What Is Employee Advocacy and Why Is It Important?

Row of blue chairs on blue background with one chair lit up yellow. Why employee advocacy is important, blog post
Row of blue chairs on blue background with one chair lit up yellow. Why employee advocacy is important, blog post

It’s no secret that employees are the backbone of every organization’s success. But what you might not realize is just how powerful that backbone can be. When it comes to recruiting candidates, growing your brand on social media, or creating your dream company culture, look no further than your employee advocates.

Your employees have a unique perspective on your company. They see how you perform day in and day out. They interact directly with your customers. They know who the company is on the inside and can help add credibility to the image you project to the public.

Best of all, any employee can become an advocate for your brand. Social media has given everyone a place to share their voice. Using platforms like LinkedIn, every employee has the potential to become a social media influencer for your company.

Here’s a closer look at the role of employee advocacy (specifically at social media employee advocacy in terms of LinkedIn employee advocacy), why it matters, and how to go about an employee advocacy LinkedIn strategy.

Table of Contents:

What Is Employee Advocacy?

Employees at work.

Let’s start with a definition: What is employee advocacy, exactly?

We think of employee advocacy as the intentional practice of turning your employees into word-of-mouth advocates for your brand. It’s encouraging your employees to actively promote you as an employer.

What does an advocacy program include?

  • Empowering the company by sharing its messages, values, visions, and company news with others
  • Sharing positive experiences in the workplace with non-employees
  • Serving as a product or brand expert by answering questions and creating content on multiple social channels
  • Promoting company content to grow its reach
  • Recommending the brand’s services or products to others
  • Referring job seekers to the company
  • Embodying the company’s best interests by following guidelines for internal communication

When done well and consistently, employee advocacy can help you grow your brand awareness and reputation faster and more effectively than your marketing alone.

Why Is Employee Advocacy Important?

Magnet attracting figures.

Employee advocacy has a lot of benefits.

  • For starters, it requires a lower budget as you are reallocating existing resources. Instead of spending money on new or outsourced content creation, your employees are sharing some of the load.
  • Studies have shown that employee advocacy can 10x your brand’s reach, boosting brand buzz and increasing your company’s bottom line.
  • It also increases your credibility amongst your workforce's connections and makes them more likely to try out your services or products. Their recommendations are coming from real people, not brands or paid advertisements.
  • An employee advocacy program is also a great way to keep your employees up to date on the latest happenings in your industry. They can gain valuable insights while interacting with potential customers and prospects they might not have had before. Help them experience your company from new perspectives to create better experiences for the customers with whom they interact.

How Does Employee Advocacy on Social Media Work?

Like your company, your employees are probably active on at least one social media network.

Statista reveals that more than 82% of U.S. adults have at least one social account. This not only means having an account, but also whole social networks of friends, family, and followers who view and engage with their posts.

While you can promote employee advocacy on any social media network, many brands opt to double down on LinkedIn. That’s because LinkedIn is inherently designed for networking and brand building.

As the professional’s network, it’s a place where professionals meet in their official capacities. It’s not a place for family vacation photos and quirky Buzzfeed quizzes. It’s designed to promote brands and companies, create thought leadership, and share value and insights across a range of topics.

Because of this, LinkedIn is a place where professionals are most likely to pay attention to what your employees have to say.

When crafting a social media employee advocacy program, it’s important to help employees see the value in advocating for your brand. They need to learn what to post, when and where to post it, and why they’re posting it. They should understand their role in your overall employee advocacy social media goals.

Tips for a successful employee advocacy program on social media

1. Keep Them Motivated

Motivating your employees can empower them and help them feel excited to advocate for you via social posts. Offer incentives and spur a little healthy competition.

Some employee advocacy platforms have leader boards that give points for every share and provide useful analytics based on shares. This will induce competition while still keeping it professional, and it will also give you insights into which employee or post is performing better. You can give incentives to the top competitors as you please.

2. Set Clear Goals

Set realistic, short-term goals for your social advocacy program. These goals have to be measurable. The idea is to see if you are reaching your goals or if you have to tweak your program to make it better. If goals aren’t being reached, investigate what the problem is and improve accordingly.

3. Set Social Media Guidelines

It is important to ensure your employees understand what they can and cannot share as representatives of your business. Careless posting and commenting can cost your business by driving customers away. As your employees start posting, look for examples of good (and bad) posts that can help you create an employee advocacy playbook to use for future posts. Document your social media policy in writing so advocates can refer back to it.

Tip: Download our free social media guideline template or read our blog to learn more about the most important employee guidelines and start working on your employee advocacy today!

4. Get C-Suite Buy-In

Getting support from the employer starts at the top. Make sure your C-suite leadership understands the value of an employee advocacy plan. The C-suite can (and should) become advocates too, and can help to amplify employees as they create and share company-branded content. They might even feel inspired to become thought leaders on social media and contribute to the employee advocacy strategy. 

5. Trust Your Employees

In the early stages, a day-to-day check-in is fine as you're establishing boundaries. But don’t micromanage everything they post, as this can be very demotivating. Once the rules and guidelines are set, check in once a month to see what they’re posting but don’t constantly obsess over it.

Employee Advocacy Examples

Employee advocacy programs as well as employee ambassador programs sound great in theory. But what do they look like in action? Get inspired with a few employee advocacy examples we’ve seen from other brands:

Salesforce Employee Advocacy Recruitment

Salesforce is a category leader when it comes to business CRM software.

It’s also a top-notch place to work, according to its employees. As of 2021, the company had enrolled nearly 11,000 employees in its social media ambassador program.

Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff emailed his sales team to start using social media to spread the word and make connections. He wanted employees to try to recruit sales performers and even put together a few ready-made posts for them. In return, employees would earn a referral bonus.

Suggested social media posts.

As a result, the team shared more than 350 links on LinkedIn within 24 hours – twice the average over the last 30 days. The posts reached more than 159,000 professionals at 40,000 companies. And since the posts were geared toward sales teams, the campaign was highly targeted.

Chick-Fil-A's “Little Stories"

Not just a social media example, but Chick-Fil-A's “Little Stories” allows employees to share stories from their frontlines.

The commercial series focuses on different Chick-Fil-A employees sitting on a couch with a customer they’ve connected with. Together, they share a heartwarming story that proves the brand is about more than just chicken.

Employee telling their story.

These stories encourage employees to go above and beyond every day and encourage employees to share these little moments and reinforce the brand’s image.

Google's @LifeatGoogle Page

With more than 100K employees around the world, there’s no one better to tell Google’s story than its own eyes and hands. Google aims to differentiate itself as being the best option for everything it has to offer. This means choosing the best candidates to join its ranks, so Google turns to its employees to help with the recruiting.

LifeatGoogle post.

Google’s user-generated @LifeatGoogle page is dedicated to employees who want to share their stories. It’s authentic and completely run by employees. It’s intel from the inside that job seekers can put to work and even use to connect with current employees.

Adobe’s Social Shift Program

Another gold standard in employee engagement, Adobe’s Social Shift program emphasizes training its team members on the role, benefits, and how to’s of employee advocacy.

The company-wide program has close to 900 brand ambassadors and attributes its success to helping employees see value for themselves in participating.

Adobe employee advocacy program.

The company encourages employees to become ambassadors by sharing their employee work-life stories, using Adobe products, or participating in their social impact efforts.

Employee Advocacy Tools and Programs

Since social selling and sharing content is not a part of everyone’s job description, they will need all the help they can get. That’s why we recommend investing in employee engagement advocacy platforms.

Investing in a proper platform like DrumUp or Linkedin Elevate makes sharing less time-consuming for employees of all departments.

An employee advocacy tool is another thing that can help you out – content curation tools are great for employee advocacy programs as they give easy access to shareable content for social media.

Another tool to help you amplify your brand’s message is this ebookHow to Build A Serious Social Media Program. In it, you’ll find tips and tricks from a veteran PR and social media expert who built successful media programs on both small and large budgets.

Also, remember to make employee advocacy a team sport, as playing as a team will also give both your workforce and the organization an opportunity to bond better.

At Meltwater, we help you capitalize on the content your employees create with holistic social media monitoring, management, and intelligence. Track brand mentions, posts, click-through rates, and engagements across the web, including social media channels where you don’t have a company presence. See top-performing content at a glance and how it’s helping your brand image. Identify your best internal influencers and share how they’re making a real difference.

To learn more, request a demo today!

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