What is Employee Advocacy and how to use it for your brand

It is no longer just about good adverts, better promotion techniques, and passive communication with your consumers. The buzzword in the market is Consumer Engagement. The “Engagement Economy” signifies a strong change in the way marketers connect with their customers. The emphasis is on providing a customized and true experience that stems from conviction and assurance.  Most brands today have a social media strategy, so why not include your employees to tell your brand story online? Yes, employees – who are often looked at as, ‘just people who work for the firm’. The question is, how can you bring them into play?  It’s quite simple really —you can utilize this untouched asset through Employee Advocacy.

What is Employee Advocacy?

‘Employee advocacy’ is an employee generated experience for brands with the help of their own online influence. Though social media channels are the first option for employee advocacy, the online influence channels can also include chat, email, discussion forums, boards, etc.

What does employee advocacy do?                            

Employee support lets you encourage your marketing strategy for social media, by authorizing employees to share the brand’s organic content through their personal profiles. This in turn, drives brand cognizance, brand engagement, and generates leads.

Why do you need employee advocacy?

As people are more inclined to pay attention to someone they trust, over a marketing campaign, an employee advocacy plan helps brands improve their content engagement and brand cognizance.

 

How to plan a successful employee advocacy strategy?

Below mentioned are 7 key steps to plan and implement a successful Employee Advocacy Strategy
#1 – Involve the top management:  
The one important thing you need is, support for your Employee Advocacy Program from the top bosses and department heads. Their social activity will not just help spread the message across, but will also add integrity that will flow down throughout rest of the company.

#2. Find Your Goals and Key Performance Indicators:
Just like any other marketing plan for a social media channel that you have in place, you must imagine, what according to you, will be a success for the firm. Get answers to questions like
•    What are you trying to accomplish?
•    Who do you want to influence?
•    What is your Target Group?
•    Would you like to grow brand cognizance?
•    How will you measure your accomplishment?

To make it simple, take a note of the kind of revenue your social media posts are getting for the company. If you are looking to understand the large impact of the program, you can always connect the employee advocacy platform with your consumer engagement or marketing platform and also with the CRM (Customer Relationship Management), to check how your employees collected leads and turned them into income through sales.

#3: Determine the type of content to be shared:
‘Content is King’ and it applies to your official employee advocacy program too. The content that you create must be in line with your goals, be related to your employees’ part in the business, and also with the type of audience you would like to engage.

#4 Galvanise employee brand envoys:
Social media is now a part of our lives, and is more of a need than a want! This means your employees are socially active and could be sharing your content already. So, why not take advantage of that. Set up a group or committee, where your employee participants can work with your marketing team to create and refine the Employee Advocacy Program, while coaching others to become active on social media too. Find out who among your employees actively share the brand’s content, make a list, and then connect with them. Decide who you would consider making your brand envoy and then when you reach out to them, make sure you thank them for the efforts they have put into promote the brand.

#5 Make contribution relaxed and enjoyable:    
If you want the employees to share your brand story on their social media channels, you need to make it easy. Give pre-written messages – all they need to do is copy, paste, and share. So easy! Chalk out a way in which you want employees to share company content. Maybe you could include a company specific #tag to the messages. Also, keep in mind that not all employees are socially active, even if they are very enthusiastic. You could teach them how to share the brand content and train them on a few best practices.

#6 Appreciate their efforts:
Just getting your employees to share your content once is not enough. You need to make sure they keep doing it. The best way to ensure that is, by appreciating their efforts and by highlighting the positive influence they’re creating.

#7 Don’t make it a compulsion:  
Employee advocacy is all about being authentic. Forcing an employee to share your content will not help. Making it compulsory will smother genuineness while making it a bad experience.

Consumer engagement is here to stay and one needs to step into the future with a plan that brings into line, the corporate goals and a tailored client experience. The team at Actuate Business Consulting, a knowledge based management consulting firm in India, believes, that it’s necessary to understand and utilize the aforementioned insights about Employee Advocacy Program, so as to help the brand make a change and also improve online presence to drive optimistic social media returns.

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