Employee advocacy is absolutely vital for the growth and development of any brand. Employees are the most important assets that see your company being able to run smoothly and sustainably. Without their general belief in the business and common values, you would most likely be looking at far poorer results.
It’s something that not everyone strives for, but as a Sussex business coach – I’ve seen first-hand how much of a difference employee advocacy can make on your online reach and overall company performance. I will always recommend working to improve upon it as well as your general strategies and marketing development.
There is a clear link between employee advocacy and employee engagement, so it is likely that you’ll notice a more productive workplace if you implement a structured employee advocacy programme. But let’s first discuss more about what it is and why you should be investing in it.
What is employee advocacy?
The term advocacy means to support or recommend. So employee advocacy is the action your team takes to represent and advocate for your business. This could be anything from sharing team successes on social media, recommending a new job opening online or posting content around your industry to start a conversation.
Both parties will benefit from employee advocacy because while you’re boosting brand awareness and reach, your staff are networking and expanding their career profiles. This can start new conversations and even benefit them in the long run, giving their careers new direction and form relationships with like-minded people.
Why is it important?
Being a Sussex business coach means I want you to see the best growth and results possible for your business. Employee advocacy sees some of the most valuable organic content because it reaches beyond your everyday target audience. It also sets you apart from the competition.
If you can demonstrate to customers that your employees share the same goals and believe in the same values that you do, it will suggest that they should too. You have people representing your brand not just because they get paid to do so, but because they want to and they believe in the content they’re sharing.
Potential applicants, especially those looking for a job role at the higher levels, will only consider you if they have a positive opinion of your business. From their perspective, you have an even larger outreach that are all sharing content related to you. If they didn’t know who you were before applying and researching you, they will be more likely to turn a neutral opinion into a positive one.
Employees can also share workplace experiences and tell the true story of what it’s like behind the scenes. For an applicant, this could make or break accepting an offer. Seeing that current employees are sharing updates through platforms like LinkedIn reassures them that there is an inclusive environment waiting for them. And that it’s one to be proud of.
Suitable candidates are becoming more difficult to find, so candidate-driven recruitment will benefit you. It means people are approaching you with your brand already in their minds. The more they know about your business before they even work there, the better. It shows your advocacy strategy and brand awareness is working. It saves you a lot of time trying to figure out if they know what they’re talking about too!
If they believe they will make a good fit, and they are aware of your values, chances are they will.
When working with a Sussex business coach, you’ll find that we look at all aspects of your company – including the overall workplace environment and employee advocacy. For your team, sharing content and knowing enough about the business to do so really makes their life easier.
They will quickly come to terms with your brand voice and what you’re trying to promote. If they have a clear understanding of your goals and their purpose, they will be able to create and share content to boost your reach and display your message in a way that reflects their role in the company.
Also, if they have the confidence to share, it’s a positive sign that they have a level of workplace satisfaction and are comfortable in their job – which of course bodes well for employee retention. Joint beliefs and goals support them on their way through the business so they can strive for more and progress their career in line with what you’re setting out to achieve too.
It will also greatly assist them in growing a social media following which could drive them through their career. Online networking helps people meet influential names in the industry as well as getting their own business profile noticed down the line. They can become a reliable voice for your company and you could rely on them for some huge brand engagement.
Not only will employee advocacy boost your reach, but it can also improve the customer journey too. Happy and confident employees provide better customer service than those who are not aligned with the business. You can rely on your people to confidently answer customer queries and point them in the right direction because they believe in what they’re selling.
If your customer can tell the person on the end of the phone is sincere, they’re more likely to listen to what they have to say. They’ll also feel more comfortable with purchasing from them. So employee advocacy = more sales!
Your brand will remain relevant as long as you have people advocating for you. They’re living it and so will post up to date content that’s customer-focused. On personal accounts – whether more professional like LinkedIn or not – they’re going to write for their connections, not as a business. This reflects a more conversational tone and relays back positively to put a friendly face behind your brand.
Moreover, it allows for more one-to-one and face-to-face conversations between clients and employees. Improving any form of communication will benefit your customers because they have a clear means of getting the information they need to make the decision to buy or not. So by putting employee advocacy at the top of your list, you’re increasing your chance of them converting a lead to a sale.
How you can implement an employee advocacy strategy
The good news is, you’ve probably got some of your team talking about your business already. But you can make small contributions to influence what it is they’re sharing. This way you can create a consistent brand and ensure your people are creating continuity.
- Decide how often you want staff sharing content
- Pick and create relevant content for them to share or post
- Monitor their activity
- Measure your goals and adjust where necessary
Make company culture a priority
Spreading your business’ messages by word-of-mouth is going to get you far. But it’ll only happen this way if your staff are happy. If they have a lot of positive things to say about where they work and who they work for or with, you’ll be remembered. Family members of employees often want to invest in their work too so by spreading positivity – you’ll find more relatives and friends buying from your brand and wanting to get involved in what you do.
Don’t make it a chore to prioritise advocacy because then your team won’t believe it’s sincere. Show your employees what’s in it for them and give them things to work towards. You can do this in a number of ways.
- More recognition for good work and achieving targets – Drive staff engagement and get them working for a reward. They’ll look forward to new projects and strive for excellence.
- Let them voice their opinions – Don’t be scared of what they have to say. See what they need from you to be positive advocates and they’ll be better equipped to do so.
- Make it exciting – Don’t simply expect your staff to retweet everything you post or share a random article from a few months back. Give them new and interesting articles to share, or even leave them to create their own content. They can run it by you first, but you’ll get some creative and personal content from it.
Appoint advocacy leaders
This is an idea that may not work for every business. However, if you find your employees struggling to know what to do when it comes to sharing content or what they’re supposed to be saying – having a leader or manager can be helpful. It would be their job to inspire and monitor the rest of your team’s engagement.
They can set the pace for new campaigns and get the ball rolling. It will give them something to aspire to and a clear path of communication should they want to voice ideas but not know who to approach.
Sussex business coach – How I can help with your employee advocacy
Companies are spending so much time thinking up new and improved marketing strategies to get themselves noticed and increase their traffic. But they’re forgetting about the assets they have right at their fingertips. Your own employees work every day to market and promote your brand through the business platforms themselves. Why not expand that to their own platforms?
They offer unique, personal and customer-friendly opportunities for content that could be put to great use and expand your online reach. They can help network for your company and will still benefit themselves whilst doing so. You have nothing to lose by doing so, so make sure you’re prioritising your workplace environment and working to boost employee engagement.
Here at Chrysalis Partners, I work with businesses of different sizes to benefit from different strategies, including implementing employee advocacy programmes. If that sounds like the sort of coach you think you could benefit from working with, I would love to hear from you. Contact me today at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the contact form here and I’ll get back to your shortly to discuss your individual requirements.