How Employee Advocacy Maximizes Your Social Media Footprint
It’s no secret that organic reach on Facebook is a relic of the past, and it’s falling fast on other channels too. Relying solely on a clever headline and an eye-catching photo no longer works for getting your brand’s content in front of your audience.
Newsfeed algorithms operate on pay-to-play models that work against brands that want their content shared naturally. Adding more bumps in the road, social media algorithms also give priority to content published by people rather than posts from brands.
The death of organic reach isn’t a surprise. What may be surprising to some marketers, however, is the fact that Facebook engagement is falling, too. In fact, engagement for brands and publishers has fallen 20 percent over the course of 2017. Frustratingly, this is the case even as brands are spending more money on ads.
There are ways to “hack” the reach problem faced by marketers today. A few methods that are theorized to increase the chances for better reach include producing interactive content, conducting live videos, and adding standout imagery to all your posts. But even when you maximize your content for better reach, there’s still no guarantee that your brand will see any improvement.
This lack of reach is a big problem for marketers who have new content assets but don’t have the budgets to pay for promoted posts. Some marketers have solved this problem circumventing the social media rat race altogether, turning instead to an email finder to distribute their content to cold prospects instead.
Is there a solution for marketers who can’t abandon their social media responsibilities (other than yelling at their Facebook Analytics screens)? Yes, there is – and it lies in the hands of employees.
Employee advocacy is the tactic of empowering your employees to become promoters of your content. It turns your workforce into influential brand ambassadors while giving your content new exposure that was impossible with your social pages alone. Here is how it can help you reach more of the right audience members.
Killer ROI with Advocacy from Within
One of the most obvious advantages of employee advocacy is the dramatic boost in social reach that can be gained. However large your company’s follower count is on any given social network, chances are good that the social accounts of your employees combine for a far larger audience. This is especially noteworthy considering that social media algorithms put more weight on peer-to-peer shares than posts by company accounts.
By encouraging your employees to leverage their followers for the benefit of your company, your brand can gain access to entirely new audiences overnight – audiences who will actually see your content. And the more diverse your employees’ audiences are, the more diverse your company’s audience will be as well. An employee advocacy program can, therefore, increase both the quality and quantity of your audience.
Is your company gaining sales by building relationships within your social following? If yes, imagine the sales that could be achieved when all your sales employees build valuable relationships with their audiences as well. A social selling-focused advocacy program makes this possible.
How much would you have to pay Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to reach the thousands of people in your employees’ social-media audiences? Every time your employees create interactions with your content, you’re gaining exposure and discoverability you wouldn’t otherwise have had without dipping into your marketing budget.
Advocacy Helps Your Employees to Build Personal Brands
Employee advocacy can instill a profitable win-win scenario between a brand and its people. On the part of a company, employee advocacy offers a new kind of influencer marketing that’s taking branding to exciting new heights.
Traditionally, companies have looked outside their businesses to seek marketing help from influencers. This has been the case throughout the long history of advertising, which is why celebrity endorsements have always been so sought after.
But this new model of employee advocacy is changing everything. Companies are now realizing that they already have an army of internal influencers available to them every single day. It’s now possible to reach new social audiences from within the walls of the workplace, without expending time and energy contacting outsiders for help.
On the employee’s side, this new shift toward advocacy offers them a chance to become respected influencers in their field. Employees interested in building a personal brand have a highly effective resource available to help them: their employer. Ambitious employees appreciate the opportunity to serve as brand ambassadors for a well-established company, as this role helps them grow their own social media audiences and long-term careers. After all, your team’s culture doesn’t need to be at odds with the objectives of its members.
The more a company helps its employees fulfill their role as influencers, the more these employees are likely to return the favor by serving as valuable brand advocates. This positive cycle creates new possibilities and successes for everyone involved. Employers gain strong ROI in several key areas, and employees gain personal development opportunities both inside and outside the office.
Leverage Gamification for Continuous Team Engagement
Two crucial keys to employee advocacy are consistency and sustainability. You want your influencers to promote your company regularly, without long gaps in social media activity. Otherwise, audiences could lose interest in your employees’ posts about your brand.
So how do you motivate your employees to continually advocate for your brand, even when they’re having an “off” day?
Gamification has proven to be an empowering tactic for keeping motivation levels at their peak. In a nutshell, gamification is the strategy of adding gaming elements to otherwise non-gaming tasks. Gamification not only makes day-to-day operations more enjoyable, but it instills a healthy element of competition into the workplace.
Gamification is perfectly suited to employee advocacy programs. With the right gamification app, colleagues can compete via a leaderboard and earn points as they post to their social media accounts. The points can be redeemed for real-world prizes or other incentives such as giving a donation to a worthy cause.
One noteworthy benefit associated with adding gamification to an employee advocacy program is that the gaming aspect isn’t the only motivator. No matter how well an employee scores throughout the game, he or she is still building a strong personal brand while promoting the employer’s company on social media as well. And even if an employee has no intention of building a personal brand online, he or she may nonetheless want to compete with the rest of the employees. Either way, your brand is getting valuable social media interaction while your employees enjoy a vibrant, competitive workplace culture.
What Will Your Team Do for You?
If you’ve previously been wary of social media usage among your employees, now would be a great time to rethink this hesitation. Your workforce is already developing online relationships, and their followers could become valuable audiences for your brand.
By encouraging employees to use their social clout to advocate for your brand, you can gain marketing success that even surpasses the results of pay-to-play marketing efforts.