In today's digital landscape, social media has become a crucial platform for businesses to connect with their target audience and expand their reach. If your own social media strategy is lagging, there’s a newer, highly effective strategy businesses have started to utilize for social media: employee advocacy programs. This is where employees use their personal accounts to promote the company's brand and products. In this post, we'll focus on the benefits of employee social media advocacy programs and how they can drive business growth.
What is an employee social media advocacy program?
First things first, what is an employee social media advocacy program? This kind of program is when a company encourages its employees to share content and promote the brand on their personal social media accounts. Encouragement can come in the form of friendly competition, a rewards-based program, or something as simple as a shout out during the morning meeting. Promoting the brand can include sharing company news, product information, and other promotional materials. Advocacy programs aim to leverage employees' personal networks to reach a wider audience and build brand loyalty while giving your employees credibility and industry clout.
As we’ve noted in other blog posts, brand messages are shared about 24x more frequently when they come from an employee’s account, so employee social media advocacy programs are definitely worth paying attention to.
What can brand advocates do for your business?
- Increases reach and visibility: Employees often have a large personal network on social media, which can significantly increase a company's reach and visibility. When employees share content related to the company, it can reach a new, engaged audience that may not have been reached through traditional marketing efforts.
- Boosts credibility: Employee advocacy on social media provides third-party endorsement, which can increase credibility and trust in the brand. People are more likely to trust the opinions of those they know and follow on social media, making employee advocacy a powerful tool for building credibility.
- Builds brand loyalty: When employees become advocates for the company on social media, it shows that they believe in the company and its products or services. This can lead to increased brand loyalty and a sense of community among followers, driving growth.
- Drives engagement: Employee advocacy on social media can drive engagement by encouraging followers to comment, like, and share content related to the company. Increased engagement can lead to more reach and visibility, as well as a boost in brand loyalty. Posts shared by employees, rather than the brand, receive about 8x more engagement.
How To Create a Strong Social Media Advocacy Program
- Develop a social media policy: To ensure that employees know the company's expectations and guidelines for social media use, it's important to develop a social media policy. This policy should outline what content is appropriate to share and any restrictions on sharing confidential information.
- Empower employees: Empower employees by providing them with the tools and resources they need to effectively promote the brand on social media. This can include access to company news, product information, and promotional materials.
- Get the right software: There are so many software programs that can make posting painless. The easier you make it to share content, the more likely it is your team will pick it up! Oktopost, Sprout Social, and SocialHP are a few of many that can make stepping into the employee social media advocacy world a breeze — Just remember to do a crash course on how to use them successfully.
- Hire a content specialist: The idea of creating branded material for your team to share might sound… Exhausting and timely. That’s what content agencies are for! If you want to have a constant flow of witty, on-brand material for your team to share without having to come up with it all yourself, consider hiring someone (like us!) to do it for you.
- Monitor and measure: To measure the effectiveness of your employee social media advocacy program, it's important to monitor the engagement and reach of the content shared by employees. This will allow you to make any necessary adjustments and continue to improve your efforts over time. Set KPIs and share the results with your team so they can get excited about hitting those goals, too.
- Make it worthwhile: You can’t expect your employees to use their own platforms for your benefit without seeing something in return. As mentioned above, a rewards program or some type of recognition for strong advocates will help encourage others to take up the program and show your team that the program is worthwhile and important.
Employee social media advocacy programs can be a highly effective tool for businesses looking to grow and connect with their target audience. By leveraging employees' personal networks, companies can reach a wider audience, build brand loyalty, and boost credibility. To successfully implement an employee social media advocacy program, it's important to develop a social media policy, empower employees, and monitor and measure the results, as well as reward your team for a job well done and give them all the tools they need to get excited about, and step into, the program with ease.