The Comprehensive Guide to Employee Advocacy in Social Media

Sep 15, 2023

If you are looking to build brand awareness, social media is one of the best places to start. Over 3.6 billion people globally are active on social media. These platforms include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and more.You can use employee advocacy on social media to promote your brand on those social sites and build trust among your users. It is one of the best ways to advertise your business online.Join us as we dive into what employee advocacy in social media means and how it can build your brand awareness.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What is Employee Ambassador Advocacy Marketing?

Employee ambassador advocacy marketing is when you turn your employees into brand advocates. Your employees then go out and post about your brand and business on their social media sites.You can use your employees as advocates to spread the word about hiring activities, boost your business branding, and improve your brand position.One example of a company successfully doing this is Dunkin’ Donuts. They encourage their employees to be content creators. The content these workers produce is very relatable. You may even meet one of their content creators any time you enter a U.S. Dunkin’ shop.

Image from Instagram

There are two different types of employee advocacy. The first comes from personal posts by your employees about their job. For example, a worker who posts on Facebook about how they love their job is a form of employee advocacy.Another level of employee advocacy comes from actual creators staffed in the organization. You ask them to advocate for the company by creating content as an influencer.Both are effective in their own ways. Let’s look at how both could work within your company.

The Difference Between Using an Employee vs. a Traditional Influencer Marketer

With employee advocacy marketing, you see employees in a company sharing content that leadership sent to them. Kubbco has worked with several companies that employed this tactic and saw excellent results.On the other hand, you can also give your advocates creative freedom to make their own promotional content. In this method, creators are the ones responsible for the content from the inside out. So while a company may still feed them a few ideas and guidelines, the creative is still in control.This second type of advocacy is very powerful because this freedom also makes the content more relatable. On the other hand, scripted promos or posts from incentivized employees lack a degree of authenticity.The best employees to be brand ambassadors are those already in marketing and sales. They can craft a personal message while also leveraging their knowledge in marketing to boost the company. However, too much sales-talk in the post will start weakening the authenticity of the post.In the end, an independent content creator is the least “salesy” and most authentic option. They are attached to the company brand without necessarily pushing the brand’s agenda. Instead, their posts focus mainly on having fun and expressing themselves creatively.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Why Brands Should Use Employees as Content Creators

Employee content is proven to reach 8X the number of people than branded content. Users are also more likely to react to content from a peer versus a brand because peer content is more relatable and trustworthy.Brands also find that they are limited in what they can do on social platforms. Often, social media platforms want businesses to pay for the chance to advertise their business. However, regular profiles have a greater reach with fewer restrictions.When you empower your employees to advocate for your brand, the promotions don’t feel as corporate and are more personal. As a result, these posts will get more impressions and have a greater reach.

The Risks of Employee Brand Advocacy

When you ask your employees to be brand advocates, you blur the line between their regular work and their social employee advocacy. As a result, they divide their attention between the two. Since most contracts don’t include a clause for social media advocacy, you need to decide which direction they should place most of their focus on.Open communication is critical for making employee brand advocacy work. Tell your employees what you expect from them at work and how much time they can spend on social media advocacy.For example, you can establish a rule that 90% of their time is spent on their regular job while 10% of their time is allotted for social media advocacy. In addition, the employee should do any other social interactions outside of work hours.Another risk is that you will give your employee all the tools to be a full-time influencer. So, they may decide to leave your business altogether to pursue that career instead. You are giving them the space to create a persona, build an account, and invest in a community. If they see their success on the platform, they may prefer creating fun content over their current position. You only have so much control over what goes into a contract, and there aren’t any practical clauses to prevent employees from leaving your company.As an employer, you must decide if the benefits of an employee advocacy program outweigh the risks. For some, losing an employee may be too great a loss. However, many other brands can work with those risks. For example, at Kubbco, we are a team of content creators, so we aren’t concerned about training other employees as content creators.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How To Ensure Your Employees Don’t Deviate from Your Brand

Sometimes your employees don’t paint their company in the best light. For example, a person may create a post about how much they dread another Monday and the return to work. But, unfortunately, that type of post wouldn’t reflect positively on your business.

Image from TikTok

However, the internet moves on very quickly. Many brands have made mistakes in advertising, like Pepsi and Peloton. But the world soon forgot and focused on more exciting news. Often your perceived risk is greater than the actual risk.You should also remember that you trusted that employee enough to hire them, so you should also trust them on their employee advocacy platform. If they don’t uphold your business standard online, you don’t have to keep them on at your company.You can also reduce the chances of negative brand posts from your advocates by training them or asking that they save the posts as drafts for review before they publish them. Your business should devote a small team to creating and monitoring online content. The team reviews, encourages, and empowers each other to create content while also maintaining that level of freedom needed for authenticity.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How to Track your Employee Advocacy Results

If your employees use their own social media platforms, you are limited on how much tracking is possible. In addition, since you aren’t an account holder, you also won’t see the social media site’s analytics. Instead, you will need a lot of manual work to check views, likes, and comments.One way to make this process a little easier is asking your employee advocates to report back to you with the analytic data from their promotional posts. However, some sites may allow third-party tools to measure the result and automatically send reports back to you.The two main pieces of data you should be most interested in are your reach and engagement. These show how many people see the posts and which percentage of those viewers become conversions. An effective way to analyze this data is to offer your advocates a discount code. Now you can track how often people return and use that code at your business to measure how effective the advocate’s posts are.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Your Next Steps in Employee Brand Advocacy

The first step in this process is co-creating content with your employees. The next step is employing them to become creators on their own. Your brand will benefit from giving your employees a sense of pride and ownership in their content.Start with one to five employees and equip them with the necessary tools to be advocates. You can track your return from the investment and adjust your resources accordingly. Each business should decide how involved they want to be in the content creation process. Some may want to be involved with creating each post, while others are ok with receiving a monthly report from their advocates.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Closing Tips

Here are six final tips to guide you in your next steps:

  1. Identify your advocates and provide creator material.
  2. Outline some guidelines for your creators, like banned words and no nudity.
  3. Provide your advocates with regular content ideas and ask for their feedback
  4. Reward your advocates with incentives like extra benefits or pay.
  5. Give employees some creative freedom to recommend their own ideas.
  6. Be aware that sometimes quality won’t be present, especially if they aren’t a professional. However, having a large quantity of promotions can be just as effective.

If you are interested in learning more about the employee advocacy program, listen to our podcast on the topic.Do you need help developing a social media content strategy for your employee advocates? Talk to one of our content expertstoday.

Chris Kubbernus

As CEO of Kubbco, Chris leads the company's vision and uses his 20 years of advertising experience to drive results for our clients.

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