Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Your staff is one big (non-nefarious) social media sleeper cell.
By that, we mean, that the employees at most companies are ready-and-wiling to amplify the messages of their employer.
Studies show that only around 1% of LinkedIn’s 760 million professionals create content. Chances are that people are interested in being more active on professional networks like LinkedIn, but they lack guidance and tools.
Social Media Employee Advocacy programs aim to leverage employees willingness to help by engaging and equipping them to do just that.
You’re probably asking yourself, “Employee Advocacy Program, that’s a mouthful. What is it?”
A social media employee advocacy program provides the tools and autonomy for individuals within your company to help spread important company news, content, and thought leadership versus relying solely on the company profile to pull all the weight.
The Power of Social Media
Time and time again, it’s been found that people individuals more than faceless companies.
According to a study conducted by LinkedIn, 92% of B2B buyers are more willing to engage with a sales professional known as an “industry thought leader.” While this statistic refers to ‘social selling’ trends, the same concept can be applied to content on social media platforms for lead retrieval and delivery. If this isn’t convincing enough, check out the latest BlueStar Nation article covering the importance of LinkedIn’s Influencers.
We’ve come up with five compelling reasons that you should consider implementing a social media employee advocacy program:
1. Greater Reach for Your Messages
According to a study conducted by the Marketing Advisory Network, company messages have 561% (yep, you read that right) further reach when shared by employees than the SAME messages transmitted by a brand’s social media channel. Building off that finding, another research firm has found that employee-generated content receives 8x more engagement than content shared by brand channels. Every company’s experience with a program like this will generate different results, but the trends regarding the desire to consume content from an influentially credible messenger are similar.
2. Deeper Connections for Your Company
All companies should encourage employees to feel confident to post engaging social content. Not only will their thoughts and words reflect positively on their place of business, but those practices will also position them as leaders in their given channel. Stronger connections for employees could result in more genuine relationships and leads. Employee Advocacy is just a deeper dive into professional networking at this rate.
3. Improved Recruitment and Content Downloads
It’s no secret, and nothing new, that social media is the communicator of now and likely the future as it continues to evolve in its structural makeup—the whole directive of Employee Adv. Programs seek to assign employees as ‘leaders of content’ driving promotional responses to eBooks and videos and downloadable content formerly promoted by the corporate account. If enough employees are spreading the good word on the said content piece, organic word-of-mouth alone is enough to get audience members talking and increase their views/clicks as well.
4. Decreased Marketing / Paid Promotional Costs
Most Employee Advocacy programs work their magic for organic social posts, saving marketing teams a significant chunk of funds that would initially be allocated to paid boosts and campaigns. Since participants are “repurposing” corporate content into bite-sized and personalized content for their follower pool, it’s reaching a more extensive collection of users, similar to targeted ads affiliated with paid promotional campaigns.
Most employee advocacy platforms should be able to show you an overview of the average dollars saved year over year, which is always a great motivator to bring to your executive board.
5. Perception of a responsive, cohesive team
Acquiring a uniformly consistent brand voice for your corporate entity is easy to solidify. However, syncing a group of employees to convey a similar tone and voice while adding their personalities to the lineup is so desirable. It depends on any given workforce, but not all employees are so freely willing to hop on social media and pen a post for mass consumption; it’s a little daunting. However, when positive energy can be created, collaborated, and contributed to an objective meant to project and master a company’s social media presence — it’s a job well done with a dependable team.
So, What’s Next?
Now that you’re better educated on the idea of social media employee advocacy and better understand the benefits, we wanted to include some timely tips for getting started from square one to set your team up for the best odds.
You’ll want to document goals and KPIs.
Examples of goals could be as follows:
- Grow follower count on corporate account by 20 percent
- Improve posting frequency and confidence for participating employees
- Encourage participants to curate independently written responses for shared corporate content
- And on and on… you get the point.
Next, you’ll want to pinpoint your employee advocacy leaders and participants. Who from your team has the most unique and pivotal reach from your staff that would help to cultivate thought-provoking conversations and reactionary responses to corporately-published content? Public-facing coworkers, such as CEOS, CFOs, and various VPs and Directors, would make perfect candidates for social media responders.
Now we’re migrating into a territory that requires the integration of third-party social media apps, and a slew of them are circulating throughout this industry. If there’s not much room for the budget on your team, these tasks can be coordinated over your productivity platform (Slack, Webex, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.) or Google Sheets/Docs.
If your participants aren’t comfortable writing responses, providing pre-written messages they can choose from can help boost their confidence around this activity. It might be a good idea to elect a program manager to oversee and encourage such engagement opportunities, incentivizing participants where necessary and sending weekly analytics updates to the decision makers of your company and the participating team members.
After a few weeks of successfully assigning and receiving content posts from your colleagues, managing staff will better understand who is excelling in this strategy and who has been stuck in the dust, so to speak. To help with organizational matters, one could assign high-performers to particular groups to ensure further accountability.
In conclusion, social media is forever evolving. Why get stuck behind when you could encourage your employees to build better versions of themselves while driving increased traffic to your corporate social media account for next to nothing? It’s a no-brainer.