What is Employee Advocacy?
Employee Advocacy is including employees in social marketing by empowering them to share corporate content on their powerful social networks. This results in higher marketing ROI, sales and employee morale.
Employees, especially in startups are much closer to the business and are very proud to be part of the company. So, harnessing this energy to building higher brand value is quite simple, economical and very effective. Since employees are part of the same industry as the companies are, their network is very relevant when reached. For example, if a sales rep worked in IoT most of his/her network will be part of the same industry. So, reaching out this crowd is invaluable.
Does Employee Advocacy Work for Startups With Less Than 100 Employees?
With lean budgets or no set budgets, marketing teams can utilize any resources that are already available in order to spread the word about thier brands. In absence of an employee advocacy program, marketing content are posted on social company pages. (See How to Effectively Create and Manage LinkedIn Pages and How to Create and Manage Twitter Business Page). This means, the posts end up only the current followers’ feeds. If you are still building followers it is very hard to reach a large audience even after posting great content on social networks.
The only way to reach new audiences is when large groups of people share posts on their feeds to have a true Network Effect. So sharing by as many people as possible will reach higher number of audiences.
A sample social reach calculation,
Number of employees = 100 employees
Participation rate = 80%
Connection overlap among employees = 20%
Social Reach is 56,222 per article
To summarize, employee advocacy helps companies reach exponentially higher number of audiences with little effort. More number of employees can bring further reach, however quality of reach will be higher in growing companies. Because, every employee is invested much more than large companies and are more readily available to share company content on their networks.
Employee Advocacy Implementation Tips
1) Think Big, Get a Buy-in From Management Team
Open up the program to executives, partners and board members as well. Did you know the average number of LinkedIn connections is 930? Executives will have even more connections and stronger influence on their connections. You will be surprised how readily they will agree to post marketing content on their social networks.
Caution: Make sure they choose to share or not share the post, and also provide flexibility to add their own comments and mentions instead of automating every post on their feeds.
At Advo.Ninja (See What is Advo.Ninja), we make sure the program is completely opt-in. Every time there is a post, employees or anyone other participant gets to choose whether to share or not share the content on their feeds. They also get to see a preview of the content before posting easily through a single click.
2) Educate Employees Before Pushing a Tool on Them
Though it sounds quite simple for any social savvy employee to understand the benefits of Employee Advocacy, it yields much better results if the complete program is explained to them. In addition, employees much be educated on building their strong profiles on Social Networks (See Quick Fixes to LinkedIn Profile) before asked to start participating in the program.
Gather up all employees in a room ( or a conference call) and address FAQs such as
- How often I will be asked to share content?
- Do I need to provide Social network credentials to someone? (Advo.Ninja does not store passwords, instead requires only one-time authorization to repost)
- Can I choose content to be posted?
- Can I add my own comments to the post?
- How much time I need to spend to participate in this program? (Advo.Ninja users spend fraction of a second to post on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Because, it’s only a single click from email that does that job)
A customer of Advo.Ninja brought their all their 90 employees into a single meeting to introduce Employee Advocacy to them. Advo.Ninja team not only educated them but also helped them start using Advo.Ninja immediately. At the end of an hour call, all employees were set to use the tool and did not have to spend any more time going forward since they automated posts.
3) Automate Automate Automate
Automate as much as possible without losing personal touch on posts. By adding comments to posts, personal touch on any post will be increased. Advo.Ninja has the capability to automatically share content without any employee time consumption.
Caution : Do not post content more than 3 times a week if most of your employees have auto-post feature on.
Is Employee Advocacy a True Win-Win?
Employee Advocacy not only creates a win-win situation, but creates a win-win-win situation to Marketing team, Sales team and also to employees.
Brand messages each exponentially higher number of audiences when employees start spreading the word to their networks. Marketing teams can display ROI very clearly by gathering website traffic and lead generation. At Advo.Ninja we not only capture clicks to website, we also map it to individual employee. A Leaderboard is built based on number of shares and clicks to website. Marketing team should use this to reward and thank employees for their contribution.
Networks for sales teams are all on social networks these days. Knowledge sharing and curiosity building among people in the network is easily achieved by sharing relevant content frequently. If a prospect had read about a product or a service at least 6-7 times, there is a high chance he/she already is aware of the brand before a sales rep reaches out. This shortens the sales cycle.
When valuable content is shared frequently, employees get more profile views, connection requests and perceived as a thought leader. But, finding content that represent someone is not easy. Employer content will mostly be relevant to share on social networks especially with those that share a similar interest. Social networks rank profiles higher in search results if they are active, post, share or like content.
If posts can be automated, it’s in the interest of employees to embrace Employee Advocacy while being part of brand messaging. Advo.Ninja sends out an email every time content is posted on social networks. With a single click of a link, content is shared on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn at the same time.
Content Creation with Low Budgets?
Content creation can get very expensive especially if the brand is new and a new market is addressed. Hiring in-house content creators or utilizing marketing resources to create all the content can be very time consuming and expensive. So, use these three tactics to create content for frequent postings.
Temporary Content Writers
Fiverr has many video makers, freelance writers, editors and even proofreaders available for as low as $5 an article. Before jumping into giving work to unknown experts,
- jot down details of at least 5 blogs to test writers’ fit to your needs
- Provide sample blogs of your own
- Communicate the style in which you want the blogs to be written
- Make sure writers also include right keywords for maximizing SEO
Content curation using services like Content Gems sends out industry news everyday based on your keywords. This is very resourceful to show thought leadership and post frequently on social networks.
Write Evergreen Content
When content is very specific to an event or news, those cannot be reposted later. However, if you invest more time creating evergreen content that is relevant for at least a few months or a year, they can be reposted on social networks to reach audiences further. Especially on networks like Twitter, posting content multiple times a day is crucial in reaching out audiences around the world in different time zones. Evergreen content can be scheduled in advance to be reposted multiple times over a month.