Employee advocacy is increasing in importance – so should it form part of your social media strategy? What about large vs small companies? What are the benefits?
Employee advocacy isn’t new – it’s been around as long as social media has. Engaged employees are quite often proud about working for their employer, more likely to follow their company accounts and share that content on their personal profiles. That is employee advocacy in action. So the chances are this is already happening at your company. If you analyse who shares your content it will likely be made up of employees as well as others.
Employees following official company pages is important, not to bolster (the age-old and increasingly overlooked metric of) follower numbers but to form a communication channel directly from the company to the employee. In complex multi-nationals as well as smaller companies receiving news as an employee is vitally important. Especially as anything published on social media is open to all. If a customer knows something before an employee it can be quite embarrassing!
There lies the disconnect between employee – social media – customer.
It helps employees keep up to date with what is happening in your company so should work as an internal communication channel. It’s a great way to humanise your company. It can give your content more credence as it’s coming from a real person rather than an anonymous company. You can drastically increase reach in a social world where company organic reach is declining and more importance is given to what individuals are saying. If desired it can increase social sales and with the implementation of a social policy it can professionalise your employee presence on social.
If you’re a small company that cannot afford a platform that is dedicated to managing employee advocacy, consider a weekly email news round up with social share links that employees can use to share on their personal profiles, it’s free!
If you have the budget and a large potential pool of employee advocates then consider an employee advocacy software – there are many available.
Employee advocacy should not replace a company’s social media presence, however it should complement it. It needs to be done in a professional non-intrusive conversational way. That means your employees should not become “tweet-bots” regurgitating company content and then forgetting about it. Rather your employees should become social advocates or employees 2.0, where they are an extension of the brand engaging and having meaningful conversations on behalf of the company.
Gone are the days where a company had one official spokesperson. Now, every employee is a potential spokesperson. Companies need to realise social media means the democratisation of their brands. Every employee is an extension of their brand and if they are smart they will adopt employee advocacy and use it to their advantage! Companies can’t stop or reverse this trend, they need to accept it and then embrace it.
Employee advocacy can join up employees – social media – customer in a way that gives employees more information, improves their personal social media profile. It can increase the company reach and help them to manage their brand as well as cultivate their brand story through their employees. Customers can get more content form the company and more importantly can open up dialogue with employees.
I predict over the next few years employee advocacy will only grow in importance and eventually form a part of all company social media strategies.
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