How to Leverage an Employee Advocacy Program and Increase Your Company’s Social Reach
If a company did something 3,850 times better than your company, would you want to learn more about what they’re doing differently?
We analyzed Vengreso’s social reach in comparison to a prospect’s to illustrate that our social selling training can show them how to leverage digital sales and marketing methods better. With a reach of 74 million, our social reach was 110 times larger than theirs – and they have 35 times the number of salespeople as Vengreso.
Our marketing team deserves some of the credit, but both companies only have one LinkedIn Company Page, one Twitter Account, one Facebook Account, and one YouTube Channel. So, why is there such a significant difference in reach? It’s our employee advocacy program! Every Vengreso employee shares content and engages on social networks.
The keys to an effective employee advocacy program come from consistency, regardless of the size of your team. Below you’ll discover the keys to an effective employee advocacy program and its benefits to marketing, sales, and HR. Get ready to improve social media performance 3,850 times over other companies.Ready to improve your #socialmedia performance 3,850 times over other companies? Find out how in this article from @KurtShaver. #EmployeeAdvocacy #DigitalSellingClick To Tweet
What Is an Employee Advocacy Program?
An employee advocacy program is a strategy used to encourage employees to advocate on a company’s behalf with social media. It’s not as simple as purchasing an employee advocacy tool and expecting results, though.
Digital sales coaching and training on policies, the technology, and content messaging will be necessary to get it off of the ground. Don’t expect overnight results – employee advocacy is a game for the long haul. You need to have reasonable expectations in mind and a few other facets in place.
How to Leverage Employees to Improve Social Media Reach
Unless your company is Coca Cola or Nestle, your employees likely have more reach on social media than the brand’s accounts. An employee advocacy program allows you to leverage your employees’ reach to share your message with more people. You need two things to get started, content and a platform.
Content is critical to employee advocacy. Dependent on your industry, you’ll want to provide a mix of content for your staff to share. Offer a blend of owned content that the company creates, and third-party content also referred to as OPC or “other people’s content”.
All of your employees can share the company-centric posts, but it’s as important that your sellers share third-party content to position themselves as experts in their field. You want the industry articles, videos, and posts provided to your salespeople for sharing to target your buyer personas. You will attract prospective buyers by incorporating topics from within the industry that are not directly related to what your company sells, but still pose as a pain point to buyers. We always recommend a mix of 50-50 or 60-40 of the company to third-party content distribution.
The content then needs to be loaded into an employee advocacy platform. It’s a tool that:
- Allows your company’s social media experts to upload and organize content for employees in various departments to share.
- Makes it easy for employees to pump out pre-written content (by the company’s social media marketing team) to their social media accounts.
- Provides analytics to measure effectiveness and shed some light on how to improve future content.
- Curates third-party content that is important to the employee (BBC News, Forbes, Client RSS Feed, etc.)
Benefits of Socially Engaged Employees
As you can see from the results of our employee advocacy program mentioned above, the numbers are in your favor when it comes to helping your employees be more socially engaged. EveryoneSocial also reported that when employees share brand messages, the reach grows by 561 percent. If your company’s social media accounts have few connections, and you have a decent number of employees, their added reach can be highly beneficial.
Another key benefit of an established employee advocacy program is the trust factor. More than three-quarters of people trust “normal” people over official branded content. Your company’s social posts are taken as pure advertising and seen as the least trustworthy, while customer posts are the most trusted. If you’re not taking advantage of your employees’ reach (whose trust lies somewhere in the middle), you’re missing a huge opportunity. Below are some of the direct benefits of a well-executed employee advocacy program.
Focused on lead generation and increasing the influence of their messages, employee advocacy boosts brand awareness for marketing. Reach will grow, views will expand, and leads will follow.
As employees share branded content, viewers will click through, and make their way to gated content, thereby capturing a new lead. Increased leads are tangible results from the program for marketing.When employees share brand messages the reach grows by 561%! Discover how #employeeadvocacy can help your company reach more people on #socialmedia in this blog post by @KurtShaver.Click To Tweet
The goal of sales is to have more conversations. That’s the difference between social selling vs social media marketing. Whereas marketing teams are excited about the number of fish they attract, sales teams take it a step further and understand the need to get the fish into the boat.
Employee advocacy opens the opportunity for new sales conversations. Once a like, comment, or share occurs, the salesperson can reach out and mention the engagement or talk about similar interests.
Another advantage of employee advocacy for sales is the development of your sellers’ personal brands. Sharing content about their industry helps them become known as the Go-to-Expert and remain top-of-mind with prospects. When your salespeople are thought leaders in their space, it helps attract new business and in turn, grows your company’s bottom line.
The top talent of the modern digital world wants to work with companies that are forward-thinking and digitally-savvy. An employee advocacy program positions a brand as up-to-date and can help in recruiting top salespeople and other employees. When strategizing content around recruitment, share things about the company culture to build the brand and post job openings to leverage your visibility.
It’s hard to attract new employees with the low unemployment rates we have today. An employee advocacy program affords visibility and credibility to capture the attention of qualified job seekers.When strategizing #employeeadvocacy content around recruitment, share things about the company to build the brand and post job openings to leverage your visibility. #DigitalSeling #SocialSelling @KurtShaverClick To Tweet
How to Start an Employee Advocacy Program
The employees where you’ll get the biggest bang for your investment, and where I suggest you start with an employee advocacy program, are your salespeople. Since salespeople see a direct financial benefit of increasing the company’s social reach, they’ll be more motivated to share than your engineering or accounting teams.
Sales also tend to be one of the largest teams in an organization with the most prominent social networks too. Not only are they more consistent about connecting with other people, but they are also more dialed into customer needs. When initiating your employee advocacy plan, begin with your salespeople and ensure you have focused on a social media sales plan NOT a brand awareness campaign. Remember, salespeople, are always looking for the WIFM. After all, sharing content is an essential part of social selling.
Start More Conversations with a Consistent Employee Advocacy Program
On average, half of the employees using social media for personal use are posting about their employer. Create an employee advocacy program to supply your salespeople with a consistent stream of content that starts more conversations and improves your business.
Are you ready to take your business to the next level with a digital selling program? Don’t miss our 10 Steps to Launching a Digital Sales Program.