#DidYouKnow: “An average employee advocate is 2 x more trusted than a company CEO” - Edelman Trust BarometerIn.
Now that the above line has got your attention, it's time to explore more about this interesting topic "Employee Advocacy"
Social Media has been playing an important role in our lives, both personally and professionally. Companies too have been trying to en-cash this and promote their organization via various communication channels. They have been investing lot of money on social channels and there has been a race to buy exclusive space for their content on every possible platform. Sponsored posts have been gaining lot of attention and every brand wants to be seen 1st among all. There is nothing wrong in this, if it works, it works. But the important question is that do you think this does stick on to the audience? How much is the audience able to recall?
During this entire journey, there was something that was missing, something that would make sure that the message would catch the attention of the audience and stick too. This is where the concept of "Employee Advocacy" came into limelight. Advocacy is not a new term, but adding an employee in front of it is an important component. Companies are now trying to leverage the network of employees and are encouraging them to share relevant content via their social channels. Employee Advocacy is nothing but empowering your employees to promote companies brand. The audience is able to relate to the communication that is shared by a real person/employee, rather than a brand which has no face or an emotion.
The important question now is, why would the employee share content on her/his personal network? How can companies encourage this behavior? The simple answer to this complex question is, that the employees need to have a sense of belongingness and trust towards the company. Once this is accomplished, half the battle is won.
The next step is to build consensuses among leadership and marketing team around employee advocacy. It’s more to do with the mindset of companies and employees. Both need to work towards leveraging Employee Advocacy. This data might be handy to convince the need for a focused employee advocacy program “Today, 47% workers were born after 1980. By 2025, more than 75% of workers will be of “social media generation” So start early.
This will help the organization to commit to this program and help them to pick this up as an important tool for their employer branding strategy.
There are lots of Employee Advocacy platforms that are available in the market. But it all depends on what is your organizations' requirements are. Are you looking for a platform that will help you create content, or you just need a platform that will publish the content? Tools such as Trapit, Sociabble, Hootsuite Amplify, LinkedIn Elevate, Bambu, Smarp, Post Beyond etc are available in the market. Smarp is one of the platforms that has created a first professional influencer index, named “SmarpScore”. This showcases the professional influence of employees and also measures the impact of the network. Companies have started to leverage various Employee Advocacy tools as it helps in organizing and promoting the right content, with the help of employees.
Post selection of the platform, next important step is to have great content, a consistent one too. Companies need to work on creating content that is genuine and always keep employees at the center of these programs. This is true irrespective of you having a platform or not. This will help to drive in more engagement and also helps employees to share posts, propose interesting articles and grow their network too. In short, it’s a win-win situation for both the parties. Employees need to wear the brand, live the brand. If they don’t feel valued, they will not be your brand advocates. The journey does not end here. Companies must keep on building trust and keep creating genuine content that will encourage employees to advocate it on their social channels. This is an ongoing process. Consistent campaigns will help in creating awareness of such platforms among the employees. “What’s in it for me” statement must be addressed.
For passionate employees, money or reward may not be a motivating factor to advocate your brand. Now the million dollar question is, are you living the brand? Is your company creating a sense of belonging for employees? Are you providing them a platform wherein they can advocate your brand?