Employee Advocacy refers to the commitment of employees as ambassadors of your own company to expand their marketing reach, open up new perspectives and attract potential customers without spending much on advertising.
In simple terms, if you run a company with satisfied and enthusiastic employees, you will surely also have a talented pool of employees who can market your products and services. Your employees know more than anyone about your company and organization and are therefore ideally suited for this task. The promotion and thus increased awareness of your company by own employees is called Employee Advocacy (german: Employee Representation Program).
Employee advocacy is most effectivewhen its employees advertise on their social media/channels such as LinkedIn or otherwise recommend products or services. This can be observed on various social media platforms; on your own website or simply by making personal recommendations in direct conversation, to name just a few possibilities. Every time a person publishes something positive about their work, they are basically committed to the company with its products or services. By sharing or commenting on a simple Facebook post on your company page, your employee promotes your business and raises awareness online.
Employee Advocacy on LinkedIn?
After looking at the definition of Employee Advocacy from a corporate perspective, let’s get an accurate overview of the following four steps that are related to it for you:
Define goals and strategies for an employee advocacy program for your employees
The first step to starting your Employee Advocacy Programis to set your goals and strategies. This includes setting some milestones and metrics to assess the progress of the program at any time. These goals can be to increase the visibility of your business, improve the company’s reputation, or increase the company’s revenue.
Once you have defined your goals, you will select the employee advocacy team and the appropriate audience within your organization to align the program with. For example, if your goal is to increase the company’s revenue, then sales people are obviously your right choice because of their existing networks and connections. If you want to attract new employees, it is best to select the HR team and departments to attract new talent through the Employee Advocacy Program.
For better analysis during the advocacy program, you can use services such as LinkedIn Elevate. For example, you can evaluate the reach and success of employees to find those who are already “social stars.” You can also use LinkedIn Elevate to identify the departments with the greatest interest in the common goals. If you include your social stars in your Employee Advocacy program, it will gain momentum in the early stages.
It is also necessary to keep an eye on your audience when preparing your content strategy. If your Employee Advocacy content only includes sales materials,the program will most likely fail. Try to win customers by balancing business, industry, and general information.
Explain the benefits of Employee Advocacy to your employees
Now that you’ve prepared your program strategy, the next step is to educate your employees about what the Employee Advocacy program is and how they can benefit from it themselves. You should explain to your employees how sharing high-quality content can improve their reach on LinkedIn. Similarly, you can motivate your employees through potential affiliate participation in the program that your company generates through the Employee Advocacy Program.
You’ll find that there are some employees who aren’t good at using LinkedIn. To ensure that everyone is on the same level, you can hold a training session explaining how to build a world-class LinkedIn profile and content sharing tactics. Since not every employee may be accustomed to sharing company-related content, it is also helpful to set clear social media guidelines to address their concerns (social media guidlines).
Start the Employee Advocacy Program on LinkedIn
With the goals you define and well-trained employees, you are now ready to launch your company’s Employee Advocacy program on LinkedIn. To do this, you can use the internal communication systems (email, intranet…) your company.
While your program is in the ongoing phase, you should regularly provide employees with new content that they can share or comment on LinkedIn. This handling is far from the end of your Employee Advocacy Program,but just the beginning. You should keep employees informed by regularly recalling the program and its chances of success.
Regularly analyze the results of your Employee Advocacy Program
During the duration of the program, it is important that you track the progress and quality of your Employee Advocacy program. Review regularly how it helps achieve the goals you set in the initial phase. You can analyze how LinkedIn engagement has increased and share this data with your organization to increase employee motivation.
LinkedIn Elevate can also be used again to analyze the sharing of your content in detail. It allows you to check the demographic composition of potential customers reached through the Employee Advocacy Program. Also see the impact the program has on your organization’s external perception.
Benefits for your business through the Employee AdvocacyProgram
With regard to the process of the Employee Advocacy program, we want to list some reasons why you should use LinkedIn in particular:
According to LinkedIn, a company’s popularity increases by about 45 percent when it posts regularly. Because employees are sellers and speakers of your own brand, monitoring with daily on-brand and updated content on the company’s page can greatly improve the outcome of their sales. Another LinkedIn statistic shows that active companies generate nearly 58 percent more leads via LinkedIn!
Similarly, according to statistics, job advertisements shared by employees have twice as much CTR compared to those of companies. As a result, it is much more likely that the shared positions by employees will be rated better by LinkedIn’s selective algorithms than those of the company itself. This ultimately increases the number of applicants through social media. Where does the difference come from? Your company’s followers are primarily interested in your products and services; a smaller proportion of career opportunities. Your employee has similar contacts in his network from the same department. Assuming this employee now shares an interesting position in his department, the chances are higher that this will make more potential applicants aware of it.
Employer Branding Improve
One of the biggest challenges in building an employer brand is increasing the reach of the content of your Employer Branding Program. The mere publication of this content on your LinkedIn company page and other media does not guarantee success. You can increase the reach of your business content many times over by getting your employees to share that content. This statement is backed up by LinkedIn research data that shows that, on average, employees have a network ten times as large as your company page.
Depending on the number of employees of a company, it can be assumed that each individual employee has at least several hundred or even more than a thousand contact persons in his network. For companies with a high number of employees, this reach proves to be another advantage.
The content shared by employees doubles your company’s commitment, as people prefer direct contact with other people. When you make your employees the face of your business, they contribute greatly to your brand’s online awareness. Where does this come from? Suppose you as a company promote your own performance. Of course, the consumer immediately recognizes that this is self-promotion. If, on the other hand, one of your employees in his network is in favour of a performance recommendation, this seems much more authentic.
If you are able to engage a significant portion of your workforce to participate in your Employee Advocacy Program,then you have to deal with far more contacts than your company could ever achieve through traditional marketing campaigns.
Making good use of diversity in the workforce
Today, the majority of a company has multicultural workforces and socio-cultural backgrounds. This is also automatically reflected in the circle of acquaintances, friends or families of your employees. Now, if you engage these employees in an advocacy program,you can attract the attention of a much wider audience on LinkedIn, and many of your brand’s new followers could become potential customers. LinkedIn Elevate also allows you to send appropriate advertising messages for each target group by analysing demographic data.
Boosting the employer brand
If you want to attract new talent to your business, one of the proven ways to be successful is for your existing employees to share the benefits of working in your company. This helps attract talent in your industry. According to LinkedIn, companies that engage on LinkedIn are 58 percent more likely to attract top talent. With a 20 percent higher probability, these can also be kept. Another statistic shows that for each job advertisement that your employees post on LinkedIn, six more people then click on the job advertisement on your website or job exchange.
For example, a company can advertise in its job advertisement with market-compliant salaries or other exciting incentives such as free sports offers, fruit baskets, etc., but this alone often does not convince applicants to be enthusiastic about the company. Authenticity is much more important for potential applicants. Employees who report positively about your work and your company make a significant contribution to this. This also explains well-attended employer assessment sites such as Glassdoor or Kununu, which are frequently visited. Employees who feel valued and satisfied with your business will share their positive views on the Internet. In such cases, your employees become the voice of your company and thus strengthen the employer brand.
FAZIT: Attracting employees as a brand for your company
Employee advocacy is a win-win situation for employees and companies alike. The advantage for employees is to be able to present their expertise online. This allows companies to increase contacts with unique, i.e. other potential customers. According to LinkedIn, 86 percent of employees who participated in an employee advocacy program officially initiated by the company reported that it had a positive impact on their own career development.
In Employee Advocacy, organizations empower their employees to share useful content. The articles and contributions provided by companies help employees to further expand their professional network and become an expert in their field.