Brand Advocacy ~ 14 min

The Employee Advocate: A Key Player in Your Modern Business Strategy

Marketing Team, Experts in Employee Advocacy, Sociabble
Marketing Team Experts in Employee Advocacy

There are many ways to spread positive brand awareness in the digital age, with new online platforms and outlets providing all kinds of channels for communication. But in order to utilize these information streams to their full potential, businesses have to harness the power of their own employee advocates. But the challenge: advocates need to be trained and given the proper tools to serve as effective brand ambassadors.

In this article, we’ll explain why employee advocacy is so powerful, and provide simple solutions for turning your most enthusiastic employees into a potent force for spreading brand awareness. 

But first, what is an employee advocate?

Perhaps the best place to begin is with the actual meaning of the term. What, exactly, is an employee advocate? Well, employee advocacy simply means an employee who supports and promotes their organization, acting as a positive spokesperson and ambassador. They can help raise brand awareness, enhance the company’s reputation, and contribute to its growth and success. The employees participating are the brand’s biggest cheerleaders, basically. 

And how do they do this? Simple. Employee advocacy happens when they share positive news and content about the company on their personal social media channels, participate in discussions about the company, recommend the company’s products or services, and provide positive testimonials.

But they can do even more than that. They also attract new talent by sharing their positive experiences of working at the company. Employee advocacy is a powerful form of word-of-mouth marketing that leverages the trust and credibility inherent in personal relationships.

To summarize:

What is an employee advocate?

An employee advocate actively supports and promotes their organization, acting as a positive spokesperson. Through social media, discussions, and testimonials, they boost brand awareness, enhance the company’s reputation, and attract talent. Employee advocacy leverages personal relationships for powerful word-of-mouth marketing.

employee advocate

The Importance of an Employee Advocacy Program in the Digital Age

So why does it matter? An employee advocacy program is a structured strategy where employees are encouraged and incentivized to support the company’s brand, products, or services by sharing positive news, content, and experiences on their personal social media channels.

This is crucial because it is organic and authentic; potential customers, and employees, trust social media information that comes directly from employees, in terms of increased brand awareness. For example, they might totally ignore a sponsored post or an online ad for a brand, but when an actual person they follow online talks about how great their company is, well, they’re much more inclined to listen. This is why employee advocacy works. 

The Specific Benefits of Employee Advocacy Programs for Companies

So we’ve covered why brand advocates are effective. But what about how employee advocacy leaders are so effective? What specific benefits will they bring to your company? Here are the areas where they can truly have a positive effect:

Enhanced Brand Image:

Let’s face it: image matters when it comes to marketing, now in the digital age, perhaps more so than ever. And employees serving as social media brand ambassadors can significantly enhance a company’s brand image through their authenticity and personal touch. 

Their firsthand experiences and insights about the company are perceived as more genuine and trustworthy compared to traditional corporate communications, which can sometimes seem impersonal or overly promotional. This authenticity boosts credibility and fosters trust among their personal networks. 

Moreover, employees can share unique stories and experiences that resonate on a personal level across social media, making the brand more relatable and approachable while sharing the company culture. Positive endorsements from employees also generate beneficial word-of-mouth, a form of promotion that is highly valued as people tend to trust recommendations from individuals they know more than traditional advertising. And when employees openly discuss their work, it provides a peek into the company’s operations and culture. 

This transparency can enhance the company’s reputation, conveying an image of honesty and integrity that is appealing to both potential customers and future employees. Employee advocacy can add this element, while honing an employee’s personal brand on social media at the same time.  

Increased Reach and Engagement:

Some audiences and some potential customers are just not easy to reach. Luckily, each employee in a company has a unique social network, both online and offline. These networks may consist of friends, family, professional connections, and acquaintances, many of whom may not be directly accessible through the company’s traditional marketing channels. When employees share company-related content within these networks, they effectively extend the company’s reach to a broader audience. This extended reach can lead to increased brand exposure and awareness on social media. 

Furthermore, content shared by employees often receives higher engagement than content shared through corporate channels. This is because people are more likely to interact with, comment on, or share posts from individuals they know personally.

 As a result, every like, share, or comment not only increases visibility but also potentially amplifies the message to an even larger audience. Thus, employees sharing company content as part of an employee advocacy program can significantly enhance the company’s digital footprint, driving greater reach and social media engagement.

A report on LinkedIn stated that while only 3% of employees share content about their company, those shares are responsible for driving a 30% increase in total engagement a company sees. This suggests that even a small percentage of employees actively sharing and becoming involved in employee advocacy can have a substantial impact on a company’s overall social media engagement levels.

employee advocate quote forbes

Improved Talent Acquisition:

It’s a fact: employee advocacy helps bring in top talent to an organization. When employees share their positive work experiences, achievements, and the company’s mission on their personal networks, it provides a genuine insight into the company culture, and what it’s like to work at the organization. 

This authenticity can be compelling to potential candidates who value transparency and are looking for a deeper understanding of a company beyond the job description. It essentially allows prospective employees to see the company through the eyes of those who know it best: its current employees. 

Furthermore, a strong employer brand fostered through employee advocacy can lead to a variety of benefits. It can lower recruitment costs by attracting higher-quality candidates who are a better fit for the company. It can also improve retention rates as employees who advocate for their company are typically more engaged and satisfied with their jobs. Simply put, employee advocacy can serve as a strategic social media asset in attracting top talent and enhancing a company’s employer branding.

Boosted Employee Engagement:

Almost all companies want to see their workforce engaged and involved with company life. Employee advocacy, as it turns out, can significantly boost employee engagement, benefiting both the company and the workforce. When employees are encouraged to share their work experiences, they often feel more valued and connected to the company. This act of sharing creates a sense of ownership and pride in their work, fostering a higher level of job satisfaction. 

Furthermore, when employees see their colleagues advocating for the company, it can foster a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose, enhancing overall morale. It also promotes open communication and transparency, which are key factors in employee engagement. 

Additionally, by becoming advocates, employees can develop new skills such as social media literacy and personal branding, which can further increase engagement by promoting personal growth and development. Therefore, employee advocacy serves not only as a powerful marketing tool but also as a catalyst for boosting employee engagement within the organization.

Advantages of Being an Employee Advocate:

We’ve established that encouraging employee advocacy is good for any business. But what’s in it for the employees themselves? Why should they use their social networks and online platforms to share the positive qualities of their place of work? Well, there are a few ways that employee advocacy can truly help any member of a workforce succeed. 

Professional Growth:

Employee advocates don’t just help their company–they help their own career. Advocating for the employer brand can significantly aid in an employee’s career growth and personal branding. By sharing insights, achievements, and experiences related to their work as part of social media advocacy, employees can demonstrate their expertise and thought leadership in their respective fields. This exposure can attract professional opportunities, such as speaking engagements, collaborations, or even promotions within the organization. 

Furthermore, consistently advocating for the company helps employees build a strong personal brand that is associated with the values and successes of the organization. This not only enhances their reputation within the company but also in the larger industry. It positions them as informed ambassadors for their company, which can set them apart in the job market and open doors for future career advancement. 

Hence, employee advocacy can serve as a strategic tool for personal branding and career growth, and encourage employees to get involved. Employee advocacy efforts often involve interacting with industry professionals, clients, or potential partners, helping employees to expand their professional network. And they can enhance their own personal brand in the process. 

Greater Job Satisfaction:

Happy employees generally find more meaning in their work. Being involved in company promotion can significantly enhance job satisfaction and employee engagement. When employees actively participate in promoting their organization, they feel a stronger sense of connection and commitment to the company’s mission and values. This involvement gives them a sense of purpose and direction, enhancing their job satisfaction as they see their contributions impacting the success of the business.

Beyond that, employee advocacy cultivates a culture of ownership and responsibility, fostering an engaged workforce that is motivated to excel. Employees who are engaged in this way are not just satisfied with their jobs; they are enthusiastic about their work and take positive action to further the company’s reputation and interests. Thus, involvement in company promotion can be a powerful driver of job satisfaction and high levels of employee engagement.

Rewards and Recognition:

Of course, a little extra incentive never hurts. And active employee advocates can be rewarded and recognized in various ways that can significantly boost their motivation and engagement. 

One of the most common forms of recognition is public acknowledgment, where the company highlights the efforts of these advocates during staff meetings or in internal communications. This not only gives them a sense of accomplishment but also sets a positive example for other employees for becoming involved in a successful employee advocacy program.

And it can go beyond mere recognition. Companies can provide tangible rewards such as bonuses, gift cards, or extra vacation days. Additionally, active advocates can be given unique opportunities for professional development, such as attending industry conferences, leading new projects, or participating in leadership training programs. 

Such rewards and recognition not only show appreciation for the advocate’s efforts but also encourage a culture of advocacy among all employees.

It’s a win-win scenario where both the employee and the company benefit.

recognition platform for employee advocate

Skill Development:

Believe it or not, all that advocating will actually help skills that are critical for business success. Being an advocate for a company often involves promoting the organization’s values, products, or services across various platforms, including social media. This can help employees improve their social media literacy as they learn to navigate different platforms, understand algorithms, create engaging content, and monitor online trends. 

Advocacy may also involve speaking at industry events or meetings, which can enhance public speaking skills. Employees learn to articulate their ideas clearly, present compelling arguments, and engage with diverse audiences. 

Additionally, advocacy provides ample opportunities for networking. Employees get to interact with industry professionals, potential clients, or partners, and even media personnel. This can help them build valuable relationships, understand different perspectives, and gain insights into industry trends. Hence, being an advocate for a company can be a powerful way for employees to develop and refine a broad range of skills.

Sociabble: A Platform Designed for Creating Your Own Employee Advocacy Program

If you’re a little intimidated by the idea of starting an employee advocacy program on your own, or even enhancing the one you already have, not to worry: it doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult. In fact, Sociabble, an employee communication platform used by industry leaders around the world, has features built in that make employee advocacy easy.

employee advocate - content to share

By incorporating Sociabble into your communications plan, a host of powerful employee advocacy tools will become available to users, bringing their advocacy efforts to a whole new level. These include: 

Easy Content Sharing:

Sociabble is designed to provide employees with a steady stream of content that they can share effortlessly across their social platforms with just a few clicks. All major social media platforms are supported, and content can be targeted precisely to different employee groups according to relevance. Additionally, integrated AI features can help advocates to craft content on their own quickly and easily, in a variety of visual formats.

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Real-time Tracking and Analytics:

Sociabble provides real-time data analytics to measure the impact of your employee advocacy efforts. You can monitor the effectiveness of content by media type, time of day, category, or length, and make adjustments to optimize your strategy. 

Employee Training and Engagement:

Sociabble encourages employee participation through training modules and engagement features that include rewards and gamification. Admins can also create campaigns, and even add badges for specific achievements to recognize employee excellence. It’s simple to set up a sharing challenge based around a sport or a social event, and boost engagement accordingly.

User Generated Content:

With Sociabble, the employees themselves can enrich the sharable content library by suggesting relevant content for approval with Sociabble’s employee advocacy tool. This can include the generation of expert content, or just sharing company culture and life moments. With Sociabble, employees can let their own creativity shine.

Ambassadors Rewards:

Thanks to Sociabble’s reward features, you can offer prizes like points or multi-level badges to your employees when they take specific actions. You can also incentivize employees with rewards that make sense to them, like offering trees planted in real forests around the world via Sociabble Trees.

sociabble trees platform

Case Study: Tata Consultancy Services Teams Up with Sociabble for Successful Employee Advocacy

Tata Consultancy Services is a leader in digital transformation, with a global network of innovation and delivery centers. Based out of Mumbai, TCS has over 436,000 of the world’s best-trained consultants in 46 countries. One area where TCS saw potential for growth, however, was in online lead generation. They knew that the enthusiasm and expertise of its large employee base could be harnessed to promote the brand and interact with potential clients . . . but how?

By teaming up with Sociabble, TCS was able to create an employee advocacy program quickly, in just under a month, with full support of the Sociabble Customer Success team.

The Sociabble platform chosen by TCS includes engagement features like a built-in engine for challenges and quizzes to boost interaction with posts, backed up by an employee advocacy mobile app that allows employees to participate on the go.

Additionally, a new content strategy of 70% tech-based company content, and 30% user generated content, which is usually industry-specific and targeted via a specific channel, has been incorporated.

And the results of TCS’s efforts are impressive. In equivalent paid media, TCS was able to see that they saved $200,000 in marketing spend for online exposure thanks to the employee advocacy program, in just the first three years. 

And thanks to Sociabble’s analytics package, they are able to track the number of downloads by region and the amount of time people spend on their website thanks to the program. And as a result, they have seen their conversion rate double, from their previous average of between 3% and 5%, to a conversion rate of 10%.

Convincing proof that with the right employee advocacy platform and employee advocacy strategy in place, companies can truly accomplish amazing things!

Interested in learning more about how Sociabble can help your business get an effective  employee advocacy program off the ground and running? Or maybe you have a program, but know you could be getting more out of it? Just drop us a line.

We’ve already worked with companies around the world, including industry leaders like Renault Group, Edenred, TCS and Pierre Fabre, and we’d love to discuss ways we can help your business achieve all of its communication goals.

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