This is the second instalment of our department-focused blog series. In each blogpost, we analyse how employee advocacy through social media benefits a specific area of a company.
Once upon a time, marketing teams were the only ones responsible for the distribution of the brilliant content they created. From billboards to flyers, from TV to local newspaper ads, they coordinated all sorts of marketing efforts.
However, this Don Draper-like system has changed drastically since companies started exploring the possibilities of social media. In today’s online communication environment, any employee of a company can become a promoter of its services, products and general culture. In fact, this is something that is already happening, whether companies are aware of it or not.
Studies show that almost 50% of employees voluntarily share company-generated content through their personal social media profiles (Weber Shandwick). Since, on average, only 2-8% of employee social networks overlap with brand networks (WeRsm), marketing execs are faced with a whole new range of possibilities. They can now create exciting content that colleagues in all departments help amplify.
Through an employee advocacy program, marketers can effectively and efficiently provide guidelines and assistance to those of their colleagues eager to promote company-generated content on their social media profiles. This way, not only they can amplify the online reach of their campaigns, but they can also gain valuable insight in what works and what doesn’t, what content is receiving the most love, and plan future campaigns accordingly.
In particular, employee advocacy through social media benefits a company’s marketing team in three main ways:
1) It increases social engagement
‘Content shared by employees receives 8X more engagement than content shared by brand channels’ (Social Media Today). And if you think about it, we all have experienced something like that at one point or another. We see a brilliant campaign on social media promoted by a brand’s official page; we are interested in the product but we are not quite sure how to approach the brand – especially if it’s a BIG one – on social media. Sometimes we do it anyway, sometimes we don’t. But what would happen if our friend Jenny, who works at that company, posted that same campaign on her Facebook page, expressing her excitement for the product, because she worked at developing it? Chances are we would be more inclined to ask her that question we had in mind, liking her post and maybe sharing it ourselves.
That’s exactly what employee advocacy programs can help brands do: measure this ‘underground’ engagement on social media that happens every time an employee shares a company’s campaign online, and inspire more colleagues to do the same.
2) It boosts content distribution in a cost-effective way
Pay Per Click’s are and will keep on being essential to distribute content to the right target audience. But why not step up that distribution strategy even more, especially when you don’t have to add cash to do it? Depending on the industry and the company, employees have a number of online connections who often share some interests, demographics or background with them. Employee advocacy programs help companies reach this immense pool of potential prospects in a cost-effective way.
3) It helps planning future campaigns
When using an employee advocacy platform, marketers can track the journey of each piece of content that is being shared by their colleagues. Gathering insight about which campaigns receive the greatest number of likes, comments, shares and click-through’s helps marketers fine-tune their efforts. Also, employee advocacy platforms are essential to aggregate suggestions and content coming from all departments. Employees are invited to ‘take’ content from this internal repository, but they can also suggest ideas to their colleagues or comment on other people’s concepts. This is an incredible opportunity for marketers trying to predict the potential outcome of their next campaigns.
What are the benefits of employee advocacy through social media for HR? Stay tuned for the next chapter of our department-focused blog series.