Making the Case for Employee Advocacy: A Pocket Guide

April 25, 2018

your employee advocacy program pocket guide

Editor's Note: You'll find your handy pocket guide at the end of this article.

As Michael Brenner points out in the intro to LinkedIn’s new guide, The Network Effect of Employee Advocacy, we as people “are all now the most important source of information for each other.”

With trust toward institutions reaching disturbing lows, and with skepticism toward corporate advertising reaching new heights, we must identify new ways to break through with a genuine message that resonates. Employee advocacy may be the clearest path to accomplishing this.

Six Reasons Employee Advocacy Cannot Be Ignored

To help convince your execs that they need an employee advocacy program, check out the downloadable pocket guide below!

1. Increased Engagement with Content

A recent study by Buffer App on the state of social media in 2018 found that engagement is the No. 1 way brands measure the ROI from their social media ads. Unfortunately, driving this engagement happens to be more difficult than ever, due to content saturation and shortening attention spans.

Employee advocacy not only grows engagement among your prospects and customers, who are more likely to interact with content shared by people they know, but also among your employees themselves, who tend to feel a greater sense of pride and belonging when they’re empowered to become voices of the brand.

Our data shows that content shared by employees on LinkedIn receives 2x the engagement of the same content shared by a company.

2. Elevated Brand Awareness

The quest to become top-of-mind for prospects begins with gaining base familiarity. Your company’s name might not register with someone if they see it flash by on their screen with no pertinent context. But if they see their friend talking about a cool project they’re working on or touting your organization’s deeper purpose, it’s far more likely to make a lasting impression.

Remember that employees have 10 times more 1st-degree connections than their company has followers, on average, so they can serve as powerful conduits to the outside world.

3. Genuine Thought Leadership

Plenty of studies make it clear that B2B decision-makers place a lot of value on thought leadership content. But these efforts should not be confined to the C-suite.

As Lee Odden likes to say, “Everyone is influential about something.” When employees are out there in the social web, sharing quality content related to your business, it reflects well on your organization.

In fact, the end results can boost your bottom line. The 2017 Edelman Thought Leadership study found that:

39% of C-suite execs and decision makers said thought leadership content had influenced them to ask a vendor to participate in the RFP process, and 47% said such content had a direct impact on awarding business.

Superior Recruiting

We expend considerable resources finding and recruiting new talent, when the best candidates are often friends and acquaintances of people who already work for us. And nobody can promote your company’s culture and perks more authentically than the folks who experience them firsthand daily.

Because of this, it’s no surprise that LinkedIn data indicates socially engaged companies are 58% more likely to attract top talent, with the average organization tripling its number of job views and applications under an employee advocacy program.

Sales Empowerment

Social selling is all about building relationships and delivering tangible value through social networking. Employee advocacy aligns perfectly with this approach, providing sales reps with the content they need to attract and engage qualified prospects.

LinkedIn’s research shows that leads developed through employee advocacy convert seven times more frequently than other types. Not only that, but salespeople who regularly share content are 45% more likely to achieve quota.

Earned Media Value

Generating earned media has proven elusive and vexing for marketers, because it involves elements that are largely out of our control. But there’s no doubt that it’s a vital component of an effective marketing strategy. Brian Kolb of Content Marketing Institute wrote: 

If you gain earned media, you are more likely to get through your audience’s filters . . . it enables your brand to reach a wider audience – an audience that may not know about you but can benefit from your content, products, or services.

Employee advocacy unlocks this combination of reach and relevance. One company profiled in The Network Effect, AccorHotels, has generated $2.2 million in annual earned media value since launching its program.

Embrace the Employee Advocacy Buzz

These six advantages make it easy to see why employee advocacy is rising as a widespread business priority, and why the time to secure executive buy-in is now. Use the below pocket guide for quick reference when making your case to the c-suite: 

If you’d first like to learn more about employee advocacy, and see how other companies have ingrained it successfully, check out The Network Effect of Employee Advocacy: Amplify Your Brand and Content Reach.