In Market 

YOUR BEST BRAND ADVOCATES

by Thomas Jacob

February 21, 2017

Five ways to inspire and encourage employee advocacy on social media

Photo © Wilgengebroed/Flickr

 

Many of us hope our brand will capture the attention of well-known influencers or celebrities in order to grow our audience, but did you know your most influential brand advocates could be the very people you work with every day?

 

Employee advocacy programs are on the rise as companies see a significant increase in brand awareness and positive engagement when they encourage their employees to actively share their work life on social media.

 

So, what is employee advocacy?

 

Employee advocacy refers to the exposure employees generate for a brand by using their own social influence. This can be seen through online word-of-mouth marketing, largely generated on social media.

 

Think about each of your employees. They have close family members, different circles of friends, and a network of clients, other professionals and industry peers that they interact with on a daily basis. These are built-in, long-standing relationships your employees have already cultivated over time using digital communication tools and social media. Employee advocacy programs tap into the strong influence employees already have in their social circles to positively promote and affect brand sentiment.

 

Here are five simple yet effective ways to inspire your employees to publicly advocate for your brand in a genuine way.

 

Share your brand’s content marketing efforts on social media

This is arguably the easiest way to consistently encourage employees to advocate for your brand, thus increasing your brand’s visibility. Because your brand has a growing archive of content, it’s easy for employees to share their favourite articles or posts, add their own insights and start a larger conversation through their own personal social media accounts. Talk about #brandlove!

 

Encourage employees to share your client’s or strategic partner’s work

Your clients or partners are consistently creating memorable content through social media so it’s a good opportunity to encourage employees to share mentions of their involvement with any of your client’s or partner’s work. It not only increases the visibility of your client’s campaign but also points back to the employees that worked on the project and the company culture.

 

Do make a note to check the most recent Canadian Code of Advertising Standards or FTC guidelines to ensure employees are correctly disclosing their involvement in your client’s campaign. Usually including #client in your next social media post will do the trick.

 

Create a company hashtag to emphasize your work culture

Employee advocacy is not only important for acquiring new customers or clients but also for increasing brand equity, retaining your top-performing employees, and piquing the interest of future applicants. Having a hashtag that is unique to the brand encourages employees to include the hashtag when they post relevant, work-related content.

 

For example, take a look at how Unbounce uses Instagram to increase employee advocacy. They’ve created a branded hashtag #unbouncing to give a deeper look into their work culture with photos of company outings, office pets and even employees who show up to work with matching outfits (because we’ve all been there). The hashtag is also used on their employees' personal Instagram accounts, allowing employees to feel empowered and proud to create their own engaging content for the company they work for.

 

Tag your company’s handle in their personal social media bios

What is one of the first things a new visitor looks at when viewing a social media profile? Your bio, of course! When you see a large number of employees stating their job title and the brand’s official handle on social media, it shows they are proud to work at your company. This also helps with increasing your brand awareness and visibility.

 

Before recommending this to employees, please check with your legal department to ensure any necessary precautions are taken because every company requires its own unique disclaimers.

 

Encourage employees to cover events through video

Some companies spend months or even years planning client and company events. With live video marketing on the rise, key events are the perfect time to empower your employees to grab their phones and create a live stream. Facebook Live, Periscope, and the newly launched Instagram Live are all great, easy-to-use platforms that employees can quickly access to share their experiences.

 

When your employees feel fulfilled in their jobs, chances are they’ll want to share this with their network. Employee advocacy programs make it easier and more natural for your team members to share specific, engaging examples of why they love what they do.

 

Remember, the more your employee’s influence grows, the more yours does, too.

 

What actions are you taking to inspire your employees to become impactful advocates for your brand?

 

 

Thomas Jacob is creative director at Contrabande, a Toronto-based integrated marketing agency. 

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