March 28, 2016

Unlock the secrets of employee advocacy

We recently ran a webcast with our friends MarketingProfs called Unlocking the Secrets of Employee Advocacy in which expert Julio Viskovich spilled the beans on how to make employees advocates for your brand. He also shares some tips on how to leverage your employee’s social media networks and the advocacy program to help drive the organic growth of your content marketing initiatives. If you missed it, fear not, we’ve got you covered. Here are the things you need to know.

Firstly, what is employee advocacy?

Your employees work for you, so you need to put a little work into them. The best way to do this is to channel passion in your employees so they feel empowered to become brand advocates. ‘Activating’ and engaging your employees affects all tiers of your business, from improved customer service to increased productivity—all joining forces to produce amazing results in your organization. But employee advocacy programs have some additional unexpected benefits that can boost your marketing strategy. We promised there would be secrets to unlock, didn’t we?

Tap into the employee (social) network

Your employees have social media profiles. You know this because you’ve caught one too many of them checking their Facebook when they should have been finishing that proposal. Instead of getting mad, you could actually harness your employee’s social media presence to promote your brand. If you add up the number of social media followers your employees have across their accounts and multiply those by the number of employees, you’ll see the kind of significant potential impressions from employee advocates. By creating an employee advocacy program, your employees will feel more inclined to share marketable content on their social media channels, leading to increased organic impressions to your content.

Rolling it out

Rolling out the employee advocacy program through employee social media networks is the first step towards actionable results on your new marketing campaign. But how do you communicate the program to your employees? Julio thinks this should be the core focus of your employee advocacy program. Many successful employee-led content initiatives programs have been rolled out by HR and Marketing departments as a part of a larger professional development program. This will present the program as advantageous and beneficial to the employees.

With both HR and Marketing working in unison, begin with a grassroots campaign led by your most ‘social’ employees, which will have a bubble-up effect to generate excitement amongst employees. Marketing teams should help employee participants deliver consistent messaging through the shared content—and it may even establish some employees as thought leaders in their online networks. Julio also notes to ensure a nice balance between educational content and promotional content, which will help grow your following while not coming across as hard-sellers to your customers.

Reaping the benefits

Julio shared a recent case study he worked on with Microsoft’s partner network to help rollout their first employee advocacy program. The company found that it had 1256 unique social media accounts, with over 222k total connections across popular social media platforms. This reach drove the cost-per-thousand impressions down to $.14 from $8 on average. That’s no small feat! While this will drive your costs and budgets down, it will also boost employee satisfaction, brand awareness, and lead generation. A true win-win scenario.

Pitching the program

But (there’s always a but) you can’t pitch this program to higher-ups on cost savings alone. The real value, according to Julio, comes from the fact that the program will scale past the marketing division into various departments—tearing down the silos. Before you seek the executive buy-in for a program like this, establish a team from different departments to share best practices and give input across the board. Be sure to include some higher ups from HR and Marketing in this group so they can provide influence over the implementation.

The takeaway

Social media networks are transforming business and marketing as we know it. Fostering the passion in your employees can create boundless opportunities for communicating your brand’s offering, whether by sharing original content on Facebook, or by just simply posting about what a great job they have. After all, studies show that people are more likely to engage with content shared by people as opposed to corporate messaging. So, content advocated by employees who feel advocated by their employers who advocate…well, you get what we mean. Advocate!
Interested in more info? Watch the webinar here:

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