Employee advocacy isn’t a new concept. Your employees are often the public face of your business, interacting with customers on a daily basis. More often than not, they’re the first association that customers have with your brand. But in the age of social media and with the growing popularity of platforms like TikTok and Reels, which make it easier than ever for anyone to share, the landscape of employee advocacy is quickly changing. There are vast opportunities for your employees to champion your business, and empowering your team to be online advocates can amplify your message, boost your business, and bring in new customers you might never have reached otherwise.
In 2020, employee advocacy is more valuable than ever. In the wake of COVID-19, customers are searching for authenticity and transparency from the businesses they support. Having employees who spend every day at your business and know the inside scoop who are willing to vouch for your business can do wonders for reassuring your customers that you have their best interests in mind.
Follow these steps to empower your employees to speak up and spread the word:
Lead By Example
No one’s as passionate about your business as you are, so it’s time to share the love. The easiest way to encourage your employees to engage with your business on social media—and to set a precedent of high caliber content—is to start by doing it yourself. Not only will this give your employees a blueprint for advocacy, but it will also help you to understand the roadblocks your employees might encounter, the ins-and-outs of the platform you want them to use, and the kind of content that works best for your business.
Be A Show Off
A little bragging can be a good thing, especially when you’re bragging about someone else! Encourage your employees to take pride in their work by recognizing their wins on social media. This can include awarding an “Employee of the Month,” giving a shoutout when a team or individual reaches a big goal, or giving credit for excellent customer service—especially when customers make a point to compliment a specific employee. And don’t be afraid to praise their personal accomplishments and milestones as well, like running a marathon, celebrating a big birthday, or welcoming a new baby! Just be sure to ask if your employee is comfortable sharing a little piece of their personal life with your audience (and respect their reasons if they choose to opt-out). Showing your employees that you’re proud of their achievements will help them feel comfortable bragging about their work wins online as well.
Establish Company Culture
Give ‘em something to talk about! When your employees feel like they’re part of a team, they’re more likely to share and discuss their contributions on social media. By creating a strong company culture that your team feels connected to, you’re also creating opportunities for content creation. Step one: ask your employees what they’re passionate about! Is there a cause that’s near and dear to their hearts? Hosting a fundraiser or organizing a day off to volunteer in your community creates goodwill amongst employees AND customers. Find creative ways to celebrate holidays, or host happy hours after especially hard projects are completed. Provide opportunities to learn new skills—work-related or otherwise—and invite your employees to teach their coworkers about something they’re good at! All of these things help foster an environment that empowers your team to feel a sense of pride and belonging in your business—and gives them plenty of opportunities to share their excitement on social media!
Make Sharing Simple
Employee advocacy doesn’t have to be complicated. A few simple steps can set you and your team up for success. Create a hashtag that employees can use to tag their work-related content, and encourage them to use it whenever they share. For example, Starbucks encourages its employees to use the #tobeapartner hashtag, allowing all those posts to be found in one convenient place, which can also be helpful for marketing purposes. Other companies incentivize their employees to use a hashtag by raffling off a prize at the end of the year to participants. You can make sharing easy for potential advocates by creating social media graphics that they have access to and are welcome to use.
When it comes to speaking about your business online, HOW you say it is almost as important as WHAT you say. If you’re going to rely on your employees to be a voice for your brand, a social media policy protects employees AND you from online backlash, legal trouble, security risks, and threats to your reputation. In addition to common-sense guidelines (no vulgar language or violence in business-related content, obviously), provide your team with your business brand standards such as your logo, color and font choices, and even key messaging like your mission statement. This will help ensure that the content being created is cohesive and represents your brand well. Train your employees on what, when, and where to share—but be open to new ideas and employee input to find a balance that works for your business.
Coordination and cooperation are the keys to successful employee advocacy. Done right, you can help your team to feel confident sharing their role in your business and encouraging their own network of family and friends to become loyal customers. Need some help establishing a social media presence that your employees will be excited to interact with? Reach out to schedule a consultation with the digital marketing experts at TrustWorkz.