Deepen your understanding of employee advocacy and what it can do for your organization to help you achieve your business goals. Review the employee advocacy tools and platforms out there and find the right one for your organization.
This article covers the basics, practical advice on what you can do to improve employee advocacy and answers to key questions on how employee-generated video can enhance your advocacy programmes.
What is employee advocacy?
Put simply, employee advocacy is the promotion of a business by those who work in it. The end goal is to make it easy for your employees to take part in your business’s marketing efforts. This might include:
- Taking part in company activities
- Sharing and promoting company messages on social media
- Promoting the company with their own authentic, personal stories and experiences
Who benefits from employee advocacy?
Everyone! Both businesses and employees benefit from employee advocacy. For businesses, it’s an opportunity to boost brand awareness and increase engagement across all social channels. This also includes generating new leads, traffic, shares and even discovering new potential hires.
Through employee advocacy, your employees are able to enhance and build on their personal career profiles, expand their networking opportunities, develop relationships with like-minded businesses and generally further their own career path within your organization.
Why employee advocacy is important for your employees
By encouraging your employees to become advocates of your business and engage with the promotion of your brand, you’ll both see a number of benefits. These include:
An expanded social media following – it goes without saying that growing social media channels comes with a plethora of benefits, whether it’s personal or business-related. Enabling your employees to grow and build their social media profile can pin them as an expert or authority within the company (and even your industry).
This in turn reflects well on your organization and can even open up networking opportunities; people from your industry will follow your employees and the business for relevant content and grow your online reputation and increase brand awareness.
It makes their job easier – they will get a much better understanding of your company and develop a stronger sense of the company’s goals and purpose.
Why employee advocacy is crucial for your business
Many of the core benefits of employee advocacy for employees can be applied to your business. For example, it helps to enhance brand recognition and awareness, brings employees, managers and CEOs closer together and, of course, it drives more business and leads.
Your employees can be your most valuable asset
Your employees are the ‘mouthpiece’ of your organization. Your customers trust them more than any celebrity endorser. They build personal relationships with clients and won’t be seen as a marketing gimmick. They are real people who want to help their business succeed.
Social channels are putting more emphasis on user-generated content over brand content to keep engagement levels high. Using your employees social media accounts can help boost your reach in a more organic way.
Employees who remain an active part of advocacy programmes are far more likely to stay at their company as well as harbouring a strong belief that their company is more competitive. Additionally, once an employee advocacy programme is implemented, 79% of surveyed businesses reported more online visibility. This is where scale comes in, the more employees you get involved with advocacy training and programmes, the more your business’s online presence grows.
If your employees receive the right training, they will understand the benefits that come with a successful advocacy programme. How you choose to educate your employees to understand the importance and significance of employee advocacy is up to you. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look below for ways to maximise your employee advocacy.
StoryTagger has really helped us empower our colleagues to tell a story in their own way and where they feel comfortable. We’re able to reach people we’ve never been able to before.
Adriana Neves, City & Guilds Group, Internal Channel Strategy Manager
Maximising your employee advocacy
Choosing which route you go down to maximise employee advocacy is an individual business choice. There’s no “one best practice/strategy fits all” and there are a variety of engagement methods you can try before finding one that suits you and your employee’s.
Ways to increase employee advocacy
For both you and your employees to see the benefit of employee advocacy, you should create a specific programme. They need to understand the purpose and what’s in it for them. The more invested your employees are in the programme, the more successful it will be.
Whatever employee advocacy programme you choose to adopt, think about including these five key factors:
1. Transparency in what you’re doing
Being transparent is the foundation of successful employee advocacy and it’s essential to ensure you and your employees are on the same page. Let them know why they’re doing it and what you expect of them. If you need them to write promotional social posts three times a month or simply engage with the content you share, give them official guidance.
2. Celebrating internal achievements
An employee’s first year anniversary, a new client and even the holiday season can be a big deal. Shouting about internal achievements shows the business values its people and gives a flavour of the company culture.
3. Emphasis on the expertise of your employees
If your employees are subject matter experts in any area of the business, use this to reinforce the company’s experience and professionalism. Get your people to write a blog or share a video to explain their thoughts and processes in how they work and how they achieve their goals. It may spread good practice.
4. Encourage your employees to share information and knowledge
If you’ve got a great new article, photo or video to share, use your internal communications to encourage them to promote it. Ask them to send it on to clients, add it to their social accounts etc. Increase the reach of your content wherever you can. If content you’re sharing is engaging, linkable and shareable – your employees will be far more likely to share content on their personal channels.
5. Use storytelling to convey authenticity and build trust
Stories have always been central to how we learn, thrive and connect. They’re an effective way to communicate, conveying the emotions and nuanced detail needed for authentic employee advocacy. Use storytelling at work to help people transform complex experiences into something everyone can relate to. This will help build trust and engage your audience.
Crafting a story can be daunting, particularly if it’s not something your employees are used to. But there are employee video platforms available that provide the right scaffolding to guide people to share the advocacy stories you need. See our list of tools below for more details.
Create impact with stories
- Why people struggle to share stories on digital channels
- Where employee stories are creating impact
- Measuring ROI of employee storytelling
What about an employee advocacy plan?
Creating a strong employee advocacy programme is essential. Enabling your employees to constantly promote your business is a surefire way to gain exposure and increase brand awareness. Some of the best employee advocacy examples we’ve seen have helped attract new business and improve employee retention rates. But what makes a programme successful?
Key factors for a successful employee advocacy plan or programme
Train them well
Training is the first port of call when it comes to helping your employees understand the significance of the part they can play towards boosting brand awareness and organic reach.
Your employees need to be on the same page as you, and training programmes provide the perfect platform for them to understand what’s expected of them and how they can work to achieve these goals.
Learning should be continuous
The most successful advocacy programmes allow employees to learn from everything they do. Intense, four-hour training sessions on employee advocacy aren’t going to provide on point information or offer the experience for continuous learning. It may even deter employees from investing their time and energy into your business.
Instead, training programmes should be designed to be fun, continuous and place a firm focus on how your employees should engage with potential clients or customers across all social networks. Everything from including hashtags on their Instagram posts to creating unique content that’s engaging and shareable can impact the results they drive.
Ensure employee profiles are up to scratch and ready
Your employees social profiles are likely to be the ‘face’ of your employee advocacy programme. Before your employees begin networking and spreading the word about your business, help them with their online profiles so they offer an accurate, positive and engaging reflection of the business.
Simple things like having a professional, authentic employee photograph as well as engaging and informative approved content that helps build their profiles and yours. You might find it’s worth asking clients for reviews of your employees, if possible.
Provide the right employee advocacy tools and platforms to ensure maximum potential
Utilize employee advocacy platforms that enhance the reach and success of your advocacy plan.
Here are some platforms for employee advocacy to consider:
StoryTagger is an ideal employee video platform for workplace advocacy. It uses structured storytelling to help employees share real experiences and insight, turning them into impactful video stories for a breadth of campaigns across your organisation, including employee advocacy. These videos provide valuable content to help promote your brand to other employees and prospective customers.
We’ve outlined and answered a few key questions on how StoryTagger can help your advocacy programme.
Does StoryTagger allow employees to be themselves?
Absolutely! StoryTagger helps everyone share their thoughts, ideas and experiences in short, snappy videos. Being themselves is the best way for viewers to get a sense of company culture.
Even if they lack confidence, StoryTagger has smart planning and recording features as well as questions and prompts to keep those recording on topic.. You don’t even need editing skills to finalise your advocacy video as the StoryTagger platform combines the video snippets into one final ready-to-use video.
Is it GDPR compliant?
100%. StoryTagger has been designed to act as your GDPR management tool for user-generated video. As well as GDPR compliant T&Cs, an extension of your own company policy, you can add extra terms which act as a digital video release form built into the mobile app. Creators feel in control with their own record of consent.
Why can’t we just record videos without the platform?
You can, but StoryTagger uses structured storytelling techniques to guide users to reflect and share short, focused video stories. Our customers tell us that without StoryTagger people struggle to reflect and identify what they should talk about, experience technical issues and often find it difficult to transfer large video files to secure corporate networks.
It’s available on both desktop and mobile so employees can plan and record a story anytime, anywhere that’s convenient for them.
For any further questions, feel free to visit our detailed FAQ page.
Bambu by Sprout Social
If you are looking to develop employee advocacy on social media, Bambu might be a good choice. The employee advocacy platform was developed by Sprout Social, a social media management platform. As such it is very closely tied to social media advocacy. The advocacy tool allows you to develop an employee advocacy program that is tied to your organizational social media channels.
In a nutshell, Bambu lets you curate both internal and external content published by your organization. This content is then distributed to employees to share on their own social media channels. The role of the administrator is there to decide which content should be collated and distributed.
While this type of advocacy is useful for organizations since it raises their profile, it is quite different from the video storytelling approach to advocacy mentioned previously. Social media employee advocacy is usually a one-way process. The content comes from the organization and is distributed by employees. Storytelling video advocacy runs the other way. Content comes from the employees themselves.
To close the loop, the best advocacy plans combine a social media advocacy platform with a storytelling video tool. You enable your employees to produce amazing stories using a tool such as Storytagger, you host them on your website and distribute them via a social media advocacy tool such as Bambu.
Check out their website for more info: Bambu by Sprout Social.
LinkedIn Employee Advocacy Tool
If LinkedIn is your main social media platform to focus on building employee advocacy, then the Linkedin add-on for employee advocacy is worth a look.
LinkedIn used to have a platform called LinkedIn Elevate that was specifically designed for employee advocacy. Recently that functionality has been rolled directly into Linkedin pages. What this means is that a page admin can easily curate organizational content on Linkedin and dispatch it for distribution to all company employees with a Linkedin profile.
As another social media advocacy tool, this is a great way to get your message across on social platforms. The feature allows you to easily mobilise your employees to promote your brand and your best content. It’s worth noting though that as is the case with the previous platform, this tool does not allow you to gather employee content. For best results, you would need to combine it with a tool which allows you to collate content from employees then distribute yourself using your employee network.
Check out this helpful Linkedin advocacy guide to find out more.
Smarp is the employee advocacy platform for the creation, collation and delivery of personalised content to individuals, teams and groups within the organization. Unlike a social media advocacy tool, this platform allows you to collate content from your employees. The content can then be dispatched externally (for example on social media) or internally (for example emails to employees).
Smarp boasts some great ways to share content and some impressive gamification abilities to motivate employees to share content. However, as is the case with many technology platforms that try to be all encompassing, some of its functionality is less developed than others. It doesn’t guide employees to successfully create content – in any format. Employees are left to their own devices to figure out how to make this content the best it could possibly be. This lack of scaffolding leaves employees without the confidence they need to share their thoughts and more likely to put creating the content you need to the bottom of their to-do list.
For more info visit the Smarp website.
Make video storytelling part of your employee advocacy programme
If you’re looking to create an employee advocacy programme that puts your employees at the heart of the story, why not try guided video storytelling? StoryTagger offers a cost-effective, flexible and structured way of creating employee-generated videos through:
- Prompts so you never lose your train of thought
- Topics are split into bitesize sections to help users offer a compelling response within the narrative framework
- Time limits to help keep you on track and on target
- No editing skills required as our app does it all for you
- It’s also fully GDPR compliant
Tap into the influence of peer-created video content. Research shows it to inspire more trust and impact than direct business or brand communications. To see for yourself how our app works, watch our introductory video guide above.
Alternatively, start a book a demo to find out how StoryTagger can help your organization.