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By Christine Geraci

Why to start an employee social advocacy program

“Employee social advocacy” describes the exposure and engagement employees generate for your brand through their personal social media presences. You might be surprised to learn that some of your employees who are particularly convinced of your mission are already taking it upon themselves to advocate on your behalf. You might even discover that some of your employees have more reach and influence than your company’s own social presence! Why not effectively harness that power?

Influencer marketing is a rapidly growing method of building brand exposure and engagement online. Using influencers to spread your message can be extremely effective, and should be considered as part of a comprehensive marketing strategy. But just like traditional advertising, it costs money.

The good news is that some of your most effective influencers might already work for you, attending meetings and grabbing coffee in the break room, with no need to pay for the influence their names command beyond their usual salaries and benefits.

Before starting an employee social advocacy program, it is important for company leadership to understand why it is worth the extra time and effort. If members of your leadership want to know why they should get on board with an employee social advocacy program, here are seven things you should tell them.

Social media favors people, not brands

Brands can no longer reach significant numbers of people on social media without paid promotion. Social platforms are now designed to favor content created by individuals, and they organically “boost” that content when it receives many likes, comments and shares. Social advertising can be effective, but your content also needs the marketing power of authentic endorsements from multiple people.

Social networks do not want you to leave their platforms

Posts containing links to other websites are less likely to reach new audiences unless many people are sharing the same links. It might not be enough to post a link to a blog article or landing page and hope for the best, even if you boost it with advertising dollars. However, content posted by an employee directly to a social network is highly likely to reach new audiences.

Create an authentic content promotion network

When you give employees the power to share their perspectives on your company’s mission with people who know and trust them, your message instantly becomes more credible. Your messages will also receive more exposure and engagement, and gradually rank higher in search results when multiple people share and link to them.

Teach your employees new skills

Employee social advocacy programs help your employees learn how to use social media platforms for business purposes, and how to effectively promote content. They will appreciate your willingness to teach them new skills and nurture their interest in these marketing techniques.

It is cost-effective

Paid social media advertising and promotion is effective, but it cannot even approach the value of endorsements from employee and customer advocates. Effective employee social advocacy can, over time, help decrease the amount of money you need to spend on traditional and social advertising. Instead of investing money in more advertising, you are investing more time in the professional development of current employees.

Reinforce commitment to your company mission

Your employees already believe in your mission, and they come to work for more than just a paycheck. Empowering them to share their belief in that mission only helps to strengthen their loyalty to your cause.

Once you have established your own employee social advocacy program, it is important to clearly communicate your company’s social media policies and guidelines to employees. Establish clear procedures for employees to properly represent your company online while keeping their own independent social media presence. You want employees with a strong understanding of how their conduct online affects your company’s mission and reputation.

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