5 Ways to Boost Employee Advocacy
There is no better way to help businesses sell themselves to candidates and customers alike than through the employees themselves — but how can you encourage and develop this advocacy within your own team?
Company advocates do so much more than attract new talent, they can effectively encourage talent retention and even help transmit the brand’s messaging to the wider public and gain their trust.
Before we dive in, let’s quickly review what an employee advocate looks like:
- They promote the brand through word of mouth and raise awareness through social media and/or offline channels.
- They recommend the brand’s products or services to friends and family, influencing purchasing decisions of potential customers.
- Their positive reinforcement of the brand and its culture plays a key role in talent acquisition.
- They embody the company’s values and beliefs, and represent the best interests of the business both internally and externally.
- They’re an expert on the services you provide, making them a credible spokesperson for the brand.
So, just how can you boost employee advocacy for your business? We share our top tips below...
Sharing is caring
It’s important for your team members to feel proud of what you’re doing, and to genuinely want to share the latest goings-on with their family, friends and followers. Stats show that people are 16x more likely to read a post from a friend than a brand, so if your aim is to build brand awareness through social media, then your golden ticket is through your employees themselves — and you need to really start caring about how much your people are sharing online.
Do you have a new blog post that’s just gone live, or a great podcast that’s been posted? A quick email to encourage the team to share on their LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook can get your name out there to people online who may not have already had you on their radar.
Say what you will about social media, but when it comes to the potential reach a single post can have, that viral nature of the social stratosphere is your best friend. For example, one of your employees could have over 5,000 followers on Instagram; they share a photo about a huge achievement at work and capitalise on the use of hashtags. Not only does this post get shared with their followers, but for every hashtag they have, the potential for this photo to be picked up by other users and followers of the same hashtag increases — before you know it you’ve got an infinite number of people with eyes on your company’s achievement all through one employee’s image.
Bottom line? Encourage your team members to share everything you’re putting out there, and to celebrate the wins no matter how big or small.
Dish out the swag
Swag bags aren’t just for glamorous award’s parties, they’re also effective tools you can weave into your advocacy programme. Think everything from pens, notepads and keyrings to T-shirts, hoodies, bumper stickers, tote bags, umbrellas, water bottles, phone cases; basically any accessory that can be personalised, go for it — for those who’ve been lucky enough to catch a glimpse of our Cotswolds studio at 9am, we’ve even got branded sofas and lampshades!
When new starters pass their probation, why not present them with a company hamper complete with all manner of personalised ‘swag’ for them to use. It’s a thoughtful touch that goes down well with the team, but it’s also a simple way of getting your brand out there in the public domain when someone needs to borrow said pen or spots the tote bag in Sainsburys (other stores are available..!).
Incentives and recognition
It’s no secret that people crave recognition. But can you go a step further than just an email with a job well done? Why not kick start an employee rewards scheme where you can assign measurable targets in place via a nifty app or online programme; for every goal achieved they win vouchers of their choice, personalised branded gifts, or even an extra day’s holiday? Tie this all up with social posts they can share with the wider community, recognising their achievements, and you’re all of a sudden ticking not just the advocacy box, but talent retention, attraction and EVP boxes too. Consider holding end-of-year employee awards as well to further recognise achievements across the company — people love an excuse to celebrate, and it’s a fantastic opportunity to give credit where it’s due and encourage potential advocates to convert into highly active ambassadors.
Leaders can talk about the ways they want their people to ‘do more’ and show up as team players, but ultimately it’s down to the employees themselves. You can’t fake or force it. The real brand ambassadors are the ones who you can rely on to spread the word, who genuinely live and breathe their work, are proud of the company, embody the brand’s values and will ultimately encourage others to follow suit. So, don’t be afraid to take a step back. Put systems in place, but then leave it to the employees themselves to take ownership of their own advocacy programme. Appoint a handful of current brand ambassadors to take charge, and then watch the advocacy develop organically. Much like Mr Miyagi in the Karate Kid, the actions and behaviours of those ambassadors will become noticeable within other team members.
Get it on camera
When you consider content, video will always be far more digestible than any powerful words your copywriting team could conjure. In fact, video will communicate your message 6,000 times faster, so why not utilise the power of film to your advantage within your employee advocacy programme? Take a selection of your biggest brand ambassadors and create a promotional video for your business where you’re using your own people to sell your story. From positive first-hand experiences, to perks and benefits, highlighting the company’s services, and achievements or accolades to be proud of that are worth a mention, you’ve all a sudden got yourself a first-class piece of film that sings about all the positives of your business in a personal and approachable way that invites the outside world to want to learn more. People buy into people first, so let your people sell the business for you.