Employee Advocacy

What is employee advocacy?

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Chris Heron

Friday, November 23, 2018

First of all I have to be upfront, I am not a big fan of using the term ‘Employee social media advocacy when communicating the concept to employees.’ If you work in Marketing or Comms, you probably already know what it means, but to the average employee (the people you are trying to encourage to join the program), she hasn’t got a clue. An important part of running a program like this, is to make it accessible, so the first thing I would consider is using a different term like ‘Employee marketing’ ‘Employee Ambassador Program’

So, what is this advocacy all about?

Employee social media advocacy is a form of word of mouth marketing. It is when an organisation asks their own employees to promote the brand using their personal and or professional social networks. Word of mouth marketing is one of the most powerful ways an organisation can promote it’s brand.

Modern technology now gives brands an even better way of leveraging their own internal teams to act as social media advocates, creating powerful word of mouth marketing campaigns that build brand awareness, improve internal communications, and increase brand reach.

With social media employee advocacy, a company can reach more people than just their immediate followers. Suppose you have a total of 2K followers on your corporate Facebook page. These 2k followers are all you have direct access to. Now, let’s say you have 100 employees, each with an average of 250 friends on their own Facebook accounts. By asking your employees to share your messages, you can boost your audience from 2K to 25K instantly. It’s a stat that is hard to ignore.

It’s not just the numbers that make employee social media advocacy such an attractive marketing strategy. Any posts that are shared by your own employees are far more authentic than those promoted directly from Marketing. People believe their friends and are 83% more likely to act on a recommendation from someone they know (source Nielsen).

Is employee advocacy the same as employee social media advocacy?

The answer is “no.” Employee advocacy does not by default mean social media has to be involved. Neither does it have to be an external communications strategy. Employee advocacy is fast becoming the preferred tool for internal comms,  change and transformation and organisational development functions. Advocacy as a whole has many benefits ranging from brand awareness to recruitment, sales, customer support, employer branding, internal communications, PR and employee engagement. It touches every department and if done correctly, can be a great change and transformation tool.

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