A common question that many employers find themselves asking is “How can I get my employees more engaged?” Employee engagement plays a huge rule in employee satisfaction and retention, a goal which every employer is striving towards. Because recruiting new talent is both expensive and time consuming, investing in employees and ensuring that they stay with the organization is certainly a worthwhile investment. But what if there was a way to increase employee engagement while also promoting the company?
There is- look no further than what marketers are now calling “employee advocacy”. Employee advocacy takes place when employees become brand ambassadors, sharing news, content, and support surrounding the organization or brand on their own social media profiles. By doing so, employees are tapping into a much larger network of people than companies could reach on the company’s social media profiles alone. Many companies are beginning to realize the power of social media advocates in general- loyal customers that become brand advocates and share branded content on their profiles. That being said, there is a huge source of brand advocates that many employers are overlooking in their efforts- the employees themselves. Encouraging employee advocacy, and developing programs surrounding it, is beneficial both from a marketing standpoint and a human resources perspective.
First, let’s talk about why fostering employee advocacy is a worthwhile endeavor from a marketing perspective. As mentioned, when employees share content from the organization, they are projecting that content to their own personal social networks, which can be expansive. This is a very cost-effective way for an organization to greatly increase its reach. Research has shown that brand messages are shared 24x more frequently when shared by employees. Furthermore, leads developed through employee social marketing convert 7x more frequently than other leads.
Employee advocacy is so valuable because it is also extremely beneficial from an HR perspective, as it helps increase employee engagement and drives employees to form a deeper bond with the organization. Employees of companies that are socially engaged are more likely to stay at their company, to believe that their company is competitive, and to trust that their company will be successful in the future. In addition, research shows that almost 90% of advocates in a formal employee advocacy program said that their involvement in social media had a positive impact on their career.
To make employee advocacy programs successful, employers should develop a strategy for the type of content employees can share, and establish a means of communicating that to the employees. An employer, for example, can provide sample social media posts that an employee can copy and paste in a post on their own social media profiles to share a new blog post, or promote a new product or service. Employers can also incentivize employees to share in creative ways, such as offering a prize to the most socially engaged employee.
In conclusion, employers that are looking to improve employee engagement should look no further than employee advocacy. Employee advocacy can be a relatively low-cost, highly effective means of engaging employees regularly. Furthermore, employee advocacy is beneficial both from an HR standpoint, and from a marketing standpoint, as it helps to greatly increase the organization’s social reach. Thus, it is certainly a worthwhile endeavor for employers to develop employee advocacy strategies and programs.