Most companies want to grow their awareness of their products, services, initiatives, and culture. They invest in search engine optimization (SEO), paid search, blog posts, social media, and other marketing channels. However, if you want to amplify your efforts (and add that extra cowbell), it's time you invested in an employee advocacy program.

Will Ferrell dancing with cowbell on SNL's more cowbell sketch
"More cowbell" - Saturday Night Live

What does employee advocacy mean?

Employee advocacy is when someone promotes their workplace, creating greater business awareness. This could be through word of mouth or sharing content on their social media platforms.

By encouraging employees to discuss your company and their personal experiences, you can grow an army of ambassadors. These "employee advocates" will help boost your company's messages, products, services, and culture.

Types of employee advocacy

There are many ways employees can spread awareness of your brand—both physically and digitally.

Company swag and merch

Blond lady customizing a mug for company swag
Photo by grinvalds / iStock

Swag is a simple and effective tool for boosting brand awareness. You could provide employees with totes, pens, water bottles, laptop stickers, phone grips, or other useful items. If you do it well, they may combine this example with our next.

Social media advocacy

iphone displaying social media apps for employee advocacy
Photo by Jeremy Bezanger / Unsplash

98% of employees have at least one social media account (Source: Weber Shandwick). You just need to curate content they can share and provide motivation. Alternately, you could encourage them to create branded content as part of a contest.

Word of mouth

Two women chatting around a table r.e. employee advocacy
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com / Unsplash

If you recognize, appreciate, and reward your employees' hard work, they'll likely share it with their friends and family. Incentives and recognition should be a fundamental part of your strategy.

Why initiate a brand awareness campaign?

  1. You can unlock a larger audience through your employee's social media following
  2. Consumers trust personal recommendations more than traditional marketing
  3. People follow individuals more than companies/brands on social media
  4. Two thirds (67%) of Americans turn to social media as their primary source for news and events (source: Post Beyond)
  5. 89% of B2B business leaders say it enhances their perceptions of an organization (source: Sprout Social)

Benefits of an employee advocacy strategy

Companies that encourage (and even incentivize) employees to post/share more about their company will see tremendous rewards. Statistics suggest that a successful employee advocacy program can result in 5x more web traffic and 25% more leads (Source: Inc.)

Just ten acting digital marketers with 500 followers each will help you reach 5,000 people you weren't touching before. That could make a significant difference not only to your brand awareness but also to your sales.

Tips for employee advocacy

If you want employees to advocate for your business, you need to remember three things. First, your program should be straightforward. Second, there should be something in it for your advocates (perhaps a reward or an event to look forward to). And lastly, you need to ensure high job satisfaction.  

Here are some quick tips…

  1. Provide accessible and shareable content.
  2. Encourage employees to express what they like about the company/job.
  3. Give training on what they can/cannot share, e.g., avoid confidential information.
  4. Recognize employees who create and share excellent company content.
  5. Encourage personalization and genuineness (generates more engagement).
  6. Be consistent with your employee advocacy strategy, and keep up with all of the above.

How to launch an employee advocacy campaign

Set goals & KPIs

First things first, you need to decide your end goal. Are you aiming for a particular sales target, website clicks, new customers, or perhaps more email sign-ups?

Find a way to motivate participation.

Unless you already have an entire team of uber passionate employees, an incentive is likely necessary to get your desired results. You could incentivize people with a fun experience, bonuses, or even a gift basket.

Provide training

You may find that some employees feel uncertain about what content to share. On the other hand, you may have people who don't understand where to draw the line. For this reason, training is always recommended, even if it is very brief and casual.

Offer inspiration, dos and don'ts, examples of employee advocacy done well, and other such pointers.

Creating happy employees that want to promote your brand

Male and female colleagues laughing together at work
Photo by Jason Goodman / Unsplash

To have authentic advocates, you need happy employees. There are several ways you can better employee satisfaction:

If this is an area you need support or inspiration, make sure you reach out to our Private Events Team. Employee engagement and teambuilding are their fortes!

Our specialists can connect you with motivational speakers and detail the experiences we offer. All of which are ideal for initiating your program and rewarding staff.