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How social media employee advocacy can be truly transformative

[fa icon="calendar"] 08/05/17 11:33 / by Nigel

Nigel

It’s quantifiably more powerful for an employee to share a message than a company itself: that’s shown.

Because, of course, people listen to other people: we’re not so interested in brands telling us they’re great.

Indeed, as reported in this LinkedIn guide, ‘according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, people are 3x more likely to trust company information shared by an employee than that shared by a CEO’.

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It makes sense, right?

And ‘the click-through rate (CTR) on a piece of content is 2x higher when shared by an employee versus when shared by the company itself’.

So, getting your employees talking about you glowingly on social media is clearly in your interests.

But there’s more to the power of employee advocacy even than that.

Real engagement

In order for employees to want to do this and continue wanting to – not just fizzle out after an initial burst of enthusiasm – they need to be genuinely engaged with something they think is special.

This ups the ante all round – but in a positive way.

Deciding to take employee advocacy seriously – which, anyway, you really need to, at this point in social history – can have a transformative effect way beyond marketing.

It will benefit your company’s marketing – that’s a given.

But other enormous knock-on benefits are also real and potentially game changing.

It’s a golden opportunity to get employees (social media savvy ones to start with) really involved in a project they buy into, help shape and care about.

A project that could prove transformative for your company’s position and how it’s seen in the wider world.

A real say

One key is letting employees have a real say in how the programme evolves, and what content is shared.

Let them make a personal investment.

The commitment will prove two way:

  • It will increase employee engagement within your business
  • It will increase genuine employee investment, involvement, commitment
  • And it will improve your chances of retaining and attracting top notch new employees

If you believe a business is its people, what could matter more for your long-term prospects?

Authenticity

Employee advocacy can sit at the heart of your company.

Those that bury their heads in the sand about it and ignore employee advocacy will be quickly outstripped by those competitors who aren’t afraid to take on the mantle.

It’s a must-have. All round. That needn’t even take that much effort.

But what does matter is that your commitment is genuine. Being authentic is key and when employees see that they are much more likely to join your programme.

How to do it

Mark Burgess, President and Founder, Blue Focus Marketing and co-author of The Social Employee, tells the Linkedin guide: ‘the biggest change we’ve seen is the thirst for the how’.

So how do you go about launching an employee advocacy programme?

Well, for a start, recognise the advantages you hold.

Your employees are already known to you. Clearly you have their contact details! And there are countless opportunities and routes for you to reach out to them.

It’s probably best to start with a small group – even one key internal champion to begin with. And you could start on one site, or in one department, depending on the scale of your operation.

Get one or a small number onboard and enthusiastic. They can spread the word – and will. It’s the best way.

What’s important is to start, and in the right spirit.

And with the right technology. Employee advocacy software such as Qubist allows brands to manage, measure, analyse and report upon employee advocate activity and scale it quickly and easily. Now, it’s easy to see how advocacy is driving awareness, leads and sales.

Plus, the wonderful thing is it’s not all – indeed, critically, must not be – about selling your brand or products or services.

Far from it.

Varied content

Employee advocacy is an infectious way of celebrating the real you: the business, yes, but also your broader interests and values – any charity contribution, for instance, or the interests or successes of individual employees.

The more of this you do, the more you spread the impression that great people work for you. And the more this attracts great people.

The content can – and must – be varied, and genuinely reflect the values, ambition and cultural life of the company.

‘The goal is to create engagement – a rich, two-way dialogue that is very different from traditional, push-based branding efforts’ is how Mark Burgess puts it.

Always genuine

It must be authentic – people sense instinctively if it’s not, and actually you’re trying to manipulate them.

‘Start thinking differently about your content and consider what would be interesting for your employees/colleagues to share.’

That’s advice from Sarah Goodall, Founder of Tribal Impact: Creating Social Businesses Via Employee Advocacy & Content Marketing, again in the Linkedin guide.

‘The goal is still to reach and engage decision-makers, but you need to think about doing that from a different angle.’

This is good: it encourages authenticity all round which can only anyway improve the working environment.

And it will make your business look better – or actively show (without showing off) what’s already great about it.

Everyone benefits – your brand, your staff and your future prospects.

Don’t wait. Take the ultimate test – invite the people who know you best to advocate for you. You’ll be amazed at how the programme, properly organised and delivered, pays back.

Interested to know more?

If you’d like to find out more, get in touch today, request a Qubist demo or download one of our free white papers.

Related stories:

The 500 Club: How an Army of Advocates is Transforming the ICAEW

1000 Advocates in 100 Days

Why Including Brand Fans in Your Next Big Event Might Just Make You Famous

How Iceland Foods is Transforming Retail Marketing Through Advocacy

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Topics: advocate marketing, social media brand advocacy, employee advocacy, employee engagement, war on talent, social media employee advocacy, HR software, human capital, Personal development, Workforce, HR, social business, employee benefits

Nigel

Written by Nigel

CMO of Qube Media, writer, dog owner, father and smirker.

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