Is your company utilizing employee advocacy? What have you found to be the most effective approaches to getting your employees to be more actively engaged in sharing your brand messaging?
There's a right way and a wrong way to go about it, and understanding the key elements - and what's working for others - will help you develop a more effective, beneficial approach, which can have major impacts for your broader digital marketing strategy.
To get a better understanding of this, we recently partnered with GaggleAMP to conduct a survey among the Social Media Today community. Over 400 marketers responded, giving us an indicative pool to highlight the current trends and future opportunities of the process.
You can download our full 2019 State of Employee Advocacy report here, but this week, we're going to break down the specific elements and findings to give you an overview of the responses we received.
You can check out the first two summaries of our findings here and here.
Part 3: Effective Approaches to Employee Advocacy
Further analyzing current approaches to EA, we wanted to dig a little deeper into the specific types of content which can help to solidify an employee advocacy program.
It likely comes as little surprise to see that ‘thought leadership’ based content leads the way, as opposed to overly promotional updates.
Showcasing the expertise of your internal leaders – ideally via video – seems to be the most effective approach. Video is not always the most cost-effective, or simple option, but as has been highlighted in many other studies and reports, video is currently the most effective medium for social sharing, and can help to maximize your results.
But the key consideration here is ‘thought leadership’ posts. The temptation for many companies is to approach employee advocacy as another media distribution process, through which they can get employees to share updates about their latest promotion and/or sale. That’s not the best way to go about it.
By tapping into your internal experts – enabling them to share their expertise, and build their own personal profiles, while also expanding the company’s presence – you’ll be better placed to maximize the benefits of employee advocacy.
Add in a video element, and you’ll be on track to glean the benefits of the EA process.
Underlining this even further, in our final two survey questions, we wanted to see how the respondents themselves respond to employee advocacy initiatives, and what they find most effective in their own experiences.
First off, we sought to find out how engaged people are currently in professional discussions online.
As you can see here, while around 44% of respondents regularly share updates about their company to their personal profiles, the majority either only do so occasionally, or not at all, leaving a lot of opportunity for businesses to build a more engaging, active EA process.
Particularly concerning is that many business experts aren’t even participating in relevant industry discussions - this seems like a key area where brands could offer training on how and where to find relevant discussions and how to participate. That, again, would help build their personal profiles, while also showcasing your business expertise. The question may also come down to what they can and can’t say, so empowering staff with that knowledge also remains a critical component.
But if you want another reminder of the potential effectiveness of employee advocacy, there’s also this:
More than 73% of respondents indicated that company updates shared via personal profiles are more persuasive than those posted by brands themselves.
The evidence is very clear – employee advocacy is effective, and can be a key way to help amplify your brand messaging, especially in the age of algorithms, which are increasingly seeing business page reach in decline.
You likely know this from your own personal experience - you’re more likely to respond to a post from a friend than from a brand. The key, then, lies in ensuring your brand content aligns with personal sharing behaviors, and in educating your employees on what they can share – and why they should want to.
Hopefully these insights help to guide your approach in building your own employee advocacy program.
The 2019 Social Media Today Employee Advocacy Survey was conducted between July and August 2019, incorporating responses from 402 total participants. Of those respondents, 54% indicated that they work for a B2B organization, while 29% indicated that they work for a B2C brand.