Employee Advocacy: Marketing’s Secret Weapon

March 11th, 2021 by Yvonne Harris

Employee advocacy marketing is a great way to boost the organic reach of content, using your most powerful and cost-friendly asset – employees.

Building brand awareness and visibility

Marketing is charged with building brand awareness and visibility. It’s a task that takes significant investment and effort. From inbound to social, SEO and SEA, there’s no shortage of channels available to your marketing team.

However, there’s no reason the responsibility should stay only with a few dedicated people.

Every department can help build brand visibility and awareness. In fact, it’s the number one benefit companies with an employee advocacy marketing program realize.

Benefit of Employee Advocacy

Internal influencer marketing

Employees are the secret to improved organic reach because of their influencer status.

External influencers or brand ambassadors became a popular marketing strategy because when they recommend a product followers are quick to buy.

The reason? 96% of consumers don’t trust ads, and influencers were originally seen as friends, not advertisers.

However, nowadays consumers are more aware, and advertising regulations require paid sponsorships to be disclosed. This means followers recognize the commercial nature of posts.

Still, 62% of marketers planned to increase spending on influencer marketing in 2021. Yet, what many don’t realize is that they have potentially hundreds of free internal ambassadors available.

Imagine you could harness the power of people, improve brand visibility for free with no sponsorship disclosure required?

Employee advocacy programs are the solution.

Employees advocacy marketing, the ultimate internal influencer program

Micro-influencers

Employees are the original ‘micro-influencer, which usually refers to people with over 1,000 social media followers. However, this status can encompass anyone with a loyal and engaged audience.

Micro-influencers are real gems, generating higher engagement than their counterparts.

Micro influencer engagement

It’s common for employees to have a few hundred LinkedIn connections or a thousand Instagram followers. Though, employees are often happier to share on LinkedIn, their professional network.

As subject matter experts, and with followers being made up of ex-colleagues, classmates, friends, and family employees posts gain more interaction.

Now that the LinkedIn algorithm only shows posts to first connections and requires more engagement to go viral, this network is a gold mine.

Trusted sources of information

When an employee shares content from the company, they associate their name and reputation with it.

Unlike paid ambassadors, internal influencers share because they find the content useful not because they have to. Yes, technically they’re paid but employee advocacy isn’t usually part of the job description.

What’s more, word-of-mouth marketing (WOM) is one of the most effective marketing strategies. 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over every other form of advertising.

Trust of Advertising

So an employee advocacy platform, like Powell Software creates, that allows people to share content with their close network is the secret to more organic reach.

Contribute to a more inclusive content strategy

Content creators are always on the lookout for inspiration and ideas. It can be difficult to keep up to date on every new development, so when there’s a team of people helping everyone benefits.

  • Marketing gets new ideas and can build great content.
  • Sales can suggest topics they know potential customers will benefit from.
  • IT can share a wealth of knowledge.
  • HR see improved engagement.

It’s a win-win.

Subject matter experts

Marketing help make complex topics more understandable to a wide audience. They cut through jargon and information overload to deliver the right message.

At the same time, they’re not technical experts. A marketer could be targeting banks but have no background in finance.

An employee advocacy marketing tool, like Powell Softwares, leverages the skills and knowledge of employees in two ways.

  1. Employees can easily suggest links or interesting articles. If it’s relevant, marketing can then add it to the advocacy homepage for other employees to share.
  • Content managers get ideas for topics that could be created internally.
  • Employees can participate in marketing efforts, and build a sense of belonging.
  • HR can reap the benefits that come from highly engaged employees.

Employee Advocacy User Suggestions

  1. User-generated content (UGC) can also be submitted in the employee advocacy tool. Anyone can upload an article or content idea. The marketing manager can take the idea and help curate or edit it further. Once it’s ready to post then marketing might add to the company blog and advocacy area for everyone to share.

Employee Advocacy UGC

  • Employees can suggest technical topics marketing wouldn’t have thought of.
  • It allows employees to expand their skills and knowledge. Someone working in IT might write the best articles but was never given the opportunity.
  • HR and management benefit from a connected workforce and higher morale.

Check out his video to see our employee advocacy tool in action.

Employee Advocacy in the Digital Workplace

Increased reach and connect with the right audience

Social networks are always introducing new algorithms making it harder for marketers to gain the same organic reach they used to.

Employee advocates are the secret to getting the message to more people and delivering useful content to contacts that mightn’t have come across it otherwise. In fact, 98% of employees are already using social media, and half post about their company. So the base for employee sharing on social media is built.

Take the example of a company whose ideal customer is an accountant. It makes sense that the company’s finance team would have relevant contacts on their LinkedIn. They studied and worked in the area, building up a network along the way.

If those employees shared an article that contained lots of helpful information for accountants, suddenly the right content is reaching the right people.

The fact that their connections are more likely to interact with the post and share it with their contacts will help grow organic reach. All marketing has to do is make sure employees are willing and easily able to share content.

Sales should also be running to share content, 73% of salespeople who use social media in their strategy outperform their colleagues.

Employee Advocacy Marketing Powell Software

Download the Infographic PDF: Employee Advocacy: Marketings Secret Weapon

Best practices to boost organic reach with employee advocacy marketing

Internal brand ambassadors have huge potential but getting everyone’s buy-in can be a challenge. Marketing can help support the roll-out of an employee advocacy marketing program with some best practices.

  1. Curate content – Provide everyone with the right content. Keep control over what internal advocates are sharing externally.
  2. Give guidance – Remember marketing is the expert in social sharing. Guide employees on the right hashtags to use, the best time of day to post, who to tag, and how often to post.
  3. Support those less comfortable with social media – Not everyone is a LinkedIn expert. There may be people who never post on their social channels. In the beginning, marketing can help by creating description templates, or talking one on one with anyone who’s really unsure.
  4. Encourage ideas – Sharing ideas for content can be intimidating, let people know that the advocacy platform is open to everyone.
  5. Reward sharing – Employees need to benefit themselves. Gamification features, like points, badges, and competing for a spot on the leader-board are a great way to reward people.

Use the right tools

It goes without saying that marketing and employees need to be supported with the right tool to make an employee advocacy marketing program a success.

Powell Software’s employee advocacy tool integrates into your digital workplace. We create a space in the corporate intranet that gathers content so employees can share it on social media in one click.

Employee Advocacy share content Powell Software

It’s also easy to suggest links and articles.

A leader board encourages friendly competition. Employees are rewarded for sharing.

Social Sharing Leaderboard

Marketing can support employees with a dedicated Microsoft Team, with predefined channels.

Employee Advocacy in Microsoft Teams

Employee advocacy programs are a companywide initiative with benefits for nearly every department. Yet, marketing stands to gain more than most if they take some time to educate employees and promote the platform. Once the program is up and running, marketing only has to link content already created or help edit suggested ideas further. After that, marketing can start to see the results in increased organic reach and improved visibility.

Employee advocacy programs really are marketing secret weapons.

Discover how your marketing and communications team can use Powell Softwares employee advocacy tool to boost organic reach while connecting employees, with a demo from our team. Book your demo to see our solution in action.

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