8 tips for boosting engagement through employee advocacy

Employee advocacy not only benefits organisations, it can help employees too.

Employee advocacy on social media is a simple yet effective way to amplify an organisation’s key messages, raise brand awareness and significantly increase its reach on social media.

Indeed, the general public trusts social media content shared by their friends and family 25% more than content shared by CEOs, according to research by Edelman.

What’s more, LinkedIn and Altimeter Group found that socially engaged organisations are 57% more likely to obtain increased sales leads. So, a solid amplification strategy can in effect lead to new business opportunities.

There are benefits for employees, too. Recent studies have shown that including employees in your communication efforts can help to retain and engage them. For instance, a study by Weber Shandwick found that increased collaboration gives employees the ability to connect and collaborate with each other and with leadership.

They also discovered that 33% of employees are already posting updates about their employers without any encouragement – so just think what an advocacy strategy could achieve.

Here are a few tips.

1. Offer social media training

Don’t assume that all employees are comfortable using Twitter et al; provide training opportunities so they can get to grips with the idiosyncrasies of each platform, such as what, when and how often to post.

2. Provide a set of clear guidelines

This can encompass the type of language and tone of voice you’d like employees to use when posting on social media, as well as how they should respond to negative comments. Ask your legal team for their input too.

3. Make it voluntary

Don’t dictate to your employees; at the end of the day it is their social media accounts and it is up to them if and how often they share your content.

4. Content is king might be a cliché, but it doesn’t make it any less true

Remember that content needs to be of value and something that employees want to share on their personal profiles. LinkedIn suggests that employees share professional content for three reasons: enhancing knowledge, strengthening their network and boosting personas. So, think about what will make them look good in front of their peers and enhance their personal profiles.

5. Experiment with different types of content

Launching a new product? Ask one of your employees who has a large social media reach to put together an Instagram Story for the launch. Looking to engage employees? Offer fun, interactive content that they and their friends will enjoy – for instance, Buzzfeed-style quizzes are always incredibly popular when shared on Facebook.

6. Set up an employee-specific hashtag

Ask employees to simply share images and updates about their daily working lives using this hashtag. This is a great way to showcase your work culture to the outside world, as well as attract new talent to your organisation. TripAdvisor (#GoTripAdvisor), LinkedIn (#LinkedInLife) and Cisco (#WeAreCisco) are just some of the companies already doing this.

7. Incentivise and recognise your advocates

Ask employees to post images around a campaign or new product and those with the most engagements can win a prize. This can also be used as an opportunity to gather additional content by asking participants to tag in the company’s official social media accounts. It’s also vital to recognise those who regularly share content so ask managers to thank them in team meetings.

8. Set objectives and measure success

Set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) objectives. What do you want to achieve by asking your employees to advocate for your brand? Higher engagement, increased sales leads, or more positive brand sentiment? Then put KPIs in place to measure success; this could be engagement rates for individual posts; new followers; or the reach and use of any hashtags (a tool like hashtracking offers real-time monitoring of hashtag campaigns).

What is employee advocacy?

Organisations invite and encourage their employees to actively promote the organisation and support its communication efforts, primarily through using their own personal social media accounts.

Christina McPherson

Christina is a senior editor/account manager at beetroot