We regularly highlight ways influencers can help broadcast and amplify business messages across social media. It can be difficult for a company to gain much traction through organic posting with a company account. We have also written posts on programs businesses can use to help them find social media influencers, including many specialist platforms.
But as much as firms benefit from working with top influencers in their field, they do have people closer to home who can be some their most loyal advocates online. These are their employees. Your staff can become the most authentic and trustworthy advocates for your brand.
Employees can make exceptional advocates for their employers. They can:
- Recommend the company’s products to their friends and family
- Be accepted as 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
An individual employee probably doesn’t have the following that a typical micro-influencer does, but if every employee of a firm were to act as a social media advocate, their combined reach would be significant.
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.
MSLGroup discovered a few striking statistics showing the effectiveness of employee advocacy:
- Brand messages reach 561% further when shared by employees vs. the same statuses shared via official brand social channels
- Brand messages are re-shared 24x more frequently when distributed by employees vs. brand
This makes sense. If employees share material about their employer on social media, they are perceived as providing an authentic commentary on their workplace. If a company shares the same post via its own page, people consider it promotional. People still don’t like overly promotional pitches on social media.
As with influencer marketing, businesses have developed a variety of employee advocacy programs, tools, and platforms which companies can use to assist them in making the process run smoothly and stress-free.
Top 10 Employee Advocacy Programs:
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.
Trapit’s biggest strength is its tools for content discovery. This is logical, considering it grew out of news reading software. It features sturdy content search and discovery capabilities.
Trapit sources its content from 120,000 blogs, news services, professional journals, magazines, podcasts, and video feeds. You should find relevant and thought-provoking content for your employees to share in their library if you search using relevant keywords. You can create customized feeds (they call them traps) of material for your employees’ use.
Trapit used artificial intelligence and machine learning to customize the content they show based on people’s preferences.
Trapit provides detailed analytics, highlighting the employees, and items of content that have produced the best results.