What brand isn’t looking to increase its visibility?
With every company competing for mindshare – while audiences are more distracted and pulled in more directions than ever – it’s a constant battle to earn the attention of those you want to stay in front of.
Beyond the traditional methods of building awareness – search, social, public relations, events, content marketing – what can a brand do to capture attention and win over its audiences?
Companies that implement employee advocacy programs see a boost in both visibility and awareness.
Employee advocacy involves the promotion of an organization by its workers. Employees who speak favorably about their employer can generate positive awareness both online and off. This creates affirmative buzz about an organization, resulting in numerous benefits for both the employees and the organization. Let’s take a look at how this works.
Why employee advocates?
When a brand views its employees as influencers, it can tap into the power of these advocates – which are right under their roof. Leveraging employees to spread the word can be a compelling way to get people to take notice.
Increased visibility is the top benefit companies with employee advocacy programs see. Seventy-nine percent report increased visibility; 65% report increased brand recognition.
With influencer campaign spending on the rise – 62% of those surveyed said they planned to increase their influencer marketing budget – this form of marketing remains popular.
However, when brands pay influencers, one drawback is that they must disclose that they are, in fact, paid. This can hurt the company’s efforts as far as establishing trust.
When internal employee influencers are used instead, not only do they come across as more credible, but no disclosure is needed.
And, most employees are already using social media – 98%, according to one study – and many, up to half, already post about their employer.
Employees spread the word
Ready to start your own employee advocacy program? Here are some guidelines to help you achieve buy-in to launch – and grow – one:
- Leverage LinkedIn: Most employees have a LinkedIn profile, though some may never post there. Create copy for them to post – if they choose – that talks about a company initiative or other news you want to share. By writing the post, you make it easy for them to share it.
- Use an employee advocacy tool: The HR team can leverage the skills and knowledge of employees with a tool that allows them to suggest links or interesting articles that could be shared and gives them the opportunity to contribute ideas for user-generated content. This could be helpful for blog posts and other content. Being able to contribute boosts employee morale and fosters a closer connection between employees and HR.
- Reward employees for sharing through gamification: Reward those workers who suggest articles or share content by creating a leaderboard to encourage friendly competition. Give gift cards or other incentives to those who earn the most points or badges.
- Curate content through your corporate intranet to make it easy: By using a corporate intranet to collect content, you can make it easy for employees to share. Some intranet tools allow you to create a space where content is gathered that can be shared on social media with one click.
- Provide guidance: Look to the experts on your marketing team to help guide employees on points such as hashtags to include, times of day to post, who should be tagged and how often to post. Your social media team can also give guidance on what not to post.
- Encourage ideas: Sharing ideas for content can be intimidating. Be sure to let your employees know that the advocacy platform is open to everyone.
- Spread the word: Present the program to departments and teams through any available channels or forums. Talk through what you want them to do and how you want them to do it. Then, explain the benefits and rewards not only to the company but to them, as well. Make sure to emphasize there’s something in it for them beyond benefitting your brand.
- Check in for feedback: Once the program is up and running, be sure to check in to see what’s working – and what may need to be tweaked.
An employee advocacy program is something that needs to be nurtured to be successful. Of course, listening to the employees’ input on making it succeed goes a long way toward its adoption and longevity.
Employee advocacy programs leverage your most important influencers – your employees – to help you all thrive.