and authentic sources of information.
Curating content for them through your employee advocacy program will empower them to more easily share it online. Posting on social media naturally creates networking opportunities. The more you interact with others, the more connected they feel to you.
Eventually, they can grow to become micro-influencers in their area of expertise for job seekers. In the meantime, there are other personal benefits for employees if they take part in greater networking and an employee advocacy program.
According to a research report from Hinge Marketing, 87.2% of employees surveyed said employee advocacy expanded their professional network, while 76% said it helps them keep up with industry trends.
There are many benefits of employee engagement for both your brand and its employees. Employee advocacy tools, such as GaggleAMP, can help brands go about this every day and hit their marketing goals.
Stronger Employee Engagement
Satisfied and engaged employees not only offer advocacy, but they’re also less likely to apply for employment elsewhere.
Retaining the talent that brands have invested time and money in recruiting, will strengthen the expertise retained within the business as well as improve professional relationships between employees. A weekly company newsletter goes a long way in creating stronger employee engagement.
Experienced staff will strengthen and guide any mentoring program that a business conducts and make sure that knowledge is conveyed and understood to new employees
Advocate employees, happy in their roles and believers in the company message and culture, are less likely to leave, reducing the need to hire replacements.
The active participation of employees is another significant barricade of this program. Managers must first make their employees aware of the situation. If the employees join in then the growth curve of the program increases with time
Trust becomes essential in today’s business and people trust only family, friends, and peers at the time of purchasing. Your employees have a great marketing potential to raise content that increases brand awareness of your organization online.
According to a recent survey by Hinge Research Institute and Social Media Today, organizations with employee advocacy programs have seen increased brand visibility, improved brand recognition, quality, and better brand loyalty. Go ahead and unlock employees’ brand potential to boost your social brand reach in real-time.
In brief, educate the importance of employee advocacy programs and their benefits to your employee brand advocates. It is a win-win situation for both employees and organizations to build their personal interests.
Showing and letting your employees know that you value their perspectives and will support their right to comment shows trust and transparency, not command and control, and the benefits are many and varied.
Boosting your employee engagement levels at your organization is all about improving company culture, making sure your employees feel valued and connected to your brand, and helping them feel included.
One way to cover all these bases is by incorporating an employee advocacy program in your workplace. A successful program allows your employees to feel included, and acknowledged for their contributions and fosters stronger communications. And, it gives you some social media warriors on your side.
The best time to launch a successful employee program is when you have something appealing and eye-catching to talk about, such as a major event, an award, or a new development in your industry.
Employees can become thought leaders by discussing company news quite naturally on their social media accounts, making employee advocacy part of their brand. Each person will have their own take on the newsworthy items going on in your company, which means there will be plenty to talk about online.
Everyone should be on board with the idea that they can participate in the employee advocacy program. All employees, from executive managers to administrative staff and those who work on the lower grounds, should be offered training on the company’s employee advocacy program.
The program is something everyone has the potential and right to contribute to, and all voices are welcome which will indicate leadership qualities.
Someone who is relatively silent and reserved while on the job may be quite active online and have plenty to share with their online followers. Even someone who is new to social media has the potential to have a post go viral because of its content.
Your employees do not have to be experts in social media to start participating. Through thoughtful leadership and strategies, they can make and implement their visions.
Recruit New Talents
Satisfied and engaged employees are more likely to go out of their way to advocate for your organization. As a talent-acquiring professional, you have more control over this than you may think. Help your teams attract and hire people who would be able to adapt to the environment.
Senior employees by sharing their stories through your employer branding channels. Recognize those generating employee referrals.
Ask for employee feedback on your recruitment process—especially from new hires—and implement changes. Each of these things can help build a satisfied and engaged workforce that may advocate for others to come work at your organization.
Work very closely with this group to build and refine your program to achieve the best and most appealing recruiting results. Look for things like decreased time to fill, improved quality of hire, lower cost per hire, and greater recruiting productivity. Then share those results to get the rest of your organization on board.
Educate employees on the benefits for them, like increasing their visibility and credibility as subject matter experts. But no one likes being paid only in exposure, right?
Tangible incentives like gift cards or prizes can help employees feel like they have a stake in the program.
The scale of organic reach from employee advocate posts elevates brand awareness and recognition far beyond what can be achieved by the company’s social profiles alone.
The more times someone sees your brand, shared from a trusted peer, the more recognizable your brand is and it will be something they think of immediately when needed.
Increased reach and engagement are not the only employee advocacy benefits for businesses and brands. When brand content is shared by peers, the people reached by that content see it connected to an authentic and trusted human being, rather than an unreliable and faceless brand.
As more and more people use social media as search engines to find information about the companies they’re considering doing business with, the human element of social media has become essential too.
When employees share company visions, they’re connecting themselves to the content and putting a face and authentic human sentiment to the content.
This kind of implicit trust extends to employee advocacy posts too, as they are from real people who are known to the audience.
The media you include should also be optimized and taken care of by including their titles, alt tags, and keywords.
Beyond organic reach, there are also challenges to getting your content out via traditional marketing techniques like email. The email addresses of followers and customers you’ve collected are subject to laws that regulate how you can email market to them.
In addition, spam settings and double opt-ins also hurt your chances of recipients seeing the content, which means it’s not always the most effective tool for dissemination.
Content marketing is supposed to be a budget-friendly, low-cost marketing technique, so it doesn’t make too much sense to spend a lot of money marketing it, especially if that money comes from a budget that could be used for other targeted paid campaigns.
Finally, content marketing efforts can be promoted through PPC ads and content syndication. However smaller ad budgets can limit much of the exposure your content would receive.
How to Encourage Employee Advocacy
To reap the benefits of employee advocacy for businesses, you need to know how to encourage your employees for advocacy first. Here are some useful tips.
Deciding Advocacy Goals
In order to ensure that your team is advocating your company’s brand, it is vital to ensure that they know how to present it to the world.
By comparing the differences between the actual brand guidelines and strategies and employees’ perceptions and personal thinking, you can clarify and better define the brand and communicate this defined brand to employee advocates before they become active advocates.
Personalizing Company’s Content
Another way to encourage them is by diversifying company content. Your employees have the freedom and liberty to either share or not share the content you are putting out, and their choice will depend on how relevant and up to the mark your content is to their lives.
Therefore, a good way to encourage social media sharing would be to switch up the topics and style of content your company makes to reflect the many different interests your employees (and their respective audiences) may have.
Combining Work and Fun
On top of encouraging workers to share company-related content and its sole motives, it’s just as important to show that your company, be it a startup or corporate, isn’t all work and no fun at all. Maybe your office is cat-friendly or maybe you have a company basketball club that employees love being a part of.
Fun, unconventional office policies will encourage employees to share their work environment with their following. This not only promotes your brand and company but attracts the best talent.
Every company is different and therefore the tools and strategies employees need to succeed as advocates are different as well. For example, in industries such as finance, there are high regulations on what information is promoted and how it is promoted to the general public.
If employees at a financial institution want to serve as advocates for their company, they need to know the rules and regulations on what they can and cannot say
Even without industry restrictions, your company may have its own policies. It’s imperative and vital that your team is familiar with these rules and terms before they begin serving as advocates.
Your employees can be the most valuable asset for your branding if you decide to encourage well-organized employee advocacy. The promotion is organic, and you get to put out an authentic message in front of your target audience. This way organizations can reduce their marketing budget with the program.
With relevant content sharing, there are higher chances of acquiring a top candidate for the company. You should keep in mind that your audience trusts the employees more than the brand. It makes recruitment easy and without creating a fuss. Let us know if you have some other benefits of employee advocacy for businesses in your mind!