Social media fads are born every second and leave just as fast. You have brands that have no business being on snapchat trying to copy other brands that actually have an audience/reason to be there, you have brands trying to act as ‘cool’ as others by tapping into an influencer conversation with a tone of voice completely off base from their own, and then you have my favorite, the brands that hop onto every new network as soon as it comes out leaving a trail of washed up social media accounts instead aof being strong in social media on the networks their audience lives on. One rising star of social media that I guarantee you is not a fad, and something that every brand can utilize, is employee advocacy. The practice of setting up a tool that harbors pre-approved content your employees can safely share online is invaluable in the social space. Not only does it add to your social media resources (more on that below), but it also empowers your employees to feel like they have an investment in your brand.
While I was at a healthcare company I setup an employee advocacy program as a way to train employees on social media and tap into extra resources. While the setup took a lot of buy-in from executives and initial training, the results were astounding. In just a few months, only a few dozen employees amplified our content by millions and increased engagement by tens of thousands. Imagine what could happen with more.
I plan on writing more granular in the future about employee advocacy and how to set it up, sustain it, etc., but right now I want to focus on why your brand should be hopping on the bandwagon.
Here are the five biggest benefits of employee advocacy that I believe will make it a must-have:
This is an important one as many companies are cutting their social media staff as budget cuts come through. Some teams are being whittled down to one or two people that are responsible for running a Fortune 500 company’s social media. Employee advocacy creates resources in two ways. It adds content creators as employees are allowed to submit posts of their liking to the program, and it adds publishers by allowing employees to publish branded content to numerous personal social media networks. Suddenly, your team of two grows exponentially. Imagine how many more things your social media team would be able to do with more content creators and publishers on their side.
An employee advocacy program is a great way to bring your executives to the forefront. It enables social media shy executives to share content with one push of a button. During my time working on an employee advocacy program, I saw executives who never considered social media before suddenly joining others in posting content. With the right training and a tool that allowed content to come to them ready to go, nothing stood in their way of using social media to its utmost power. In fact, one executive who had little do with social media prior became a front-runner on the leadership boards which was amazing to watch.
We watched our metrics soar through the roof when we initiated an employee advocacy program. Our messages gained higher reach, engagement and clicks. It’s a no-brainer that adding more eyes to your content increases everything else, as well. This came in handy when selling the continuation of employee advocacy to executives. You can’t argue with numbers.
High-Value Marketing At A Low Cost
When you compare how much reach, engagement and clicks you get from an employee advocacy program to the cost of advertising on the social media networks, the difference is unbelievable. We could put $100K behind a buy and see more engagement from our program (which was way less than that). This is another point to keep in mind with budgets being cut for social media at many different companies.
An employee advocacy program gives you the ability to create pre-approved social media messaging for a crisis and send it out right away for your advocates to share. It allows employees to advocate on your brand’s behalf and pour some water on fires before they burn your reputation. It’s a great way to control the messaging to make sure it is on-brand, while also reaching the right people to share it.
Whether you have a cut in your budget coming up, or you are under resourced, or you want to empower your employees → employee advocacy is the way to go. Have questions about what the next steps might be for you? I’m happy to answer in the comments below.
– Marji J. Sherman