Organic reach on social media has become harder to accomplish. With social networks adopting a pay-to-play approach, it’s highly unlikely that the posts you make on your business social pages will show up organically in social feeds.
Although social media advertising is fairly inexpensive compared to other advertising channels, you probably don’t want to allocate a large portion of your marketing budget to boosting every single social post you have. In fact, you should be very intentional about the posts you choose to boost.
So how can you improve the reach and visibility of organic content? One of the most successful ways to amplify the reach of content is by creating a social media advocacy program within your organization.
What Is a Social Media Employee Advocacy Program?
A social media advocacy program involves getting third-party advocates to promote your business through their own social media channels. Like influencer marketing, it acknowledges that word of mouth is one of the most effective forms of marketing and leverages your biggest fans as brand advocates.
Although you can certainly find brand advocates outside your organization, the best advocates are your own employees. Happy employees will do whatever they can to promote your company, from sharing articles from your blog to posting pictures around the office. Studies show that brand messages get reshared 24 times more frequently when shared by employees versus the brand.
Now, if employee engagement is low within your organization, focusing on an advocacy program might not yield the greatest results. But if you have a handful of people who you think would be good initial adopters of the program, you can drastically increase the reach of your social media campaigns by using your workforce to amplify company messaging.
So how do you turn employees into advocates?
Benefits of Social Media Advocacy for Employees
Before you ask employees to join your employee advocacy social media program, you need to be able to answer the question: “What’s in it for me?” Fortunately, employees stand to benefit greatly from an employee social media advocacy program.
By sharing your brand’s relevant and valuable content on their personal social channels, employee brand advocates not only build their personal brand but also establish themselves as credible thought leaders in their industry. This can help them grow professionally.
You can also consider giving incentives to employees who are your top advocates, whether that’s a bonus or company swag.
What’s in it for your company? Boosting brand awareness, increased lead generation, and improving your company’s talent acquisition efforts. Studies have shown:
4 out of 5 organizations increase their online visibility after implementing a formal employee advocacy program
65 percent of companies see an increase in brand recognition
8x more engagement occurs with the original post for employee-shared content
So, how do you set up a social media employee advocacy program?
Best Practices for Creating a Social Media Employee Advocacy Program
The easiest place to start is by having employees share your company’s blog articles in their social posts. Blog articles are the foundation of a content marketing strategy and offer the opportunity for readers to visit other blog articles, visit a landing page for an offer, learn more about the company, or request an appointment.
Keep it simple and easy to execute. Encourage employees to subscribe to your blog for updates, and share your social calendar with them so they know when to expect posts that should be shared. You might also want to choose someone to be a social media employee advocacy champion who encourages employees to share social media posts.
Here are a few best practices for employees when posting:
Determine a posting schedule. Having your employees post consistently helps establish a routine, maintain your presence on a social network, and keep your content timely.
Provide training and guidelines with some basic do’s and don’ts around your brand’s voice and tone.
Don’t just share the title or the link to the article. Create a unique snippet when sharing an article that contains your opinion about the topic; your thoughts about the person who wrote it (if written internally by an employee); or a quote, fact, or sentence that stood out to you from the article. Snippets don’t have to be long in nature. Sometimes a simple, “Couldn’t agree more!” or “This article is on point” can pique interest as much as a four-sentence monologue can.
Employees should only share content that their friends and followers care about; otherwise, it’ll look uninteresting, spammy, and unlike them. Leave the corporate press releases and market reports out of the employee advocate content mix.
Create company-specific hashtags so you can track conversations, mentions, and potential leads. If you can, incorporate your company name into your hashtag.
Start small and expand your employee advocacy program incrementally. Starting small will help you discover what resonates with your employees and gather feedback from them. By empowering your employees and following the above best practices, you can exponentially increase the size of your social selling channel.
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