Employee advocacy and what it means for employees and businesses

by | Nov 9, 2020 | Articles

 

What is employee advocacy?

Put simply, employee advocacy is the promotion of a business by those who work in it. The end goal of employee advocacy is to make it easy for your employees to take part in your business’s marketing efforts. They can achieve this through several means, including:

      • Taking part in company activities
      • Sharing and promoting company messages on social media
      • Promoting the company with their own authentic, personal stories and experiences

 

How to increase employee advocacy

Who benefits from employee advocacy?

Both businesses and employees benefit from employee advocacy. For businesses, employee advocacy is 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.

Employees are able to enhance and build on their personal career profiles online, expand their networking opportunities, develop relationships with like-minded businesses and generally further their own career path.

 

Why employee advocacy is important for your employees

There are a number of benefits employees will experience once they are engaged in promoting your brand. These include:

Expanding their social media following – it goes without saying that growing your individual social media channel(s) comes with a plethora of benefits, whether it’s personal or business-related. Growing and building your social media profile can pin you as an expert or authority within your company and even your industry. This may open up networking partnerships that will be rewarded favourably by your business. The people that follow you will likely be in the same industry, and the more relevant content you provide them, the more your online reputation will grow.

It makes their job easier – by learning what your company is trying to promote, you will develop a stronger understanding of the company’s goals and purpose. As you develop a bigger following, you will also be able to measure how your posts are performing and the number of leads you have introduced. This translates into more partnerships and more revenue for the business.

However, in order for employees to truly see the benefit of being part of a 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.

Below, we’ve outlined a few of the key factors that need to be addressed to achieve a successful employee advocacy plan or programme.

 
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

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Train them on how to be successful

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 your training programme provides the perfect platform for them to understand what’s expected of them and how they can work to achieve these goals.

What makes a good training programme?

The most successful training programmes are the ones that are continuous. For example, an intense, four-hour training session on employee advocacy is not going to provide enough information or experience on the concept. Additionally, it may even deter employees from wanting to invest their time and energy into it.

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

Before your employees begin networking and spreading the word about your business, it’s essential that their online profiles offer an accurate, positive and engaging reflection of the business. It’s the simple things, such as having a professional, authentic photograph of the employee, (as well as additional photos for background images etc) and writing engaging and informative approved content to build their profile blurb. You could even ask clients for reviews of your employees, if possible.

Support employee engagement with StoryTagger

 

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Provide the right advocacy tools to ensure maximum potential

Ensuring your business is utilising a platform that enhances the reach and success of your employee advocacy plan is crucial and that’s where StoryTagger is able to help. It helps you guide your employees to film and share on-point, well-shot selfie videos that can be used for internal or outward-facing initiatives.

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! Our mobile app helps every storyteller share their thoughts, ideas and experiences in short, snappy videos. Being yourself is the best way for viewers to get a sense of what kind of business you work for and your dedication to your role.

Even if you’re lacking in confidence, StoryTagger has smart planning and recording features to help you plan and film brilliant video content with prompts and notes to keep you on topic. You don’t even need editing skills to finalise your advocacy video and our app combines the scenes 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 app?

Well, 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 the app 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.

 For any further questions, feel free to visit our detailed FAQ page.

 

And finally, your employees will grow their networks

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.

 

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.

Below are some of the core reasons why employee advocacy is crucial for any business.

 

Without an employee advocacy plan, your content won’t be found

It’s common knowledge that without interactions between users, social networks do not work, and social channels are now putting more focus on user-generated content over brand content to keep engagement levels high. Simply put, social media channels don’t want to flood feeds with brand content because it drives user-engagement down.

Several social media platforms now claim that the best way for you to enhance your brand awareness is to pay the platform to boost the reach of your posts and gain more followers in the process. For many businesses, this is not a viable or realistic option. According to Edgerank, even if your page has over 500,000 likes, your organic reach may only top 2%, which is criminally low given the amount of likes/followers.

This is why creating a strong employee advocacy programme is essential. Even if you’re a B2B business, enabling your employees to constantly promote your business is a surefire way to gain exposure (their combined profiles may even exceed your business’s followers online).

 

Influencer (celebrity) marketing can only get you so far

Having a celebrity promote your brand is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact, it’s a plausible marketing tactic that’s been used since the early 50s. However, celebrity marketing will only get you so far and you can’t solely rely on them. Instead, you should turn your focus to your employees, they’re the mouthpiece of your organisation and your clients/customers trust them more than any celebrity endorser. This is because your employees develop personal relationships with clients and customers, they’re not just a marketing gimmick, they are real people who want to help their business succeed.

 

Your employees can be your most valuable asset

The key word here is “can”, your employees can be your most valuable asset if they receive the correct training and 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. There are several courses and programmes to explore to enhance your employee’s understanding of employee advocacy.

 

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How to increase employee advocacy

It’s highly likely that whatever employee advocacy programme you choose to adopt, it will include these four key factors:

1. Understanding that transparency is the foundation of successful advocacy

Being transparent about employee advocacy is essential to ensure you and your employees are on the same page regarding the business’s social media accounts. Whether it’s writing dedicated pieces of content three times a month or even simply liking or hashtagging an Instagram post, your employees will benefit more if they know why and how their efforts help the business.

2. Celebrate internal achievements

Whether it’s an employee’s first year anniversary or the business is celebrating a holiday season or even a new client, posting about internal achievements shows that the business values the people. From posting a gallery on Facebook celebrating a religious festival to allowing your followers a sneak peek into “day in the life” photos of what it’s like to work there, highlighting company culture delivers a wealth of benefits for employees and customers. You may even have people email or call to apply for jobs at the company.

3. Emphasise the expertise of your employees

This point can be applied to all roles. For example, if you own an online clothing brand, your employees may be interested in modelling the brand merchandise to be shared on social media channels.

Of course, you could employ models but if your employees are willing and confident, why not get them involved? You could take things further by creating copy or video content explaining the designs, how they’re made, what they’re like to where and everything in between.

For an office environment, you may want to highlight an employee’s success of getting a new client on board, or encourage them to share their expertise or tips in a blog post or video.

4. Nudge employees with an email

This one is simple and doesn’t have to become an invasive or monotonous exchange. By emailing your employees once a month or whenever a new article, photo or piece of content is being promoted, that content’s reach will grow with every like, share, comment and hashtag.

An email is also a non-invasive way to remind employees to engage with the business’s social account. We all lead busy lives and it’s easy to forget to engage with social media accounts during work, but it only takes a few minutes to engage with your company’s social account and promote its reach.

Maximising your employee advocacy

Choosing which route you go down to maximise employee advocacy is entirely up to you. There’s no “one best practice/strategy fits all”, there’s a variety of engagement methods you can test and trial before you find one that suits you and your employee’s work schedules. Finally, make sure that the content you’re sharing is engaging, linkable and shareable – your employees will be far more likely to share content on their personal channels if they believe it’s unique and engaging.

 

Get engaged with our free to download app

If you’re looking to create engaging video content that puts your employees at the heart of the story, why not try our mobile app? StoryTagger offers a cost-effective, flexible and structured way of creating selfie 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 below.

Alternatively, book a quick demo to find out how StoryTagger can help your organisation.

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