This is an exploration of employee advocacy examples & guidelines.
Employee advocacy refers to the practice of workers promoting their employer in public. In this marketing strategy, the firms choose a few committed workers and turn them into promoters for the company’s image. Employee advocacy works because people trust user-generated content more than brand-created material. The benefits of employee advocacy include improved company image, better social media presence, and more leads.
This article includes:
- employee advocacy examples
- employee advocacy guidelines
- employee advocacy benefits
Let’s get started!
Employee advocacy guidelines
Below are in-depth guidelines on implementing a successful employee advocacy program for your business:
1. Determine Your Program Objectives
A good employee advocacy program begins with clearly defined objectives. Knowing what you want to achieve will make it easier to evaluate how well the program is doing in relation to those objectives.
For your employee advocacy program, here are a few examples of objectives to set:
- Increase web traffic
- Generate more leads
- Get more followers
- Enhance the brand’s image
Regardless of your objectives, write them down and define KPIs to track the program’s progress toward achieving them.
2. Set Clear Policies and Procedures
As part of a successful employee advocacy program, it is critical to lay out the ground rules. Allowing workers to publish unsupervised on the company’s behalf is a recipe for disaster. For instance, an employee may share an insensitive, offensive, or divisive message, which would have the opposite effect of the intended goal.
Therefore, it is critical that you establish certain guidelines for what is and is not acceptable. Setting guidelines will save you from monitoring employees’ posts, yet ensure no harm comes to the company’s image. For example, you can ask employees to include the hashtag in all their posts or avoid posting sensitive information about the company.
3. Discuss Accuracy and Fact-Checking
Accuracy and fact-checking play a pivotal role in employee advocacy guidelines. Ensuring the accuracy of information employees share safeguards the company’s reputation and fosters trust among the audience. Employees should be encouraged to double-check the information they intend to post, verifying its source and accuracy before sharing it with their networks. By following these principles of accuracy and fact-checking, employees demonstrate a commitment to ethical online interaction. This reputation furthers the credibility of the company’s message and brand.
4. Motivate Your Staff to Participate
The most critical phases are telling your staff about the program, choosing the best people to lead, and implementing the initiative. Creating a positive work environment and culture is a must before asking your staff to become brand advocates. When your workers are satisfied with their job and pleased to be a part of your team, they will be more likely to spread the good news about your business.
The following are best practices for getting employees on board with employee advocacy:
- It would be best if you asked employees whether they would be interested in participating in the program rather than imposing it on them. Most employees will refrain from posting about the firm on their own social media profiles if it feels compulsory.
- Employees should know what they may expect from the program, whether recognition or monetary compensation. Workers are more likely to sign up for a program if they know what they can expect in return.
- It would help to target certain workers who are eager to join and have some social impact. Expanding the program to include additional staff members is always an option later.
- Incorporating elements of gaming into the process can encourage employee participation. Employees might compete for the best social media post or the most engagement by participating in a contest.
- It helps to give staff interesting subjects to talk about. It might be a celebration, a new product, or a company event. Therefore, workers can be more effective brand ambassadors since they will have material to use in their social media postings.
You should build trust because employees with high confidence in their bosses are twice as likely to advocate for their employer’s brand. The next phase is informing your employees about the advocacy program, what you hope to accomplish, how they can assist, and what they get out of it.
5. Identify and Reward Efficient Advocates
Aside from assessing your program’s effectiveness, you should also recognize and reward your most effective advocates. Keeping employees motivated by rewarding them for their hard work is crucial to their long-term success. You may wish to set up a reward and recognition program to recognize your staff for becoming your brand advocates. Encouragement comes from appreciating everyone who took part, no matter their performance.
A company culture committee may have a significant influence on the organization’s progress. Keeping everyone on the same page becomes more difficult as your team grows. However, you can set proper guidelines to streamline and sync the advocacy program.
Employee advocacy examples
The following are some of the most successful examples of employee advocacy initiatives:
Vodafone’s internal Social Comms Team manages its Go Social employee advocacy initiative. The group conducted a poll to assess employee interest and identify participation challenges. The poll revealed uncertainty about what employees could post related to the business, but there was a willingness to engage if it was straightforward. To simplify the process, Vodafone created a platform for approved content sharing, including company material and social media guidelines. This central gateway made it easier for employees to access and share vital information, both from internal and external sources.
Vodafone recognizes top-performing employees with a leaderboard and engages business ambassadors from different departments to ensure widespread participation. The firm offers training, guidance, and opportunities for employees to contribute content. This approach fosters a sense of ownership and involvement.
Go Social has over 200 active users who have shared thousands of posts, resulting in millions of impressions. Vodafone maintains official profiles on major social media platforms, creating a strong and niche-appropriate social media presence for various audiences.
Hootsuite helps businesses with their social media platforms and has a program where its employees become champions for the brand. Employees share their knowledge and updates about social media on their own social networks. This process makes Hootsuite look like a trusted expert in the social media field.
Hootsuite encourages its employees to engage on social media, boosting its reputation as a social media authority. This program shows how a company can use its own employees to improve its reputation online and share valuable information with the world.
3. EA Sports
Electronic Arts (EA) is a video game producer that employs thousands of people in more than 50 countries. The dispersion of the company’s offices led to a lack of cohesiveness in the company’s culture. In 2014, the company launched EA Insiders, an employee advocacy initiative to unite colleagues and foster a more unified corporate culture. Also, the company hoped the initiative would link the company’s workers to its online community of gamers.
People from diverse areas came together via the program. By keeping with tradition, EA gamified their whole program to keep their employees interested and engaged.
There are currently more than 1000 members of EA Insiders, who have a combined audience of more than a million. Each month, the initiative generates about 6000 engagements. The company’s culture and feeling of community are also quite strong.
As part of its employee advocacy campaign, Starbucks set up social media profiles for its employees and enabled them to post photographs, stories, and debates about Starbucks on these pages. Starbucks refers to its social media contributors as “partners,” which fosters a sense of community and gives them a sense of control and responsibility.
Giving staff responsibility for content production may be problematic, but Starbucks has detailed instructions on how to utilize social media on the company’s behalf.
Employees get the opportunity to grow their skills and acquire certifications instead of incentives to participate. This approach produced a knowledgeable and well-trained workforce with a positive attitude toward the company. It has also resulted in a considerable decrease in employee turnover.
More than 370,000 people follow the Starbucks workers’ Facebook page. Twitter and Instagram each have more than 50,000 followers for the company. There are now 915,042 posts tagged with the hashtag #tobeapartner on Instagram. In the wake of its employee advocacy initiative, Starbucks has a tremendous internet presence. It would be almost difficult to establish such a presence with only business handles and accounts.
In 2013, Adobe pioneered an employee advocacy campaign. The program started small but expanded as they recognized their vital role in the brand’s success. Adobe set clear objectives and closely monitored progress, adapting and enhancing the program to achieve significant success.
Under the “EveryoneSocial” campaign, Adobe aimed to:
- Determine content to share
- Give employees resources to enhance their social media usage
- Enhance internal communication
- Encourage interactions and provide a platform for staff to share and create content
- Foster a sense of belonging and increase employee engagement
Adobe focused on creating an environment where employees could organically share and promote. The firm refined content themes and subtopics over time, allowing employees to personalize their social media presence.
Today, Adobe’s employee advocacy program includes over 900 staff members with an average of more than 4,000 social media contacts, collectively reaching over three million people. This initiative has significantly impacted workplace culture, employee engagement, and retention.
The company highlights workers sharing their personal fitness adventures and activities with the company’s social media audience wearing Reebok gear, thus providing content for their advocacy program. The #FitAssCompany hashtag makes it simple to keep track of the program and the postings from workers. The company has fine-tuned the program over time due to tracking.
Employee-generated content and photographs of people exercising and “walking the walk” have produced real and personal material. In contrast to other initiatives, this method encourages workers to create their own material.
Reebok workers have been a part of the company’s success from the outset. The company encouraged employees who are adept at using social media to develop ideas for how the company might better represent itself and reach a wider audience, rather than imposing a plan on them. This approach fostered a greater sense of collaboration and creativity.
Most of Reebok’s workers fall into their target demographic — youthful, fit, and social media-savvy. The addition of a unique hashtag, additional content, enabling coworkers and the firm to submit employee-generated content, and expediting the process through a mobile app has contributed to the program’s success.
Reebok’s official Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages each have more than 10 million fans, thanks largely to the material posted by the company’s workers. And these are just the primary, official accounts.
Employee advocacy benefits
Many firms, including Cisco, Buffer, Oracle, and others, utilize employee advocacy as a successful marketing strategy. Employee advocacy can help companies reach a wide range of marketing and commercial objectives. Using employee advocacy may provide several advantages to your company, including the following.
1. Makes Your Brand More Human
Some businesses in sectors like banking and technology have difficulty connecting with customers and do not communicate with them as often. As a result, customers do not see these firms as human beings and find them unrelatable. Consumers like to purchase from businesses with which they have a personal connection.
Many businesses face this problem due to their inability to build genuine relationships with consumers. This obstacle may be easier to overcome with the support of their employees. When workers comment about their employers, they create a face and a human interface for the brand. Although the average customer might not find a large technological firm relatable, they can relate to an ordinary individual talking about the organization.
2. Enhances Your Credibility
When employees share company information, customers see it as more trustworthy because it comes from real individuals, not just the organization. Folks tend to believe and connect with this kind of content more. Employee advocacy makes the company seem more genuine and approachable. This impression can improve the company’s reputation because it shows that its employees believe in what they are sharing. Further, this credibility can lead to better relationships with customers, more loyal customers, and a stronger position in the market.
3. Extends Your Online Presence
You can tap into your employees’ social networks by turning them become brand advocates. In addition, if you have a significant number of brand advocates with huge followings, you may be able to reach even more potential followers than you could on your own.
Furthermore, the information shared by ordinary individuals receives much more attention than that of companies. The reason is that people perceive user-generated material as more genuine and relatable than brand-generated content. According to statistics gathered by LinkedIn, employee postings attract twice as much attention than information published by firms.
4. Produces More Prospects
Your brand advocates are just like any other influencer and can help you get your message out to their followers or social network. Therefore, you have the opportunity to reach a brand-new customer base and establish new business opportunities. Asking your staff to include your website link in their conversations about your brand is a great way to get more traffic to your site.
You should consider developing an employee advocacy program to boost your company’s image and create meaningful interactions with customers. People are more likely to trust your employees’ words about your firm than that of a faceless brand. Your own staff could be some of your finest brand ambassadors. External persons like social media influencers may come to mind while discussing brand advocates.
However, remember that your staff know your firm inside and out, and they may help to shape your brand’s image in a unique way, even if you do not have a formal advocacy program in place. The most important tip is to set rules of social engagement and encourage the employees volunteering as advocates with acknowledgment and incentives.