Employee advocacy is when employees use their voices and platforms to promote their company, employer, resources, and offerings. Bottom line? Your employees are your greatest advocates.
Influencer culture is all around us. You can’t log onto social media without seeing some sort of paid advertisement. But influencer marketing doesn’t have to start and end with fashion, cool cars, and nifty Amazon finds—it’s the fastest-growing way to get new customers in the B2B world, as well.
In fact, 94% of B2B marketers who’ve tried influencer marketing feel it’s highly effective.1 But before you tap into a pool of external industry experts for sponsorships and promotions, look around your town hall meeting, the neighboring cubicle, or your fuzzy Zoom screen. These are the people who genuinely want success for your company because it’s theirs, too. These are your employee advocates.
The Importance of Employee Advocacy Programs
- Improve engagement on social media
- Expand the reach of posts and promotions
- Garner attention to recruiting efforts
- Qualify employee and client candidates
- Increase brand awareness and reputation
- Build your professional network
- And, ultimately, close more deals
Sounds ideal, but we’ll be the first to tell you that employee engagement isn’t something you can just turn on. Let’s discuss the foundation of a successful employee advocacy program.
Create the Right Environment 🌱
When your team is happy, they’re more likely to share their work life with the rest of the world. It’s important to foster a culture of candidness and encourage employees to speak freely through one-on-one meetings or anonymous feedback surveys, so company leadership can meet expectations and resolve concerns. Foster a safe space that encourages your team to share ideas, thoughts, opinions, and opportunities with others.
Employee advocacy requires organizational alignment. Employer branding gets everyone on the same page while helping to market your company to current and prospective employees. Use this checklist to determine areas of strength and opportunity within your employer branding program.
🐸: We hold weekly team meetings to discuss updates, workload, issues, and more. We also schedule cross-team collabs as needed. Company culture is our #1 priority, and we’re proud to be recognized as one of the Best Places to Work® in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania!
🐸: We have strong employer branding. Our mission, vision, and core values are clearly defined and communicated to all, which enhances our recruitment and onboarding strategies, social media presence, and employee satisfaction. This fuels our employee advocacy program.
Launch Your Employee Advocacy Program 🏁
A comprehensive employee advocacy program requires three steps.
- Establish Goals: What do you want to accomplish? Start small: have 100% of employees follow the company’s LinkedIn page and create a branded header image. Then, go big: hire X employees, generate X thought leadership blogs, and post X employee testimonials per quarter.
- Set Standards: Employee advocates represent you. Posts and other forms of communication should be professional, free of mistakes, and considerate of any guidelines you lay out. Encourage employees to ask managers to review public posts if there’s any doubt behind them.
- Put It in Action: This can take shape in a number of ways: social engagement, job referrals, resource promotions, blog authoring, and so on. The easiest thing you can do is share a social post with your team and ask them to hit that like button.
🐸: We share weekly, quarterly, and yearly targets, generating awareness around our goals. We also constantly ask each other to like, share, and comment on various posts for Sagefrog and our clients. To make employee advocacy even easier, we provide employees with pre-written posts to share, like this one from Sagefrog’s first-ever Leap Ahead Day.
Encourage Personal Branding & Thought Leadership 🤳
Oftentimes, people want to know why they’re being asked to do something—otherwise, it feels pointless. With more than 46 million users, LinkedIn is the largest and most effective social media platform for B2B marketing2. LinkedIn helps employees expand their professional networks, forge deeper client relationships, demonstrate thought leadership, and boost credibility. If you share why employee advocacy benefits the whole and the individual, you might notice an uptick in engagement.
🐸: LinkedIn employee advocacy is entirely voluntary (and fun!) for our team. We recently launched a blog series, Frogs Tell All, spotlighting one of our team members each quarter. Employee-focused content builds thought leadership and garners more personal support from fellow Frogs.
🐸: We deployed branded header images for team members to show off that they’re part of an awesome team. See below!
Recognize & Reward Employee Advocacy 🏆
Positive reinforcement is essential for an ongoing employee advocacy program. It validates team member efforts and encourages continued participation. You can reward employee advocates and company influencers in a number of ways. Shared a company post? Thank you! Wrote a blog for the website? Great job! Referred a new hire? Here’s a bonus! This entirely depends on the contribution, industry, and budget—but the more you recognize and reward your team, the more they’ll want to stay.
🐸: As marketing professionals, we naturally share more to our personal profiles, but our CEO and Co-founder, Mark Schmukler, is highly active, thanking team members for sharing posts, congratulating them on promotions, and so on. We also provide generous business and employee referral bonuses.
🐸: We celebrate our employee advocates. Each quarter, we ask everyone to nominate fellow Frogs who exemplified our core values. These individuals are applauded at our in-person, team-bonding events.
Employee Advocacy Tools: Sagefrog Staples
At the end of the day, employee advocacy starts at the top. Get in touch with Sagefrog to discuss your employer branding strategy and the transformative benefits of a simple B2B social media strategy. The sooner you empower your team to be brand influencers and thought leaders, the sooner you’ll have a team of employee advocates.