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Are Employee Advocates the New Influencers?

Companies and brands are increasingly turning to employees to increase their brand awareness and create buzz. This trend is known as employee advocacy and involves encouraging employees to share company content and messages on their social media accounts. Accordingly, the question arises as to whether Employee Advocates are the Influencers of tomorrow.

two people shake hands
two people shake hands

Key Takeaways

  • The benefits of using employee advocacy for a company include trust and credibility, increasing employee engagement, and improving reputation and brand awareness.
  • An Employee Advocates program can become successful if you share your KPIs with your employees, create a positive work culture, set guidelines and be transparent but no prohibitions for communication.
  • Well-known examples of positive employee advocacy are Sky and Google.

First, the goal of every company and brand should revolve around employing people who are passionate about them and enthusiastic about telling their friends and family about the company. This word-of-mouth is a good referral program which can be expanded and leveraged.

Now that more and more companies are implementing employee advocacy programs, the question is whether employee advocates are the new influencers. While traditional influencers continue to play an important role, the growing importance of employee advocates suggests that they may soon have just as much influence on shaping public opinion and consumer behavior.

Benefits of Employee Advocates

Employee engagement can be an effective tool that can benefit companies in many ways. By encouraging their employees to share company messages and content on social media, they can improve  reach, credibility and reputation while increasing employee engagement and morale. Here are some of the key benefits of using employee advocacy for your business:

  • Trust and credibility: One of the main benefits of employee advocacy is that it can help build trust and credibility with your target audience.
  • Increase employee engagement: Employee advocacy programs can also help increase employee engagement and morale. By having your employees share content and messages about your brand, you engage with them, and in turn, you simultaneously engage them with your brand. You give them responsibility and importance within your marketing strategy, making them feel valued and empowered.
  • Improving Reputation: Through mentioned points, employee advocacy can improve your company’s reputation in the long run. By having employees tell positive stories and experiences about your company, you can build a more positive image in the eyes of your target audience.
  • Brand awareness: In addition to high reputation, employee advocacy can ultimately help increase awareness and recognition of your brand, as you also reach out to your employees’ networks, who have a natural interest in your brand because someone close to them works there. This can be extremely beneficial for small businesses that don’t have the resources to invest in traditional marketing and advertising.

By building trust and credibility, encouraging employee engagement, improving reputation and increasing brand awareness, companies can develop a more positive and effective marketing strategy. If you’re interested in implementing an employee advocacy program, it’s important to be strategic and have clear goals in mind. However, with proper planning and execution, employee advocacy can be an effective way to achieve your marketing goals.

How to start an employee advocacy program

To encourage employee advocacy, brands must first create a positive and engaging workplace culture. Happy employees are more likely to become advocates. In this regard, the two most important motivators for advocacy are a positive relationship with the company and strategic internal communications. To create an engaged atmosphere, it is important to focus on goal setting, career opportunities, motivated managers, evaluations that highlight strengths and continuous feedback. Encouraging the development of leaders and middle managers is also important.

The second step is to set goals and KPIs for an employee advocacy program. Communicate them openly, directly and track progress using measurable social media metrics. Take a look at key contributors, organic reach, engagement, traffic and market sentiment. A good idea is to create a custom hashtag that your employees can mention to support recruiting and brand goals, showcase company culture, and make employees feel connected to the company and each other.

That said, don’t forget to establish social media guidelines as well. What is the best way to convey the message defined in the target communication? How do employees strike an authentic, but at the same time the tone of your brand? How often should they post and respond to other content? Create a guide that answers key questions in addition to style guidelines to simplify the process. What kind of language should they use? How often should they post? How should they respond to comments? This should primarily clarify the extent to which company logos are used, written terms, and messages communicated. This is just for consistency and should not be a list of prohibitions.

Famous Examples of Successful Employee Advocacy Programs

As briefly touched on, an employee advocacy program can be especially beneficial for small brands and companies. A small team usually indicate a close brand engagement and a limited budget for influencer marketing. Nevertheless, two good practices are the most extensive entertainment and communications network in Europe, Sky and the tech giant Google.

Sky uses the power of its employee lobby to showcase its unique corporate culture and brand values. With 3,000 employees and 23m customers, employees also play an important role in promoting the brand on social media. The employee advocacy program #LifeAtSky features upbeat posts from employees about fun extracurricular activities like skating, parties and great events. The program shows a glimpse behind the scenes, demonstrating that even big companies like Sky have a “human” side.

Google is even larger, with 100,000 employees, yet uses employee advocacy to recruit more talent. The tech company focuses on highlighting its corporate values and successes. Through #LifeAtGoogle, employees can share tasks and career paths, as well as interview tips and interact with potential applicants. But it doesn’t stop there, other employee advocacies include #MyPathToGoogle, which highlights the diversity of backgrounds and cultures at Google, and #PetsofGoogle, which features the furry friends of Google employees.

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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