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 concept is a topic that often appears in employee experience books. The subject is a subset of employee engagement best practices.
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. 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.
4. Create a Hashtag for Your Program
You can create a hashtag when you have registered enough workers and are ready to launch the program. You should also let your advocates know to use the hashtag in their branded material. The hashtag will allow you to keep track of all postings related to the advocacy program from one page. This practice promotes the organic growth of the program.
5. Measure the Program’s Performance
Like any other marketing campaign, you need to have metrics to assess the result of the company’s employee advocacy initiatives. The metrics will show if the program is serving its purpose and show avenues for improvement. For instance, you could check the kind of content that resonates better with your audience. In the future, this knowledge will help you improve your program and get better outcomes. You should also determine whether the program was able to accomplish its stated objectives. This assessment determines the success or failure of the program.
6. 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:
Dell is one of the forerunners of the employee advocacy initiative. The program started as social media monitoring and sentiment analysis before becoming a full-blown employee advocacy program. Dell Champions is the name for the employees that participate in this initiative. The initiative allows the public to see what it is like to work at Dell from the outside.
As part of Dell’s worldwide community, Dell Champions share content with coworkers and members of the public. Participating employees get training and certifications from Dell’s Social Media University and get the chance to choose preferred or relevant content. This approach keeps the program highly engaging and successful. Executives at all levels have also participated in the program, which has been a key factor in its success.
Adobe was one of the first pioneers of an employee advocacy campaign in 2013. The company began small and gradually expanded the initiative to include over 900 employee advocates after recognizing the value of workers for the brand’s success.
The company set objectives and tracked progress at the beginning of the program to assess its effectiveness. In the end, Adobe altered and enhanced the program to be highly successful.
As part of the EveryoneSocial campaign, they aimed to accomplish the following:
- Establish what content to share
- Provide employees with the necessary resources to improve social media usage
- Improve internal communication
- Promote interactions and create a platform for internal staff to share and create content
- Create a sense of belonging in the workplace and increase employee engagement
Moreover, Adobe’s attention was not just on the program’s marketing advantages for the company, but rather, on establishing an environment where staff could share and market organically. Over time, employees could choose from a more focused selection of themes and subtopics. This approach made it easier for workers to get the information and express themselves uniquely.
Employees may join any of the 186 distinct topic groups currently available. Since each employee can find and share their favorite social media posts, their social media presence is very individualized and genuine.
Since its inception, Adobe’s employee advocacy program has grown to include more than 900 staff members. With an average of over 4,000 social media contacts, these professionals have a vast social reach of over 3 million people. The initiative positively impacted workplace culture, employee engagement, and retention.
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.
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.
Vodafone’s internal Social Comms Team oversees the company’s employee advocacy initiative, called Go Social. The company created a poll for employees to gauge interest and learn about participation challenges.
The poll showed a great deal of uncertainty regarding the kind of information that employees can post in connection with the business. In addition, there was a general readiness to engage, provided it was simple and did not take too much time.
The company decided to utilize a platform to speed the process and establish a feed of company-approved material that workers could post, along with social media norms and regulations. The platform became a central gateway to make it easier for workers to obtain and exchange vital information. Employees may post material they have created and materials the firm has authorized from sources both within and outside the organization.
Vodafone recognizes its most successful employees by displaying their names on a leaderboard. They also enlist the help of business ambassadors from various departments to ensure that everyone is on board and active. They also provide training and advice and enable workers to develop material for the program. This approach benefits the program’s developers and develops a better sense of ownership and involvement.
Go Social has more than 200 active users who have shared thousands of posts resulting in millions of impressions. There are several official Vodafone profiles on all major social media sites. The company has achieved a huge social media presence that is simultaneously focused and niche-appropriate for different audiences.
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:
1. 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.
2. Improves the Company’s Image
There is hardly a better source of information on a company’s culture than its workers. Employees who speak well about their companies, particularly on social media platforms, often get more acceptance and recognition from others. Both prospective consumers and potential workers will see the employee’s appraisal as a positive reflection of the company’s brand and values.
A positive image of your brand can influence potential clients to choose your brand over that of your competitors. Attracting superior employees is easier when your company has a nice work environment and a happy workforce. In fact, this study by CareerArc shows that current employees remain the most reliable source of information about a firm.
3. 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.
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.
For more tips, check out these lists of books on marketing, advertising books, and sales books.