Employee advocacy ~ 16 min

A New Employee Advocacy Definition: The Ultimate Guide

What is employee advocacy and how can a structured program help you achieve good results in your business? In this article, we’ll tackle that very question, and explain everything you need to get an advocacy program off the ground and running.
Marketing Team, Experts in Employee Advocacy, Sociabble
Marketing Team Experts in Employee Advocacy
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What is an employee advocacy program? How does it work, how does it help? If you’ve been asking yourself these questions, you’re not alone. And–consider it a plus–you probably realize the importance of employee advocacy and are considering it for your organization. In the following guide, we’ve done our best to put together the answers: everything you need to know about EA, as well as the steps needed to start your own program.

Here at Sociabble, we’ve worked with companies in over 180 countries all over the world to launch effective employee comms and employee advocacy programs, including brands like Capgemini, Renault Group, and Pierre Fabre. Because we know how much uncertainty exists when it comes to the term, we thought it might prove helpful to create a concise employee advocacy guide. In fact, we’ve refreshed our earlier guide with our updated vision for the year ahead. 

If you already have an employee advocacy program in place, you can also discover our white paper about boosting your own employee advocacy program in a changing world.

1. What is an Employee Advocacy Program?

So what exactly is the employee advocacy definition? It’s no secret that employees are the most crucial resource at any given company. But what is often overlooked is that they can also be a brand’s most powerful ambassadors.

Simply by using their own enthusiasm and influence to spread awareness across their social media networks.  “Employee advocacy” has been a hot topic as of late, and with good reason—it’s seen as an essential part of any marketing platform in the digital era.

But what is it, exactly? What is the employee advocacy definition?  Essentially, employee advocacy is what happens when employees use their own social media networks or other information channels to promote their company.

By sharing the right content, liking updates, and even creating company-related content of their own, they spread positive brand awareness and become online ambassadors of the brand. Because this word-of-mouth publicity is more authentic and organic, potential consumers tend to trust it more.

After all, wouldn’t you trust a friend’s recommendation far more than an advertisement you saw online?  And then there’s also the question of reach. The nature of social media means that even a relatively small number of online supporters can result in a tremendous amount of reach. And if you get a substantial percentage of your workforce on board, the possibilities are endless.

For example: if your company has 100 employee advocates with a social media network of 500 people, with just 10 shares a month, you’ve already created 500,000 touchpoints. That potential for reach is why employee advocacy can be so effective, even if you start out relatively small. A little employee advocacy can go a long way.

exemple of what is employee advocacy

2. Why is Employee Advocacy Important?

We’ve covered the employee advocacy definition, but the question remains, why does it matter? Well, as Jules Schroeder explains in Forbes, “the content you share represents who you are and what you stand for – it is your digital footprint.”

The advantage of an employee advocacy program is that it allows you to combine the aggregation of brand, third-party, and employee-generated content with the provision of dedicated employee advocacy training. Ultimately helping your employees to position themselves effectively on social media. 

Why does this matter? Because today, most consumers trust their online peers more than brands. And as stated by a recent article published in the Harvard Business Review, a key component of brand credibility is employee advocacy.

One study found that only 19% of employees feel that their work experience is matched by how their companies promote themselves publicly. And only 12% of employees put a lot of trust in what companies say about themselves (webershandwick.com).

Those are hard numbers to go up against. The best way to build trust in this landscape, though, is by letting your own employees speak for themselves. To use their own voices to create a positive impression as thought leaders. This is why it is so important that employees do not simply share content, but create it themselves.

The right employee advocacy strategy will encourage employees to actively engage in content creation.

The content you share represents who you are and what you stand for – it is your digital footprint.

Why Engage in Thought Leadership Activity?

Developing a professional presence on social media is a mark of confidence, as well as a sign of someone whose work is enjoyable and engaging. It’s also a great way of interacting with new and existing professional connections who may provide gateways to new opportunities.

Furthermore, thought leadership applies to all industries. It can be a software developer sharing a report on big data, or an architect blogging about ambitious projects. It’s truly universal. And it’s good for business.

  • 92% of B2B buyers engage with sales professionals if they are known as industry thought leaders.
  • Over 76% of buyers in general feel ready to have a social media conversation.
  • Overall, sales reps with high SSI scores have 45% more sales opportunities,
  • they are 51% more likely to hit quotas,
  • and they are 78% more likely to outsell their peers who don’t use social media at all (business.linkedin.com).

The numbers are hard to argue with: being a thought leader is a huge boost.