What is it and how does it work

A content strategy has become one of the most important marketing tools to generate traffic to a website with the aim of:

  • Thought Leadership
  • Loading the brand 
  • (Indirect) Sales
  • Fulfilling vacancies 

This content is often distributed via articles the website of the company, external media and of course via social channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. But you might also think of the so-called Dark Social channels such as WhatsApp.

Employee Advocacy is sharing content with the help of your colleagues. Employees already share content regularly via social media, but if a company helps employees with this, a content strategy gets wings.

How nice it is if the above-mentioned content is distributed by the best ambassadors out there, your colleagues. Employee Advocacy is therefore involving your employees in the distribution of content. Make sense right? Because employees are in a relevant social network to spread teh word. In addition, you trust your peer better than a brand, or an unknown CEO. Employees are willing to share content, provided that they:

  • Can be proud of the company and the content to be distributed
  • Benefit from that content themself
  • They can give something to their network 
  • They can teach their network something new
  • They are being able to build up an authority
  • They are facilitated when creating content
  • They are facilitated in sharing content

What does employee advocacy give you?

If you handle it in the right way, it can give you so much. Both for the employer and the employees. First the benefits for the employer;

  • Up to 8 times more reach
  • 7 times higher conversion on leads
  • Up to 20% savings on recruitment costs for new colleagues
  • Companies with an employee advocacy program perform 200% better
  • Saving on marketing costs

But there are also many benefits for employees to participate in an employee advocacy program;

  • Research shows that 86% of colleagues participating in an ‘employee advocacy program’ indicate this has a positive effect on his or her career.
  • You colleague is recognized as an expert or ‘thought leader’ in their network
  • Sales colleagues are 4 times as successful
  • Your colleague gets a lot more interaction on his posts

For which companies is employee advocacy interesting?

Employee advocacy is interesting for many companies, but of course not for every company. Therefore, check whether your company meets one of these conditions:

  • You have more than ten employees
  • Publish news and / or blogs on your website
  • You use online channels to generate leads
  • You engage in content marketing
  • You are regularly looking for new colleagues

Now you know everything about employee advocacy, it is important to take the next steps. We are happy to give you a step-by-step plan, you can use to successfully implement employee advocacy within your company.

Employee advocacy steps

Step 1; Know what you share and for what purpose

First of all, consider what you want to share and from what objective? This is always a derivative of the business objective and then from the marketing objectives. The core values ​​of your company are central.

Step 2; Find a sponsor within the management

Now that you have clarified what your strategy is from step 1, it is time to get your management on board. This is best achieved by finding a sponsor within the management who you think is aware of the relevance of a content strategy. You can convince someone through cases of competitors or, for example, figures from a pilot that you have already executed.

Step 3; Structure your content

Make sure that you are able to regularly create content on the specific themes that are important for your company. Starting is better than waiting for everything to be in order, but with a bit of structure you really get ahead. Make a content calendar so you keep an overview.

Step 4; Find early adopters

Select the social media precursors within your organization. Who are the ones who often share or even produce content? Search across different disciplines and not just in marketing or communication. And don't forget to involve a member of the management team as mentioned in step 2. Make a group of these early adopters and meet regularly (yes, a content hub). Ask if they want to be involved in the new employee advocacy program and train them. Give them a LinkedIn course if needed, or a vlog or blog course. Ask if they want to become a coach in their department for people who want to share content, but are uncertain about the correct tone of voice or even content sharing.

Step 5; Prepare KPIs

There we go again, analytics are key. To actually determine what your ROI is, you must measure what you are doing. Consider, for example, the number of people participating, but also the level of commitment or the number of shared messages by employees. Important information to convince more MT members in addition to your sponsor within management of the usefulness and necessity of content marketing.

Step 6; Organize pilots

Now that you have a first group of early adapters and a content calendar, you can start with the pilot. See how content sharing works, talk to each other about it and reward the people who participate. Even the most intrinsically motivated people enjoy being rewarded. Give something away or make top ten lists. Also make sure you start with a 0 measurement and share clear KPIs. You will learn from it and it motivates your colleagues.

Step 7; Recruit more ambassadors

Recruit more colleagues after the pilot. This can be done in different ways. Personally via the early adopters or in the hall with a stand if you have a large company. Offer them an introductory course in which you show how they will profit from it. It is, however, important to realise not everyone in a company is willing of sharing content and this should therefore also be done on a voluntary basis.

Step 8; Facilitate your colleagues

Help your colleagues create and share content. Give them a vlog or blog course. How do you easily create content? A whole article is not necessary a post is enough. But also think of giving guidelines. Not so much to impose restrictions, but to give them certainty as to what and that they may share messages. Also think of tooling. SoWorker is a tool that makes it easy to share content. A social media manager prepares a message and sends it to colleagues who can share it at the touch of a button and also earn points. Gamification works and incentives can be very simple.

Step 9: Give your colleagues a stage

Your colleagues may not only spread the meassage of the company, but your company may also share the message of your colleagues. Your colleagues have something to say and that is relevant. Give them a stage and give them a section on the site where they can share their story. You humanize your brand. So that is a double win, because people trust people and not companies. That in mind you build authentic relationships with customers and potential employees. You could also organize events which your colleagues can share content about. A nice photo or video could make lots of impact. And don't forget to keep your colleagues informed of the impact they make with the help of KPIs.

Implementation of Employee Advocacy 

It may seem a lot of work, but if you need any help, SoWorker has enough implementation partners that can help with the implementation. The most important thing, however, is simply to start and move forward. If you have any questions, please contact us. We are happy to help you further.

Sources:

  1. Hinge Research Institute
  2. Social Media Today
  3. Marketing Advisory Network
  4. Onderzoek SHRM Capital
  5. Aberdeen Group