In a hyperconnected world, social media is more than just a content distribution channel. It gives companies a platform to reach their ideal audience, forge meaningful relationships with influencers and sales prospects, while building their brand authority. This isn’t to say content distribution has no place in your social media marketing strategy. But rather than churning out content from your site to the social media sphere, you need to leverage tactics that will enable you to reach more people in an impactful way. That’s where employee advocacy steps in.
What’s Employee Advocacy, and Why Is It Important?
Employee advocacy is essentially when a company’s employees promote the brand to their circles. This practice proliferated with the rise of social media networking, which made it significantly easier for individuals to develop their own online presence and reach.
The expanded role of social media in employee advocacy also made it possible for global teams to overcome the distance barrier and promote the brand together as a unit.
But why have employees shared your content on social media when you can do it yourself through official accounts?
According to statistics, employees extend the reach of content by up to 561 percent when shared via their own social media channels.
Of course, we can’t overlook the fact that online consumers are more likely to trust content from their peers than business pages. That’s why an employee’s posts can garner around eight times more engagement in the form of likes, comments, and shares.
Without further ado, let’s dig into the process of developing an employee advocacy strategy that works even for remote teams.
1. Make Employees Want to Be Brand Ambassadors
First and foremost, having employees regurgitate posts from your brand without any personality whatsoever is pointless.
You can’t just tell your team, especially remote freelancers, to share your content and call it a day.
If you want your target audience to believe in your brand’s messages, you need to make it sound sincere. In other words, your team must be genuinely interested in sharing their experiences with your organization if you want your employee advocacy strategy to succeed.
This may sound like a lot of work, but it all boils down to the transparency, mutual trust, and your commitment to providing employees with a positive environment. It also requires explaining to your team what’s in it for them – consistently sharing great, industry-relevant content helps to position them as micro-influencers worthy of following.
Local businesses, for example, may invest in team-building activities that give employees something to post about. For remote teams, you may plan get-togethers or video conferences that discuss the company’s goals and vision.
During these activities, encourage employees to use a branded hashtag that describes your company culture. Here is a great example from Reebok with their employee advocacy hashtag, #FitAssCompany:
2. Incentivize Employee Advocacy
Sometimes, employees need a little push before they can fully commit to an advocacy campaign.
You can increase participation by offering rewards to top-performing social media advocates, like official recognition, cash bonuses, or paid time off.
To spice things up, consider holding competitions on who can get the most engagement on social media. It should be easy to handpick a winner using the readily available engagement metrics on social media, such as the number of shares, comments, and reactions they’ve amassed during a certain time period.
You can also utilize employee advocacy platforms that allow you to “gamify” the experience with a built-in points system and leaderboards. This will allow you to reward employees who are consistently effective in promoting your brand — thereby motivating them as well as their teammates to do better.
3. Establish Clear Social Media Policies
Enabling employees to represent your brand on social media can improve retention and recruitment, but you must be aware of the risks.
Some posts may come off as offensive or insensitive to certain groups of people. To prevent employees from posting content that could put you under social media fire, here are a few social media policies you can adopt into your advocacy campaign:
- Avoiding Controversial and Political Subjects
The last thing you need is an employee posting about a controversial topic, which may reflect badly on your company. Explain to your employees that as ambassadors, they’re going to need to keep these thoughts to themselves.
- Being Responsible with Sensitive Information
Apart from potentially inflammatory posts, your employees should also avoid publicizing confidential information. This could pertain to rebranding plans, future product announcements, and private customer information.
- Responding to the Audience
When called upon to respond to a customer’s question or feedback — be it negative or positive — your employees must follow a positive etiquette. They must, at all times, use polite language and avoid letting their emotions get in the way of their duties.
4. Invest in a Tightly-Knit Online Culture
Project management platforms can help bring the spirit of social media right to your organization. This is crucial if you enable remote work or employ freelancers for flexibility.
Put simply, a project management platform serves as a virtual workplace where your employees can brainstorm ideas, share documents, and stay on top of ongoing tasks. Trello is as simple as you can get when it comes to project management. It allows you to turn individual tasks into cards and organize them into lists.