Employee advocacy through social media is still a young concept. Especially in Europe, most people outside the industry don’t have a clear understanding of what it is, and why exactly it is something companies can’t afford to overlook.
When explaining the basics of employee advocacy to a novice, there are some objections, or misunderstandings, that keep reoccurring. Let’s play them out, one by one…
Employee Advocacy Advocate (EAA): Have you ever heard of employee advocacy through social media?
Confused Novice (CN): No, don’t think so. Has it something to do with supporting your employees on social media…?
EAA: Well, not exactly. In a nutshell, employee advocacy is the promotion of an organisation by colleagues, mainly through their personal social media and digital profiles.
CN: Okay, gotcha! So it’s a digital marketing strategy, right?
EAA: Yes, and no. When implemented correctly, employee advocacy has a positive impact on organic impressions and website traffic, but that’s not the only focus. It is also essential to provide relevant content and news all employees and colleagues can access, comment and share. It’s a great way to acknowledge online interaction from employees who care about the brand. We believe employee branding is and will be a major part of overall corporate branding. Just consider how many connections we, as individuals, have on different channels, and how many people – and potential prospects – we can reach through them…
CN: Oh, I see. Does it work as an internal communication tool, then?
EAA: Employee advocacy platforms like SoAmpli are not internal communication tools. They build a bridge from internal (an island of information & content) to external channels, amplifying campaigns. The unique content that goes out of SoAmpli can be measured in order to see the positive impact it is having on campaigns’ reach and general brand awareness.
CN: Okay I think I get it now. But how about other departments, are there benefits for them?
EAA: Definitely. Think about how employee advocacy can make life easier for salespeople, boosting lead generation and social selling. Another example is HR and recruitment; through employee advocacy these departments see a sensible increase in employee referrals for new hires. Also, establishing the company’s reputation through employer branding on social media becomes much easier. In general, through employee advocacy companies reach a broader audience, whose personal interests and connections are in line with the company’s targets. And when you think about it, all departments can benefit from this.
CN: You have a point there. But, why would employees want to share company-related content with their personal connections?
EAA: The thing is, a lot of people are already doing that! The concept of employee advocacy originated from behavioural analysis, not theoretical speculation. A lot of employees are already sharing news about their company, photos from special occasions, special promotions and unique industry insights that can prove their expertise to their online connections. However, most companies are not aware of this habit and its positive impact.
CN: Okay, but wouldn’t you say it’s only a small group of people doing this – only the digitally savvy ones who are very passionate about their job and their field? In order to increase traffic sensibly, you’ll need to get a lot of people on board. How about the less dedicated employees, what’s in it for them?
EAA: Well, studies show that almost half of employees already message their contacts about the company they work for and what they offer. But for the less engaged 50%, gamification can go a long way. Who doesn’t like to win? If employees can get rewards and recognition, they’ll be tempted to compete for the title of most prolific social media sharer in the company.
CN: There you go! When it comes to gamification, most think of financial rewards. How costly is that?
EAA: It doesn’t have to be costly at all. Employees who are advocating for the company on social media can be rewarded with a general acknowledgement from senior management or a day off, but ultimately it all depends on the culture of the organisation.
Do you have any other burning doubt we forgot to address? Comment below and we’ll make sure to include it in the dialogue 🙂