Why Content Marketing Needs Employee Advocacy

December 8, 2016

Content Marketing and Employee Advocacy

An employee advocacy program makes it easy for your employees to share content that enhances their personal brand and the corporate brand. There are plenty of benefits for both parties: Employees can expand their personal networks, become known as thought leaders, and connect with the company in a more meaningful way. Your organization benefits from an expanded audience, and a more authentic brand voice.

It’s important to remember, however, that employee advocacy is an aspect of a company’s marketing activity. Like everything else marketers do, it should be deployed strategically, measured against goals, and optimized over time. It’s not enough to email links that employees are obligated to share and call it a day.

When you initiate an employee advocacy program, you should be able to measure concrete ROI from your activities. The business benefits of greater employee advocacy have been well-tested and proven, but are reserved for those who take a mindful, strategic approach.

Here is how employee advocacy fits into your content marketing strategy for each stage of the buying cycle.

Attract Stage: Build Awareness

Employee advocacy is a natural fit for reaching a larger audience with a relevant message. After all, employees have up to ten times the followers of your company’s social pages, with diverse networks that expand far beyond those your company might think to target.

This leads to far greater interaction with content. In an average company, only 3% of employees share company-related content, but they are responsible for driving a 30% increase in the content’s total likes, shares, and comments.

Key Strategic Element: Make sure to curate content for employees that will be of interest to the employees and their audiences. It helps to have an opt-in system where employees can choose topics they prefer to read about and share. That way, you can make sure they will enthusiastically share and engage in conversation.

How to Measure Success: Look at the number of employees sharing, along with the amount of interaction (likes, shares, comments) each post gets.

Engage Stage: Build Relationships

Of course, content marketing strategy doesn’t stop at building awareness. The next step is to build relationships that become leads. That means sharing content that inspires a deeper connection, like following your Company Page or subscribing to your company blog.

At this stage, your audience starts to narrow to the most relevant people for your message. Those who opt in to next steps are ready to engage with your company.

Key Strategic Element: Encourage employees to build relationships by following up on content interaction. They should reply to comments and add frequent commenters to their personal network.

How to Measure Success: On the employee side, measure the expansion of personal networks—those who use our employee advocacy platform, LinkedIn Elevate, tend to grow their networks 4x faster than before.

On the company side, first make sure you are reaching the right audience. Track the demographics of those who have engaged with your content. Then look at the increase in site traffic and number of leads your content has generated.

Convert Stage: Inspire Purchase Decisions

Employee advocacy is about more than the traditional top-of-funnel activities. If your sales team has been active in your advocacy program, they should be well-positioned as advisors who can turn leads into sales. So it’s important to properly attribute employee advocacy-assisted conversions.

Key Strategic Element: Keep a close eye on the sales team’s activity level in your program. Stoke their enthusiasm by focusing on the benefits. Our research shows salespeople who regularly share content are 45% more likely to exceed quota and get 6x more profile views.

How to Measure Success: Success at this stage comes from salespeople’s interactions, new leads acquired, and actual conversions. The right employee advocacy platform can help track the buyer’s journey all the way to a completed sale.

Post-Purchase Stage: Continue to Nurture

It’s common knowledge that the sales process doesn’t end with a completed sale—rather, the sale marks the beginning of an ongoing relationship. Employee advocacy can continue to nurture existing customers to generate repeat business and referrals.

Key Strategic Element: Make sure your content mix includes non-promotional content aimed at educating existing customers and helping them solve problems. Think of the wider context of your customers’ industry and career—what content will help them look brilliant in their next meeting?

How to Measure Success: Monitor engagement with your post-purchase stage content, including likes, shares and comments. Use that feedback to refine the topics covered to make each share that much more valuable to your existing customers.

Employee advocacy works best when it is a sustained effort by the marketing department to strategically attract, engage, and convert the most relevant audience. With the right platform and deployment, you will be able to track success and demonstrate the tangible business benefits of the program. When you do, make sure to share the results with your employee advocates: Seeing how their shares impact your business’ bottom line will inspire them to be even more active.

LinkedIn Elevate is the only employee advocacy platform that uses LinkedIn data to help you select the right employees, deliver the right content, and know and optimize your results. Learn more about LinkedIn Elevate.