The cost of digital marketing is rising at a rate 5x faster than inflation. Even for companies flush with cash, the problems with traditional advertising methods aren’t limited to cost alone—in fact, 30% of all internet users are currently using ad-blockers to deliberately avoid branded content.
As the amount of reliable options to reach an audience grow increasingly scarce, the voice of your employees continues to prove itself as one of the most powerful and influential marketing tools around. Given that the average social media user has around 842 connections, and knowing that people pay twice as much attention to content published by people they know, an employee advocacy program can skyrocket your brand reach to new heights.
Making Authentic Connections with Employee Advocacy
In order to make a true impact with employee advocacy, employees need help creating authentic posts that have the ability to influence your target audience—meaning, you can’t just leave your teammates to their own devices and hope for the best.
To help you discover the best route to a strong and effective employee advocacy strategy, we’ve put together a list of some of the best advocacy examples you can use to inform your campaigns. As peer-to-peer marketing becomes a more critical part of the average buyer journey, these advocacy examples will help to inspire you towards a stronger solution for marketing, social selling and branding.
1. Edina Realty
Edina Realty had spent decades positioning itself as a leader in the real estate market, long before concepts like social proof and employee advocacy emerged. After more than 60 years in the industry, the company needed to evolve and seek out ways of showing their expertise through digital channels. Of course, it’s not always easy to make such a significant transition.
The Digital Communication Strategist for Edina Realty, Kelli Schmitz revealed that one of the biggest challenges their agents faced was finding the right content to post on their social channels. On top of that, many professionals struggled to word their messages correctly when they found something to share.
By using Employee Advocacy by Sprout Social as a tool to transform their advocacy strategy, the company was able to empower their employees and amplify their voices on digital channels, leading to a 180% increase in stories shared, and 25.6 more engagements per story.
- It’s important to give your staff some help finding the right content to demonstrate a consistent and authentic brand voice
- Some employees may need help adjusting their messaging to suit company guidelines
- Achieving industry leadership in the digital world is easier when your key staff members have an authoritative personal brand
When it comes to exploring advocacy examples, connectivity and tech company “Sky” offer some fantastic insights into what social sharing should look like. Sky is fantastic at using their employee advocacy program not just for advertising purposes, but to attract new talent onto their team too. After all, now that 79% of applicants are using social media for their job search, it makes sense that they’d be looking for insights from experts who already work with the company.
With an employee advocacy program and a #LifeAtSky hashtag on social media, the brand has been able to demonstrate their employer brand in a unique and engaging way. The organization also encourages employees to share a range of different content, including videos, pictures, and more.
- Employee advocacy can be a great way to recruit staff members well-suited to your company culture
- A range of media can be a great way to attract different audiences, as some will prefer pictures and videos to text
- A great shareable hashtag can make it easier to get employees involved with advocacy examples
E-Commerce company Shopify helps a wide variety of companies to sell unique products and services online. However, this company can also serve up some fantastic advocacy examples for those looking to improve their social campaigns.
Rather than asking employees to simply re-tweet or comment on branded updates to help spread awareness for promotional content, Shopify encourages their staff to demonstrate their own expertise and skills with lengthy how-to guides, interviews and case studies.
Aside from their employee advocacy program, Shopify also have marketing courses and training available to ensure that everyone in the office is on the same page. When employees publish new content on the Shopify blog, the company highlights it on their social channels.
- Don’t focus entirely on sharing promotional content through employee advocates, allow them to demonstrate their expertise with thought-leadership pieces
- Provide staff with the training they need to make the most of your employee advocacy campaign
- Celebrate your employees by sharing their content and achievements on branded social media pages
Communications company AT&T benefit from a social army of thousands of employees who are all trained to speak and share on behalf of the brand online. The organization’s social advocacy strategy has been active for several years now, known as the AT&T Social Circle. This, combined with the AT&T Careers page on Facebook, creates a diverse branding strategy that helps to showcase a more transparent and authentic voice.
To ensure that everyone works together on the same page, AT&T created a fun and simple video all about their advocacy program that staff can watch before they get started. The firm also consistently encourages employees to share on social media with a selection of brand guidelines. Although there are rules to follow for people who choose to share messages online, every team member is also encouraged to demonstrate their own personal voice, which helps AT&T to come across as a more human, and diverse business.
What’s more, as social media sharing continues evolving, AT&T has been on the front-line of many popular trends—including live video streams. In March of last year, they even held a chat called “AskATT Jobs” where interested recruits could learn everything they needed to know from trained recruiters on Facebook.
- Allowing your employees to have their own voice in employee advocacy makes your company appear more human and authentic
- Training should be fun and simple – don’t make advocacy too complicated, or people might avoid it
- Take advantage of the latest trends on social media to engage your audience in conversations with your advocates
Last on our list of employee advocacy examples is Boeing—a company that thrives on community and teamwork. This brand earns its reputation through thoughtful investments into corporate social responsibility, which help the organization to appear more authentic, and caring. Younger demographics are increasingly more concerned about working with and buying from firms that stand for something, and Boeing responds to this with a fantastic advocacy plan.
Not only does Boeing provide staff with all the training they need to create social posts that echo the corporation’s values and purpose, but they also constantly provide curated access to useful information for their team members too. To add to the brand’s transparency, there’s a Global engagement summary available to download online.
Additionally, to make sure that employees have valuable experiences to share on social media, Boeing also reward their staff for the time they spend volunteering and contributing to charitable causes. Their “Dollars for Doers” campaign means that employees get rewards back for the time they spend supporting other organizations. This encourages the development of plenty of great employee stories.
- The employees in your advocacy program should highlight the unique parts your brand image and help your company to appear more credible and authentic
- Employees and customers are more likely to give attention to and value the brands standing for something meaningful
- Rewarding your staff for efforts that could improve your advocacy programs is a great way to encourage engagement and buy-in.
Learning from Advocacy Examples
Hopefully, some of the advocacy examples above will have inspired you to launch your own authentic plans in the months to come. Remember, there’s more to a great advocacy strategy than simply giving your employees access to the content you want them to share. The right program will take time, planning and focus, but eventually, you could transform your employees into the perfect marketing tool for your brand.
Social media policy: A guide for your organizationPublished on January 12, 2023 Reading time 9 minutes