What Is Employee Advocacy and How Can Brands Benefit?

What Is Employee Advocacy and How Can Brands Benefit?

Brand | Jan 04, 2021

Interest in employee advocacy has grown 191% since 2013.

The concept has been around decades, but with modern progressions like 5G and the rise of social media, its popularity has grown immensely within the last few years.

Employee advocacy is the professional term for in-house influencers. (You know, the people who create content on social media for a living.)

Influencers have become a modern trend that many brands now capitalize on. The most efficient way businesses have found to promote themselves is through their own employees (or in-house influencers).

Image of employee advocates

Below, we’ll give the rundown of employee advocacy, including how it can benefit your brand and ways to begin a program.

What is employee advocacy?

In simple terms, employee advocacy is the promotion of a brand by the people who work for it.

An employee advocate is someone who understands the ins and outs of a company adequately.

They can recommend that brand’s products or services to both internal and external connections through either online or in-person measures, with the intention to generate positive exposure and raise awareness for their company.

They can also become a great spokesperson for their brand and help companies build up employee ownership.

The different types of programs

There are many ways that employees can be advocates for their place of work.

One of the most common tactics is utilizing social media. Getting employees to post about their company’s products and resources like upcoming events, promotions or blog posts can broaden a brand’s reach tremendously.

Image of employee advocate posting on social media

Another option is for a company to provide their employees with branded merchandise (i.e., water bottles, t-shirts, phone cases, etc.). This creates and encourages brand appreciation among employees.

The benefits of starting a program

One of the most useful benefits of employee advocacy is its ability to increase a brand’s reach on social media through in-house influencers.

While many brands decide to pay for advertisements on social media platforms, the most simple, cost-effective and efficient method to gaining more views and likes is through employees.

Asking employees to post brand content on personal social media accounts is both profitable and beneficial since potential customers are more likely to trust recommendations from personal connections rather than from a company itself.

In fact, about 86% of employee advocates say their career has been positively impacted by being involved in social media.

Employee advocacy can also increase a company’s bottom line. No marketing tool works better than a brand’s employee’s own word of mouth.

Brands that have already established programs

Due to its useful features, many influential brands have hopped on the employee advocacy train.

Some examples include online apparel retailer Zappos with its stellar company culture, the list-making company Trello with its global employee engagement and coffee giant Starbucks with its personalized employee advocacy program.

Image of Starbucks mug

These are all great examples of companies that have successfully collaborated with their employees, and are a good starting point to look at if you're interested in creating your own employee advocacy program.

How to create a program

It’s important to strategize before starting the beginning stages of your program.

Here are six simple steps to help you get started:

Make sure to lay out the accomplishments you wish to materialize so you can always plan according to them.

1. Tell your employees about what they could gain from the program.

2. Teach your employees more about the program and your expectations.

3. Put an advocate in charge to become the go-to resource for others.

Image of two coworkers talking

4. Start collecting content early to share.

5. Continue to manage your program so it doesn't drop off.

Need additional help getting your brand’s employee advocacy program started? We’re an online marketing agency that can develop personalized strategies to help you meet any goal. Contact us now!

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