People buy from people, and this applies to B2B as well. Numbers, infographics, and automation are all critical aspects of brand promotions, but they do not outweigh the actual “human touch” in promotion initiatives.
During promotions, marketing teams often perform all the heavy lifting of using paid ads, running multiple campaigns, building a brand’s company page, and so on. And no matter how effective these strategies are, they can take months to show results.
So how can you add a touch of humanity back into the process? Using your employees.
This process goes by the name of employee advocacy and is gaining much popularity lately. Research suggests that brands using employee advocacy earned 266% more conversions in just 90 days.
Employee advocacy is promoting your brand and products/services using employees as the medium. Your employees, combined, usually have more followers on social media than your brand’s page does.
A LinkedIn executive scanned over 50,000 pages and found employees to have 10x more followers than their company pages. So naturally, employees would receive more engagement for their unique content.
But does this mean employee advocacy benefits your brand alone? The answer is no. The process benefits your employees, too. Since the spotlight is now on your employees, they are viewed as field experts, strengthening their personal brands.
Here are a few more benefits brands achieved using employee advocacy:
But getting your employees onboard to become active brand advocates is easier said than done. And this is what this article helps you with – the seven best practices for a smoother, best-performing employee advocacy program.
7 employee advocacy best practices to follow
1. Have a goal in place
Having a goal defines the “why” behind any initiative. So clearly define the objective you wish to achieve with your employee advocacy program. This will help you identify steps and track and measure success in the long run.
Having goals makes it easier to communicate with your employees and build motivation. Your goal could be to gain more leads, create brand awareness amongst your employees’ peers, recruit more, or increase sales of your products or services.
Also, your goals must include selective KPIs and metrics that help track progress and measure outcomes. Some useful KPIs to track are website traffic, engagement, organic reach, click-through rates, conversions, etc.
2. Establish seamless communication between departments
Ensuring employees and leaders are on the same page is critical for running a smooth employee advocacy program. As a first step, create a winning communication strategy and avoid miscommunication that would hamper progress.
Having an internal communication strategy breaks any barriers between departments that may exist and makes content sharing a breeze. Start having face-to-face conversations between teams, and consider any uncertainties your employees may have before going all in. And set your future advocates up for success by giving thorough instructions and maintaining an open communication channel at all times.
3. Incentivize with rewards and recognition
Create a positive atmosphere where your employees actively participate in being your brand advocates. And nothing shouts motivation than offering rewards and recognition.
Talk to your employees about the benefits they could receive apart from helping them be subject matter experts and building a terrific personal brand. For example, you can offer discounts on your products or services, gift cards, paid time off, etc., for employees who outperform each month.
4. Gamify the program to make it more engaging
Make your employee advocacy programs more engaging and enjoyable by inventing creative contests and games. Include contests with the previous point and add prizes; you will have a super exciting campaign.
For instance, to make things more interesting, create leaderboards to track winners using your brand’s hashtag. Hashtags help track the number of impressions or engagements drawn for each post. Hashtags can also increase your brand awareness; therefore, it’s a win-win situation.
Google employees famously use the hashtag #lifeatgoogle on social media:
5. Be transparent about numbers
It’s crucial to be transparent about your results with your employees. Tracking and showcasing numbers such as conversions, the number of leads generated, etc., makes your employees proud of the impact they helped generate.
Ensure you continuously receive your employees’ support by being transparent about any developments or upgrades within the employee advocacy program.
6. Prepare a content plan
Without a content strategy, employees lose track, and things can quickly get out of hand. So ensure your employees have a blueprint handy so that the quality of their content stays consistent and compliant.
Here are some tips for creating a great content plan:
- Curate content plans by involving your employees and listening to their unique points of view instead of solely focusing on branded content.
- Mix a healthy blend of employee-generated content, customer insights, and branded/unbranded content. For instance, you can create content around unique insights from your customers, product announcements, brand achievements, or thought leadership to build more authority.
- Refine content from time to time based on the numbers on your targeted metrics or KPIs.
7. Run employee NPS surveys
Employee net promoter score (NPS) surveys measure your employees’ satisfaction and the likelihood of them recommending your organization to their peers. The survey is a foolproof way to indicate how loyal and engaged your employees are at work.
You can ask your employees to rate your questions on a scale of 1-10. Based on these results, you can accurately determine areas where your organization must make more effort and expose any hidden roadblocks.
Happy employees posting engaging content about your brand online can attract new customers and pique the interest of curious potential recruits. Your employee advocates create empathy, voice unique opinions, and bring the much-needed personal touch to their content.
Using your employees as your brand influencers is thus a mutually rewarding program for both parties — the brand and the employees.