What is Social Media Advocacy?
Social Media Advocacy is the process of using personal social media channels to promote and share company posts and content with friends and associates.
An extension of the age-old marketing tactic of word-of-mouth, it’s an excellent method of building meaningful relationships.
Employee advocacy has many benefits both for the employee and the company.
Social media advocacy programs are more effective than traditional advertising due to their personal nature. You can increase brand awareness, build strong customer loyalty, and facilitate valuable customer feedback loops by leveraging existing fans and employees.
There’s a good chance your employees are active on social media, so it makes sense to create a meaningful program that’s a win-win for everyone
Types of Social Media Advocacy
- Personal Advocacy
Where you personally share your company’s posts, blogs, tweets, etc.
- Employee Advocacy
Where your employees share the company content on their private social media networks.
- Ambassador Advocacy
Where you have a group of dedicated followers or ‘fans’ who share your brand’s content on their personal social media channels.
The top goals for content marketers are:
✔️ Generating leads & sales
✔️ Attracting qualified website traffic
✔️ Improving brand reputation
✔️ Improving customer engagement and loyalty
Social media advocacy can be used to support all of these objectives.
The Benefits of Employee Social Media Advocacy
Your employees are a vital asset in promoting your business, they are the people who have the best understanding of the products, services, and brand experience you provide.
Social media advocacy supports the development of relationships since people are able to connect with one another on a more emotional level than may be possible on a brand level.
An employee social media advocacy program can positively impact multiple departments, resulting in
- Increased brand awareness for marketing
- Larger network for sales
- Positive workplace environment for recruiting and human resources
- Subject matter expertise for thought leadership in the industry
All of the people who work for you are potential brand champions, however, the employees who participate in advocacy programs are generally very passionate about their role in the organisation and often wish to do more than simply earn a wage.
While the corporate strategy focuses on its core social channels, your employees may already have a presence on other social networks that you have not explored yet, such as Reddit, TikTok, or Discord for example.
How to Develop an Employee Social Media Advocacy Program
A social media employee advocacy program can help you maintain a more consistent online presence while reaching a wider audience.
An effective employee advocacy strategy will allow your employees to
✔️ Communicate company messages and promotions, increase brand awareness
✔️ Discuss their experiences and work-life in a positive manner, offer an “inside look”
✔️ Act as an expert, and refer friends and family to the company’s products and services
Decide on one clear objective for each campaign
It is imperative that your employee advocacy objectives are aligned with your existing goals.
- What audiences are you trying to reach?
- Would you like to reach out to your existing demographic, or would you like to reach out to a new audience?
- Would you like to increase brand awareness?
- Would you like to increase the positive perception of your brand?
- Would you like to concentrate on your customers, including potential customers?
- Would you like to increase traffic and generate more leads?
These are just a few examples of objectives, but each brand will have its own – while some focus on ROI and sales, others place a greater emphasis on traffic and sentiment.
Select which KPIs to measure
Your KPIs will depend on your campaign objectives
|Positive Sentiment||Ratings & Reviews|
|Website Traffic||Click Through Rate|
|Attract New Staff||Qualified Applications|
Select your channels
It’s important that you concentrate your efforts on platforms you are going to get the best results. This may mean that you have a stronger presence on some channels than others.
Establish communication guidelines
It is important that you provide firm brand communication guidelines for expected behaviour if you want your employees to share company posts with their personal networks.,
Educate your employees on how they can get involved
There are a number of different roles within a social advocacy program, and some of your team may be better suited for particular ones.
Some people may not feel comfortable engaging in comments, but are happy to share or ‘like’. Others may enjoy engaging in conversation with others and leading them to the posts. It is important to work with your employees to ensure that they are placed in the optimal position to garner the best responses.
Offering incentives to your brand ambassadors is a great way to show your appreciation for them. Additionally, you can make the experience fun for your brand advocates by holding contests or providing fun challenges. Doing so will ensure that your brand advocates remain loyal to the brand.
There are some companies that find it helpful to gamify the process and give actual awards for success. Whatever way you choose to motivate your employees, make sure you do not lose the authenticity of their enthusiasm.
Monitor your brand mentions
You should never take a set it and forget it approach to your social media advocacy campaigns. To ensure that your company is always presented in the best possible light, set up brand alerts or a monitoring process to keep on top of online conversations.
Adapt your strategies
Just because a plan and guidelines were put in place to start with, doesn’t mean that they have to be rigidly adhered to – having a flexible attitude and quick responses will allow you to engage with current trends and keep your business in the public consciousness
Social Media Advocacy Best Practices
Keep in mind that what your employees wish to share is entirely up to them.
Whether you want your employees to share the latest deals, information about your products and services, or the most recent articles from your content site, it must be something they consider relevant to them and their followers.
It is very unlikely that your content will be shared if your employees do not believe it is relevant to them or their network.
Having your employees promote content where it is relevant to them will increase brand exposure, therefore increasing your brand awareness. So it’s essential that you carefully structure your posts not only for the platform on which they are being shared but also in a language and tone that resonates with your target audience.
The content you create should encompass a wide range of interests, reflecting the diversity of interests, opinions, and voices present in your company.
It is important to ensure that your employees have access to a selection of content that is appropriate for them, as well as the social networks they’re active on.
An important balance that needs to be addressed when adopting social media advocacy is audience perception. If a person is seen to be sharing every single company post, blog, or tweet, with no regard for the content, then the impact of that contribution is diminished.
Over-promoting or sharing sub-standard content could see the audience losing interest, or developing negative feelings towards the company.
Having a social media content strategy and high professional standards for your brand will help you monitor the quality of your company posts and ensure that shared items always have the right tone, message, branding, and standards to represent your business.
Strategies for Achieving Long-Term Social Media Advocacy Success
- Follow employees on social media from corporate accounts to increase their network.
- Share the most creative messaging posted by employees from the company account.
- Develop regular contests where all participants who share marketing content are eligible to win prizes.
- Track your business’s most engaged employees, and provide that information to the managers as evidence of their contribution to marketing
- Recognise, and most importantly, thank, employees who are taking part in the program.
- Share updates on the progress your company makes in reaching its goals through email, personal meetings, and other channels of internal communication.
Social Media Advocacy is not an overnight process, it takes time to set up and build a community of engaged brand champions. but it is worth the effort as not only does it increase your reach and brand recognition, but it encourages stronger relationships with your employees, and makes social media work for your brand.
If you need help creating and implementing an effective social media advocacy strategy, send me an email and I’ll get back to you within 1 working day.