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What is employee advocacy?

Jamie Bell

Employee advocacy, often hidden in plain sight, holds the key to transforming your company’s brand presence in today’s digital landscape. It’s the authentic, grassroots promotion of your company’s mission, values, brand, and offerings by the very people who fuel its success – your employees! While it might already be happening spontaneously within your organization, there’s a compelling case for harnessing this phenomenon through a formal employee advocacy program.

The Essence of Employee Advocacy

At its core, employee advocacy is about empowering your workforce to become brand champions. It’s about allowing your employees to express their genuine enthusiasm for your company and share their unique perspectives with the world.

As you venture into the world of employee advocacy, you’ll find that its most visible manifestations often occur on platforms like LinkedIn, where employees proudly share their professional journeys, accomplishments, and insights. In fact, LinkedIn itself is a testament to the power of both official and unofficial employee advocacy.

While social media is a primary focus of employee advocacy programs, we’ve discovered that their impact can extend beyond the digital realm. Events, podcasts, and community-based initiatives also offer rich opportunities for employees to advocate for your brand.

Why Employee Advocacy Matters

Building a structured employee advocacy program has a long list of benefits that stretches across multiple departments (and ultimately, it lifts the entire company up as a whole).

For Marketing Teams

Expanding reach and engagement: Employee advocacy extends the reach of your marketing messages and content, resulting in greater engagement. According to a study by Cisco, employee posts on social media can generate 8x more engagement than when shared through official brand accounts.

Enhancing brand reputation: When employee voices share their excitement about your company, it not only boosts your brand’s image but also helps build trust with your target audience! 

Consistent messaging: Employee advocacy ensures a unified and coherent brand message across various social platforms, even those your brand may not actively engage with.

Free advertising: On average, a well-executed employee advocacy program involving 1,000 active participants can generate a staggering $1,900,000 in advertising value, as demonstrated in a study by Kredible.

Insights into effective messaging: Employee advocacy helps identify brand messages that genuinely resonate with your target audience, guiding your marketing strategy.

Organic lead generation: The authentic stories and insights shared by employees can generate organic leads and pique the interest of potential customers, serving as a valuable resource for your sales team.

For HR and People Teams

Talent magnet: Employee advocacy becomes a powerful magnet for talent acquisition, giving potential candidates a glimpse of a workplace where employees are genuinely proud of their roles. In fact, candidates are 40% more likely to apply for a job at a familiar company, according to a Glassdoor report.

Employee satisfaction: Existing employees experience a boost in morale as they witness their colleagues celebrate achievements and milestones on a public platform.

Thought leadership and expertise: Employees have the opportunity to establish themselves as thought leaders and experts in their respective roles or industries, with full support from the organization.

Employee referrals: An effective advocacy program can drive employee referrals for open positions, reducing hiring costs and expediting the recruitment process.

Building the employer brand: Employee advocacy plays a pivotal role in growing and strengthening your employer brand, letting potential recruits see firsthand why your organization is an exceptional place to work.

While employee advocacy is a natural fit for many organizations, it’s essential to remember that its authenticity cannot be manufactured or mandated. It thrives when employees genuinely believe in their organization and are free to express their unique voices.

Employee advocacy truly is a dynamic force that can positively impact marketing, HR, and sales efforts. It amplifies your brand’s reach, enhances its reputation, and fosters genuine engagement. To embark on this journey successfully, you’ll need a strong foundation of employee engagement, a culture of transparency and trust, a robust internal marketing strategy, and dedicated leadership.

An internal communications tool like Workshop, can help you level up your employee advocacy program! With Workshop, you can create engaging, on-brand internal emails in less time than ever with our drag-and-drop editor. Now, you can easily send engaging content to your team to get them bought in and encourage them to start sharing it! 

We also hook up to your employee data so you always have an up-to-date distribution list, give you all the analytics you need to gauge your success, and offer personalization features like audience segmentation and merge tags (so you can always provide your team with intentional, relevant, and engaging content in every email). See more in our 1-minute demo video!

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