Employee Advocacy – the modern day BBQ sell?

Employee Advocacy – the modern day BBQ sell?

Employee Advocacy always reminds me of the recruitment marketing tissue session opener – the BBQ test: “If you were at a BBQ (or dinner party), how would you sell your job to a friend?”

Whilst this is a great conversation starter, the truth is you are more likely to listen to a friend and engage in their experience than if you were told the same story by a brand. This is evident in that only 15% of people trust messages from companies, whereas 90% of people trust recommendations from people they know. This is more relevant than ever in the age of ‘fake news’, as people are constantly inundated with untruths and misleading messages, giving them more reasons not to trust them. In response, companies are adjusting their content strategy with a strong focus on transparency and are looking internally to tell their story – in the form of employee advocacy. And the results speak for themselves: statistics show that brand messaging reaches 561% further when shared by employees vs. the same messages shared via official brand social channels*.

What is employee advocacy?

Employee advocacy involves motivating your employees to create and engage with brand-related content on social media or internal platforms, with the aim of amplifying your brand’s voice or furthering employee engagement (or both). Thus, drawing upon a brand’s most powerful assets – its people – and building a strong brand requires that all employees feel linked to both the corporate and employer brand.

It’s not as simple as just asking your employees to write and engage in content (as it’s time consuming and not necessarily at the top of their priority list). You need motivators and internal systems to ensure a seamless experience, and to monitor success, you need trackers. This can be done manually by an internal team. or you can use existing tools. Depending on your business needs and internal capabilities, both can be successful, as long as it feeds into your overarching content strategy – whether it be content marketing, employer branding, influencer engagement or social recruitment.

How do you become an advocate?

Becoming an advocate entails more than writing one article a month and posting it on LinkedIn. a good employee advocacy strategy should provide training to employees on how to best write, engage and post content. This should cover all the media channels and provide tips on how to boost professional profiles, gain online traction and reach target audiences. Ultimately, advocates should have an understanding on how to best showcase your company and how best to amplify their own professional brand (because we tend to listen to the most endorsed and connected people in the room).

What sort of content should you create?

You want your content to be rich and diverse, and to cover as many conversation territories as possible. This can include an array of formats including profiles, case studies, online conversations, live Q&As, thought leadership creation and more. Whatever you do, it’s essential that you provide internal guidance and prompters, as inspiring employees on what and how they can create is more likely to garner higher engagement.

It’s important to note that there is no one Employee Advocacy model which fits all companies, as within any organisation there are unique employee populations (think formal dinner party vs BBQ). Like any good host, get to know your employees and their needs to better understand how to effectively engage them and get them excited at the prospect of becoming an advocate. Like any good sell, explain what it is and how they can benefit the company and increase their own profile in the professional world.

Every one of us has the ability to positively impact our company’s brand. Whether it is having a chat at a BBQ or posting insightful content, we are (or should be) our employer’s greatest advocates. Good conversation and storytelling on any platform or arena is impactful – and remember, people will always prefer hearing the truth straight from the horse’s mouth, rather than through a faceless brand.

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