Are You Utilizing Employee Advocates? Here’s Why They Are Essential to Your Social Media Strategy




  • — April 27, 2018

    Is your company’s social content getting buried with little engagement? Does your company’s social strategy need a boost?

    If those two questions come to mind or you are looking for new ways to improve your social media strategy, then you came to the right place.

    For most companies and especially in the B2B space, being active and sharing on social media platforms is essential for generating web traffic and helping grow the company. But it’s also pretty challenging to get engagement and results if your company is not a well-known brand name (think Starbucks, Nike, etc).

    However, with the ever-changing social media world, your company needs to adjust and realize the power of social media still exists, regardless of challenges. One tactic for your social media strategy that should take priority is activating employee advocates online.

    employee advocate

    What is an employee advocate?

    Before we really dive into why employee advocates are essential to the success of your social media strategy, we should define what this term exactly means.

    An employee advocate is someone who is highly vested in their work and your company’s goals, mission, and overall values. These employee advocates are more inclined to share company content with their social networks, promote their company, be active in company activities and more.

    Typically, this is called employee advocacy and has become a popular strategy in the last few years to boost marketing, sales, communications, and employee engagement.

    But to put it simply, employee advocacy is the promotion of a company by its employees. Usually via social media outlets.

    Why employee advocates matter for successful social media strategies

    Because employee advocates are highly vested in their company and work, it should start to become more clear as to why these advocates are incredibly valuable to your social media strategy.

    Yet, for many social media strategies, employee advocates might not be thought of as a top priority. But with social media networks continuing to grow and changing, marketing teams and social media marketers specifically need to find ways to bring value to their company.

    Here are some of the top reasons employee advocates can help your social media strategy and results.

    Increases brand awareness organically

    A common challenge in the B2B space is to essentially be a recognizable and trusted brand. With millions of companies being online, in similar industries, and all competing for attention, it’s very easy for your brand to be lost in all the commotion.

    Think about how many employees your company has, their average social connections, how often they start sharing content, and the sheer numbers of people using social media.

    Your brand and content have a better chance of being seen constantly everywhere. This helps people recognize your brand and develop a sense of trust since your company content is being shared by so many people.

    Additionally, even if your company is a huge well-known brand (think IBM, Dell, etc), most likely your accounts are still missing prospects and people who would be interested in the content. But by leveraging employee advocates your company can tap into new markets and prospects that may value what your company does.

    Content is more trusted when it’s from employees

    While people do like content from brands they follow and will click on social ads, content is more trusted when it comes from individual employees. Makes sense because employees have the insight of their company, are more human, and typically are more trusted than corporate leaders who have more vested interest.

    A Nielsen study showed that 84% of people trust recommendations from friends, family, colleagues over other forms of marketing.

    Yet, here are a few other eye-opening stats:

    • Content shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than content shared by brand channels (Social Media Today)
    • Brand messages reached 561% further when shared by employees vs the same messages shared via official brand social channels (MSLGroup)
    • 98% of employees use at least one social media site for personal use, of which 50% are already posting about their company (Weber Shandwick)
    • 21% of consumers report “liking” employee posts–a far higher engagement rate than the average social ad (Edelman Trust Barometer)

    The above are some that stood out, but there are countless others that show the value employees and employee advocates bring to social media marketing.

    And with that trust and more social shares also comes an increase in web traffic, improving lead quality, helps social recruiting, and grows your company’s reach exponentially.

    Yet it also benefits employees who get involved as it grows their knowledge, helps them be seen as thought leaders, and they’re able to contribute more to their company’s success even if they are in a completely different department.

    Helps combat algorithm feed changes

    Similar to search engines updating and adjusting their ranking algorithms, social media networks update as well. Although not as often as Google might, since the start of 2018, Facebook and Twitter have both updated some of their policies and the way their social feeds are working.

    For Facebook, it took preference away from brands and publishers, which now gives more priority to family, friends, and colleagues. While it did cause (and continues to cause) social headaches for companies, it actually makes sense as more people want to interact with humans and trust their connections. For Twitter, it was actually less of an issue as it was more or less to stop spam.

    Regardless, this indeed caused a lot of brands to lose social media engagement and traffic because your content gets buried. This then makes your marketing department spend more on paid social to boost those posts.

    While there is nothing wrong with some paid social marketing, it can get expensive and you still might not get the engagement or results you hope for. However, by activating employee advocates on social, encouraging them to share, and arming them with the right tools and content, their shares will be more likely to be seen and can grow your social results organically.

    It also helps your company save thousands on paid advertising, which the time and resources are in better use through your own workforce.

    When it comes to the popular social networks used for business (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter), the priority will almost always be the individual’s posts and shares over the business accounts.

    Final Thoughts

    For a while when social media started gaining traction, the majority of businesses dismissed these networks and did not really see them as valuable resources for growth. However, that mindset quickly shifted and having a social media strategy has become essential to most companies.

    With that, there are also many challenges of getting content seen and generating quality leads through social networks. So when it comes to building a unique and successful social media strategy, employee advocates must be a top priority.

    Not only do employee advocates contribute to your company brand visibility, but they help drive more leads and help content be seen even during algorithm updates from social platforms.

    Will you be activating employee advocates to enhance your social media strategy?

    Ready to build your own employee advocate program? Download your complete employee advocacy program guide.

    Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community

    Author: Todd Kunsman

    View full profile ›

    (1)