Employee Advocacy: The (Often) Unsung Hero of Social Media

Tricia Goss / Social Media

Your employees are the lifeblood of your organization, and some of the biggest assets you have when it comes to humanizing your brand and expanding your organic reach online. That’s why when you’re looking to maximize returns on your social media marketing, your employees should be one of the first groups you look to.

But don’t just take my word for it. Research from IBM shows that leads developed through employee social marketing convert seven times more frequently than others. Furthermore, 41% of consumers believe conversations with company employees are the most credible specialist sources of information.

41% of consumers believe conversations with company employees are the most credible specialist sources of information.Click To Tweet

It’s not surprising then that an increasing number of organizations have developed employee advocacy programs and given said programs high priority.

But why does employee advocacy work?

One of the main reasons (as highlighted above) is because consumers see your employees as trusted, credible sources of information. At the end of the day, they (usually) have no agenda and tell authentic, engaging stories. That’s why employee advocacy is so powerful on social media.

It’s one thing having a company telling you how well it treats its employees and how many opportunities it affords them, but it’s quite another when you hear the same straight from the horse’s (employee’s) mouth. It holds much more weight, and so people are more likely to take notice of it.

Moreover, your employees are the people who are inevitably working with, developing and selling your products and services, so it makes perfect sense that they would be the best people to champion them online, too.

However, employee advocacy is much more than your staff simply sharing one of your brand’s social media posts. Unless they add their own commentary, one that speaks on a personal level about why they think what you’re doing is great, the impact will be lost.

That’s why if you do choose to implement and encourage an employee advocacy program, you need to do so in a way that encourages them to be natural, but which also sees them aligning what they say with your corporate voice.

It’s all about them understanding your brand’s value proposition and being able to articulate that in a manner which drives engagement on social channels.

Encouraging employee advocacy could be as simple as giving some of your employees the time and scope needed to produce a blog post on a regular basis about something your organization knows customers and prospects will find interesting. This content doesn’t necessarily need to be focused on generating sales – in fact, it’s better if it doesn’t.

Initiatives like this are designed to expand your organic reach. They work because the person who wrote the content is very likely to share it with their own followers, colleagues, friends and family. As we keep hearing (and witnessing), organic reach on social – especially Facebook – is falling as the social networks look to increase their revenue through paid ads.

As a final thought, is your CEO (or equivalent) active on social media? If not, maybe they should be. Social channels are a great place for your senior leaders to establish themselves as thought leaders.

Moreover, a socially active CEO can help to make a brand seem more honest and trustworthy, according to BRANDfog’s 2016 Social Media Survey, which found that 75% of respondents believe this.