What is employee advocacy?
Employee advocacy can be defined as the advocacy or promotion of an organization by its own employees and staff members. An employee advocate brings value to his company in the following ways:
- Creating positive exposure and building brand awareness through online and offline media.
- Recommendation of his company’s product/services to friends and family
- Works in alignment with the best interests of the company
- Embodies a sense of ownership in the organization
- Knows the company’s products and services inside out and can function as a spokesperson for the company
Types of employee advocacy
- Social advocacy: Since your potential customers spend quite a bit of time on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other social networks (over an hour a day on an average when totaled), it’s a great touch point to come in contact with them. Capturing their attention can be done more efficiently by the employees than the brand itself by sharing articles from your blog or pictures taken at the office.
- Incentives: According to a recent study, 72% of businesses said that recognition given to high performing individuals drastically improved employee engagement. One way of doing this is rewarding the “employee of the month” or mentioning his/her name in your newsletter giving them recognition, also known as employee advocacy programs.
- Swag: Swag is an old employee advocacy technique that shockingly still does work in the present day. Providing employees with tee’s, key chains, etc. helps to advocate on behalf of your company.
Merits of Employee Advocacy
With the employee hiring market getting more and more competitive coupled with the changes In the way consumers shop, employee advocacy has received more focus off late. Employee advocacy is very similar to Social media marketing. However, not a lot of brands were optimistic about Social about 3-5 years ago. However, today, the case is the exact opposite. Most of today’s successful brands have heavily invested in social media and many of them are now betting on employee advocacy as well.
Let’s see why:
- Increased reach on social media: Organic reach has reduced by a great extent over the past few years. According to a study, the organic reach of 3,000 Facebook dropped by 42% per post between January and May 2016. This has caused a lot of brands to invest money in social media marketing through ads and boosting their posts to gain a wider reach. While these tactics are great, employee advocacy proves to be a more cost-effective solution to achieve the same goal.
- For example, say a 100 employee company’s Facebook page has 2,000 fans. This makes the potential to reach 2,000.Let’s assume every employee has about 338 friends on an average on Facebook. This makes the total potential reach of about 33,800. Which translates to an increase of about 1,590% in reach.As proved with the above example, leveraging your employee’s social media networks gives you the ability to reach an exponentially larger audience and in turn have your message seen by a HUGE number of people.Employees social posts are said to generate about 8x more engagement than posts from their employers. The reason is that people trust their friends’ recommendations and content compared to marketing messages from companies. People are 16x more likely to read a friend’s post than one posted by the brand page itself.If your posts aren’t receiving the desired traffic, employee advocacy is the way to go.
- Better company culture and retention: Company culture was not given enough weight till about 20 years ago and employee retention seemed to be mostly about compensation and perks to keep the employees invested in the well-being and progress of the company.
- Fast forward to today, company culture is gaining increasing amounts of importance and priority for both employers and employees. 80% of businesses have already improved their corporate culture.
- A good, healthy company culture attracts a lot of top talent because it can be an extremely good differentiator for your brand. Studies have shown that 10% of employers have actually altered their culture to attract a millennial workforce. A good corporate culture helps in building loyalty and engagement if employees.
- Increase your bottom-line: Besides obviously boosting the morale of your employees and encouraging them to perform better, employee advocacy can also increase your bottom-line. According to a study, about 64% of companies that adopted employee advocacy have attributed it to attract new business. Other than that, 45% of them have credited new revenue streams to employee advocacy. Your employees prove to be the best salespeople even though they may not really be salesmen. Like discussed earlier, it is because their friends and family are way more likely to trust them in being instrumental in making the decision to purchase their goods or services as opposed to some marketing copy printed out by them. According to a study done by Ogilvy, Google and TNS, word of mouth proved to be the top touch point when it came to influencing potential buyers:
- Word of mouth – 74%
- Retailers and store visits – 69%
- YouTube – 64%
- Twitter – 61%
- Company/brand websites – 59%
- Facebook – 56%
- Pinterest – 56%
- Newspapers and magazines – 55%
- TV and movies – 51%
- Search – 51%