Invite Your Whole Team onto the Field – How to Build Influence with Employee Advocacy

How to Build Influence with Employee AdvocacySocial media as a medium for marketing can be rewarding but also time-intensive, so the more internal resources a company can utilize, the better. This is why businesses should consider using employee advocacy to increase brand influence and social media reach.

Employee Advocacy Rewards and Risks

In my previous article, Customer Advocacy for Increased Social Media Influence, I provided resources that a company may use to transform its customer relationships into beneficial social media exposure. In this article I will provide information you may use to include your employees in your social media marketing strategy – commonly referred to as employee advocacy.

1. How does employee advocacy grow a business?

The primary reason for pursuing employee advocacy is scale. Used carefully, employee advocacy can also increase credibility, as customers see a broader company representation on social media. Multiple employees posting on social media looks a lot more impressive than just the summer intern posting content on your company’s behalf!

2. What does an employee advocacy strategy look like?

Some companies try to “hack” a solution. Employees may formally or informally be requested to follow the company on social media. They are frequently encouraged to like or share interesting content the company produces. Some companies may gamify these tasks by rewarding the most prolific content sharers. Ultimately, for this strategy to work, your company has to post to the same social media platforms its employees prefer; e.g. if your company is posting articles on LinkedIn, it’s not going to get many shares or likes on Facebook. 

3. How can an employee advocacy strategy go wrong?

The biggest risk associated with employee advocacy is that it could be abused, and then your company and/or its employees would be perceived as spammers. This can easily happen if the content your company shares on social media is bland, uninformative, or especially salesy. Pair this with an aggressive push from management that employees are to like and share ALL of the company’s posts, and this can be a recipe for disaster. To avoid this outcome, maintain an open channel between employees and your social media manager. If your company is gamifying its employee advocacy strategy, be sure to handsomely reward any employee who contributes his or her own content to share (pending prior review of course). It may just turn out that your employees are able to produce more compelling social media content than your marketing department.

Selecting an Employee Advocacy Platform

Within any reasonably sized company, trying to manage an employee advocacy strategy can quickly become overwhelming. This is where an employee advocacy platform comes into play. Advocacy platforms streamline the entire process, both for social media managers and employees. Critically, they provide analytics that help to inform content strategies and provide insights into the strategy’s overall success.

At time of writing, there’s only a handful of employee advocacy platforms available. Being designed for business, capabilities within these platforms run the gamut from focused employee advocacy functionality to full-blown marketing platform.

Because the employee advocacy social media platform space remains relatively uncrowded, finding a solution that can work for your company is not an overwhelming assignment. Here are the more popular vendors in this space, ranked by traffic:

If your company is small, SocialHP would be a logical place to start as it offers a free account tier for teams of up to 5 users. As a newer player in this market, they also advertise as being aggressively priced relative to GaggleAMP – the most popular player in the market as determined by traffic at time of writing – and EveryoneSocial, which comes in a close second. SocioAdvocacy is, like SocialHP, a new contender with up-front pricing and a free demo offer.

If your company is already using Sprout Social for its employee advocacy efforts, Bambu would be a logical starting place for an employee advocacy platform, since it is made by the same company and is likely to have a familiar look and feel. PostBeyond and DynamicSignal fill in the middle and shouldn’t be ignored if your company is looking for a mature, capable platform.

Encourage Employee Advocacy, because Everyone Benefits

In a time when anyone can set up a website and claim to run a large successful business, adopting an employee advocacy strategy on social media brings transparency to your brand and customer outreach.

When it comes to promoting your company on social media, let your employees help you build a business and brand!

Is employee advocacy already in play at your business? If not, why? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Matthew Hellinger

Matthew Hellinger has consulted for web-based businesses for 17+ years, spoken at tech and security conferences, and performed due diligence for tech investors. Buzz.Tools is his most recent tech (ad)venture.

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Matthew Hellinger