We regularly highlight ways influencers can help broadcast and amplify business messages across social media. However, who is usually best suited to knowledgeably publicize the good points and highlights of a company? Its own employees.
The proper term given to this promotional activity be a firm’s employees is employee advocacy. Employee advocacy programs encourage a firm’s employees to talk up the achievements of their brand on social media.
Employees can make exceptional advocates for their employers. They can:
- Recommend the company’s products to their friends and family
- Be experts about the products, because they probably know more about them than anyone else
- Generate positive exposure for a company
- Represent the best interests of their employer
Many companies have realized that employee advocacy is just as relevant to their marketing efforts as content and influencer marketing. Companies that have engaged in successful employee advocacy include Oakley, Dell, IBM, Intel, and Best Buy.
Bambu gives an example of employee advocacy’s effectiveness. Suppose a company chose to rely on its own Facebook page for social media coverage. In this example, the sample company had 100 employees, and 2,000 Facebook fans. Therefore, the maximum reach the company could expect from a social media post would be 2,000.
Now suppose that each of their employees averages 338 Facebook friends (which is the average number of friends according to Pew Research Center). If every employee shared a post for their employer, the combined reach would be 33,800 (less any duplicates – where different employees have the same friends online) – much higher than the company could achieve by itself. Bambu’s calculations show that the company’s page would need to have 1 million followers to generate the same reach. And these figures were calculated before Facebook’s recent changes which have further worsened their organic reach.
Businesses don’t have to start their employee advocacy activities from scratch, however. There are numerous employee advocacy programs they can use to help them achieve their goals. Here are a some we believe worth considering.
Top 13 Employee Advocacy Programs:
Ambassify offers more than just an employee advocacy solution, it provides an entire brand advocacy solution – working with customers as well as employees to advocate on a business’ behalf.
Ambassify treats advocacy like a dialogue. They don’t just see advocacy as being employees (and customers) attracting conversations and sharing content to promote a business. They also recognize that their clients have access to numerous highly relevant people who can give feedback or suggestions. That way, information flows both out of and back into the client companies.
You will find that Ambassify offers everything you’d expect of an employment advocacy program - content feed, campaign creation with templates, messaging, rewards, advocate portals and more. One of its highlights is the Community Portal. This shows clients their campaigns, a leader board, posts made by the community, and a way to redeem points for rewards. You will find more than 20 different campaign templates, including ones for feedback, soliciting suggestions for new posts, A/B testing campaign ideas, and sending out polls.
With Ambassify, you invite everyone to sign up, with no limits or restrictions around who can participate. It has a robust mobile presence, with a mobile app that sends push notifications on new campaigns and lets people participate in campaigns.
Ambassify makes recruiting and activating advocates simple, whether they’re your employees or customers.
Oktopost has added employee advocacy to its existing range of social media management tools. It still primarily calls itself a social media management platform for B2B enterprise. They offer a suite of tools covering scheduling, social listening, engagement tools, content curation, and now employee advocacy.
The addition of the employee advocacy module has been seamless for Oktopost’s existing customers. While the employee advocacy tools may not be ground-breaking as a stand-alone tool, the complete package provides and a compelling toolset for a firm’s social marketing.
The employment advocacy package isn’t stand-alone. To be able to use it you first need to purchase Oktopost’s social media management software.
Content curation is the starting point for an advocacy campaign. Oktopost uses the posts you make as “inspiration” for curating content on your behalf. The more you post, the better the platform is at learning the types of posts suitable for your business.
When you schedule content, you can assign it to a board. One of these boards is the Employee Advocacy Board. This makes the content visible to your in-house advocates to share. Oktopost also integrates well with the Salesforce CRM platform, meaning your sales team can undertake advocacy within Salesforce.
Employees can share content via an Oktopost mobile app. Anyone can suggest specific pieces of content they’ve found, and think would be valuable to share.
Oktopost’s employee advocacy module works seamlessly with the rest of its software, making it effortless for employees to share content and enjoy doing so.
Social Reacher is one of a series of tools founded by Spaniard, Ismael El-Qudsi, including digital marketing agency, Internet Republica, and influencer marketing platform, SocialPubli.
Social Reacher is a simple platform to use. It guides you through all the necessary steps in a predominantly logical order. However, some of the guide suffers from inadequate Spanish-English translation so you may need to use the help files in places.
You begin by setting up the essential details, such as your logo and campaign image. You then add your collaborators, either by sending custom lign-in inks or emailing specific people. You then connect your branded social media accounts.
You can then use your dashboard to create campaigns. Social Reacher accepts content from any of your social feeds for sharing. You can pick specific teams for sharing, and Social Reacher notifies the relevant members. You can define everything about your posts ahead of time.
It includes a built-in module for an incentives program. Rewards can be anything you want.
It gives you basic campaign statistics: reach, engagement, and a breakdown of each collaborator’s messages and performance. It also provides demographic information on the employees who make posts on your behalf.
Just diving into employee advocacy? Easy Advocacy is a great free option. (It was Product Hunt’s #1 Product of the Day in February 2020!) This no-cost platform will easily get buy-in from your management team.
Easy Advocacy’s biggest strength is its simplicity. Launch your first campaign in just 10 minutes. And sharing is easy-peasy for your employees. Your co-workers will receive an email that includes links and suggested wording to share on each platform from just one location. It takes only a few clicks.
You’ll also have access to a visible leaderboard, which encourages engagement and healthy competition among employees (especially if you incentivize for campaigns). So, you can immediately see which campaigns (and people) are getting the most clicks, shares, and visitors.
Bambu is created by social media management platform, Social Sprout. It focuses on making the employee advocacy process as simple as possible. A company needs to appoint one or more curators. They search for relevant and suitable content that employees can share on the company’s behalf. When a curator finds an item, they add the story’s URL to the board, making it available for employees to share. They can also add stories from RSS feeds and a range of other sources.
Curators can create original content for the board. They can write custom social media messages, ready for employees to share. Curators can add notes to content they find, making suggestions to employees on how they should use the material. For instance, they can signal to employees if there are specific items of content that they need to share urgently.
Employees can read and share the stories on Bambu’s board via their Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts.
DrumUp assists an organization to find suitable content for their employees to share. You can automate it to send RSS feeds to your company website news or blog posts to the company’s DrumUp content stream. Employees can access and schedule content that is sitting in the content stream.
DrumUp features a strong analytics section. You can sort your statistics to show data by person or post. That way you can determine which employees are the most active, both by how many posts they share, but also by their combined reach (i.e., who are the most influential of your employee advocates).
DrumUp features a Leader Board, where employees can track how their social sharing is performing compared to their workmates. The most successful firms set up incentives to reward those employees who manage to reach the top of the Leaderboard.
Dynamic Signal allows employees to share content across a wide range of social media platforms. Apart from the usual (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn), Dynamic Signal allows employees to share on Weibo, Xing, BlogSpot, Tumblr, and WordPress blogs.
It takes international support very seriously, supporting 12 languages. It integrates into a variety of platforms, including Facebook Messenger, Slack, Salesforce, SAP, Oracle, Marketo, Adobe, and Jive.
Dynamic Signal allows site administrators to post relevant industry and company news, helping employees remain informed about latest developments.
They can encourage employee participation with surveys and quizzes. If site administrators use these carefully, they can help the company create better content.
Site administrators can control the content their employees share, setting some sites as read-only.
One useful feature is that site administrators can write multiple versions of social media messages for employees, and these will appear randomly for individual employees. That way it is not so evident when a group of employees is posting cookie-cutter messages.
Dynamic Signal features robust analytics, focusing on the potential reach of employees. You can use this knowledge to target particular content items at individual employees, depending on the type of people who follow them.
Everyone Social is an online platform with tools to assist with social selling and employee advocacy. Its focus is on keeping employees interested enough that they will continue sharing content about their employer. It collects employee engagement data and modifies its interface to keep employees engaged.
Everyone Social makes it easy to source and upload relevant content, making it easy for employees to share material without them having to spend time in content creation. Everyone Social’s systems make it easy to find suitable field marketing materials, company announcements, as well as news on prospects, customers, and competitors.
The employment advocacy scheme leader can create draft social media messages which employees can use without having to write anything. They can also blacklist particular sites, or make them read-only, to ensure that employees don’t share inappropriate content on the company’s behalf.
Employees can, however, add feeds to blogs or websites that interest them, giving them a tool to assist with their personal social media management.
It provides tools for employees to connect with contacts via email, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Xing, Wechat, and Slack.
It includes a Leader Board as an incentive to employees to increase their content sharing efforts.
Everyone Social recognizes that employees are more likely to share content from mobile devices, so it has invested in improving its mobile (iOS and Android) apps.
It features an extensive set of analytics tools to monitor employee advocacy.
HootSuite Amplify is an add-on to social media platform, HootSuite. It allows a business to manage social media management and amplification from a single dashboard.
It allows company social media admins to send emails to employees asking them to share specific posts when they want to focus on particular campaigns.
One advantage of this system for the company is that it only sends pre-approved content to employees to share. This ensures that messages are clear, accurate, and suited for the brand.
Hootsuite Amplify provides analytical data so you can track which employees share company content the most.
LinkedIn Elevate is probably the best-known employee advocacy program. It is, of course, an add-on for LinkedIn, and recognizes the value of a company’s employees who already have profiles on LinkedIn.
Companies can use LinkedIn to curate quality content. It suggests trending content by industry and function. It provides a platform to make content suggestions to employees relevant to their interests. They can then share the content on their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.
LinkedIn Elevate keeps records of the most social employees. You can use it to engage employees by sending them feed updates, mobile promos, and InMails.
Post Beyond ha a more comprehensive brief than just assisting companies with employee advocacy. It also helps businesses with brand resource management, employer branding, process management and social selling.
A company has to give responsibility to one or more people to act as admin/curators and to build a content library. This can include a mix of blog posts, job listings, white papers, press releases, and other relevant web pages. They can either create this material themselves or source it in several ways, including social media and RSS feeds. They can even bulk upload content via spreadsheets.
The curators can split employees into groups and share different combinations of content with the different groups.
Employees can check their content feeds on Tehri mobile devices and then share items via their Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn networks.
One of the metrics that Post Beyond provides is a calculation of the earned media value of a campaign- i.e., what it would have cost if a company had used paid social media advertising instead of employee advocacy to gain the same social media reach for their message.
Smarp allows site curators to provide links to sharable content and material they create themselves with employees participating in the company’s employee advocacy program. They can schedule links and content to become visible at the best times for people to share them via their personal social media accounts.
Curators have complete control over content streams, and can even change the order of items, to emphasize some content items ahead of others.
You can set Smarp to pull content from selected feeds, for instance, your company blog or an industry publication. You can set it up, to automatically add posts to the sharable feed.
Smarp allows employees to share material from company feed via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WeChat, Xing, VK, and Weibo. Employees can comment on items and add their personal touch to the messages they send.
Smarp tries to be as user-friendly as possible for employees wishing to share company content. This includes making available easy-to-use mobile apps.
Smarp includes a gamification incentive for employees. They incorporate an employee leaderboard, to encourage competition among employees. Companies can create incentives for their top performers.
Smarp has a robust set of analytical tools. Employees can access metrics regarding their own sharing performance. The site admin can see overall statistics, as well as being able to drill down to see the detail on each employee’s social sharing performance, and how well individual posts have performed. Smarp also estimates an “earned media value” score.
Sociabble allows users to build feeds of relevant content by aggregating material sourced from social media, RSS feeds, and direct URL links. Users can also create their own content on the platform, and share it with groups. A user can even create a Call to Action – type post for a team to tell them about a company event or something similar.
The admins for an employee advocacy program can create challenges to incentivize their employees and can develop campaigns. These give employees points for sharing and original content creation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the top employment advocacy programs?
We have looked at 13 top employee advocacy programs in this article. They all have different strengths, so we suggest you take a close look at each one to determine which is most likely to meet your needs. The 13 top employment advocacy programs we have looked at are:
3. Social Reacher
4. Easy Advocacy by Agorapulse
7. Dynamic Signal
8. Everyone Social
9. Hootsuite Amplify
10. LinkedIn Elevate
11. Post Beyond
How can employee advocacy be improved?
Using any of the employee advocacy programs in this post should improve your employee advocacy. All these programs automate the process and help you connect employees, making them feel trusted and respected. Most improve your employees’ access to information and act as a repository simplifying the process for employees wishing to share items and positive experiences relating to your company. They make it easier for your employees to act as influencers to their audience.
What is an employee advocate?
An employee advocate is a worker in an organization who agrees to promote their workplace, usually via social media. Employee advocates generate positive exposure for a business, raising brand awareness. Employee advocates engender high levels of trust. People accept that employee advocates know more about an organization than virtually anyone else because they understand the internal workings of the organization. Employee advocates may not have the reach of influencers, but if enough employees recommend the company to their friends and families, the combined reach is high.
What is brand advocacy?
Brand advocacy is similar to employee advocacy but involves a broader range of potential advocates for a brand. Brand advocacy potentially includes all the stakeholders of a firm, rather than just its employees. Effectively brand advocacy includes anybody who extols the virtues of your brand through word-of-mouth marketing. As well as employees, your brand advocates can include your customers, business partners, and any influencers who agree to work with you.
What are advocacy tools?
There are many types of advocacy. This post focuses on the advocacy tools used for employee advocacy, but other types of advocacy include brand advocacy, statutory advocacy, group advocacy, peer advocacy, legal advocacy, and many more types. All of these will have tools that simplify the advocacy process. For example, if you re into political advocacy, you might choose to use an app like NationBuilder to help your campaign management. The 13 tools in this post simplify the processes of employee advocacy.
What is an example of employee advocacy?
We looked at several examples of employee advocacy in our post, 8 Employee Advocacy Examples to Power Your Brand. One of the examples we examined was for Mastercard. MasterCard works with its employees in the MasterCard Employee Ambassador Program to share brand-related news and other content. Four hundred of its employees post text, images, and videos to their Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, promoting Mastercard’s activities. MasterCard recognizes that one of its strongest social media assets is its vast workforce.