How to Grow Your Business Through Employee Advocacy
Are you using employee advocacy to empower your employees to become the best brand ambassadors your company has ever seen? Don’t overlook the best assets readily available to you.
We’re living in the age of the empowered customer.
Before your clients come to you, they can learn everything they need to know about your business online, through testimonials, reviews, and even social media.
When it comes to improving brand reputation, most companies turn to concepts like user-generated content and consumer reviews. While these forms of social proof are very valuable, you could be overlooking some of the most important influencers in your network – your employees.
Employee advocacy is the process of giving your staff a way of sharing valuable thoughts and opinions about your company. Since your employees already know everything there is to know about your organization; there’s no better group of people capable of acting as ambassadors for your company. All you need to do is figure out how you can empower your experts through the right employee advocacy strategy.
1. Start by Concentrating on Culture
A good company culture is crucial to a successful employee advocacy campaign. If you want your staff to speak on behalf of your business (and say the right things), you need them to love working for you. According to one study, 18% of employees would be more likely to go above and beyond for a company if they enjoyed the culture within their workplace.
Work on building a business environment where your staff feels happy, supported, and comfortable communicating about how they feel. This means solving employee issues as quickly as possible, giving your team members plenty of opportunities to grow, and providing them with plenty of rewards and recognition. If you can create a place where your employees feel happy every day, then they’ll be more likely to share that happiness with others through employee advocacy.
2. Let your Employees Know What’s in It for Them
Even if your staff members love your brand, they might not want to jump into an employee advocacy program straight away if that means spending more hours at work or working harder for the same wages. To improve adoption, you’ll need to show your team that there’s something in it for them. For instance:
- Promote people with a good presence on social media: Demonstrate how good performance in employee advocacy strategies can lead to new opportunities in the workplace.
- Recognize good work: 72% of companies say that recognition for high performance positively impacts employee engagement. Celebrate the people who adopt your employee advocacy strategies and deliver great results.
- Offer incentives: Ask your employees what kind of incentives they’d like to see coming from your advocacy campaigns. For instance, would they like the chance to work from home on certain days? Free lunches? A subscription to a local gym?
3. Set Goals for your Employee Advocacy Programs
As with most things in digital and social media marketing, the only way that you can properly keep track of your campaigns is by setting up goals to track. The more you know about what you’re trying to accomplish online, the easier it will be for your employees to help you reach your targets. For instance, if your goal is to improve awareness about your product, you can ask your employees to post more about what you sell and how it can help your customers.
Other goals you might set for your campaigns include:
- Improving organic reach (branded content is distributed 24 times more often when distributed by employees)
- Increasing traffic from social media to your website
- Expanding your demographic and reaching new customers
4. Appoint Advocacy Leaders
It won’t always be easy to drive adoption among your employee advocacy campaigns. However, if you’re having trouble getting your staff involved, a good way to prompt action is by appointing a leader, or a team of leaders for your ambassadors. Look for someone who already has a strong social presence or a good understanding of how social media works.
You can also try a tiered approach to rolling out your social media advocacy strategies. For instance, it might be helpful to ask your customer-facing staff to try out employee advocacy first, as they’ll be the people most likely to feel comfortable communicating with your audience. Once you’ve worked through the bumps in the road with that first group, you can start asking other people on your team to get involved.
5. Implement Sharing Guidelines
When you launch a social media advocacy program, you need to find the right balance between allowing your team to share their own natural voice and stopping them from saying anything that might harm your business reputation. While you can’t control everything someone says about you online, you can put guidelines in place for your advocates that keep your reputation in check.
Think about what you would want someone to see when they visit your branded social pages or the profiles of your employees. Do you need to convey a certain sense of humor? Do you want your customers to constantly see evidence of your value? Write a list of guidelines for your employees to follow but try not to be too restrictive.
6. Keep Employees Happy
Happier employees share more positive messages about your business. When your staff feel satisfied with their work environment, they’ll naturally want to talk about their experiences on social media, and that makes it easier for you to implement a natural advocacy campaign that doesn’t seem forced, or scripted. Of course, keeping employees satisfied can take some work. A few ways to improve happiness levels include:
- Working with a PEO company: The right PEO service can help with everything from implementing health insurance strategies, to delivering the benefits that your employees want most from your company. Some PEO companies can even offer exclusive discounts on the things that your employees use every day such as mobile phones.
- Encouraging open communication: Ask your employees to provide feedback about your workplace, including the things they like and dislike. For instance, if your staff feels like they would be more productive at home, you could offer them remote work days, in exchange for them spending more time on your advocacy campaigns.
- Improving company culture: Work on building a company culture where everyone in your team feels support and respected. A comfortable work environment can reduce feelings of stress in your workplace.
7. Measure Metrics and Track Your Success
The goals you set when you first began to plan your employee advocacy campaigns will help you to figure out what kind of metrics you need to track on the path to success. Tracking your results not only helps you to make sure that you’re using your budget and resources appropriately, but it also gives you something to show buyers, CEOs, and leaders who want to see evidence of your success.
The metrics you choose to measure will depend on your unique business targets, but you might keep an eye on:
- The top contributors in your employee advocacy campaign – so you know who to reward and who to appoint to leadership positions.
- How many people are engaging with your posts- are your customers clicking on your URLs, retweeting posts and sharing content?
- Your organic reach: What kind of customers are your team reaching the most, where are you getting the best results?
- Traffic: Are your employee advocacy efforts driving traffic to your website, and how much of those leads are converting into sales?
Remember to Share the Results of Your Campaigns
Once your employee advocacy strategy is successfully up and running, it’s important to make sure that you can showcase your results to leaders, shareholders, and even your invested employees. Tracking and communicating the wins from your employee advocacy campaigns will help to motivate your staff and ensure that the C-Suite understands the ROI of your advocacy efforts.