We’re diving deep into the topic of employee advocacy (EA) during July. The first in a three part series, this blog explores what EA means, and why it’s an essential part of your social media strategy.
What is Employee Advocacy?
Simply put, EA is when your employees champion your company. It can take many forms - everything from a discussion at a dinner party (“I’m so excited about our new product!”) to a formal content-sharing program.
The Arthur W. Page Society’s “7 Principles” expresses this idea beautifully:
“Realize a company’s true character is expressed by its people. The strongest opinions - good or bad - about a company are shaped by the words and deeds of its employees. As a result, every employee - active or retired - is involved with public relations. It is the responsibility of corporate communications to support each employee’s capability and desire to be an honest, knowledgable ambassador to customers, friends, shareowners and public officials.”
Do you know what he's telling his friends?
Why is Employee Advocacy important?
Let’s talk numbers for a second. Let’s assume your company has 500 employees. Of those, let’s assume that half are happy. Of the 50% that are happy, let’s assume that 60% are on social media. (It’s probably higher than that, but we’re going with averages here.) That means that you have 150 people who can possibly be advocates for your company online. And if those 150 people have 338 friends (again, on average) that means your potential audience is 50,700.
Let me repeat that: your potential audience is 50,700, from just 500 employees.
Do you have 50,700 followers on your branded pages?
In addition, “brand messages are re-shared 24x more frequently when distributed by employees” compared a corporate handle, says MSLGroup. That leads to a 561% increase in the reach of your messages.
EA is the cheapest and most effective way to share your social media content. You don’t have to pay for advertising; your content is shared more frequently. What more could you want?
How Can Advocacy Help?
Employee advocates are brand ambassadors. They can help make your company appear like a place people would want to work; they can raise awareness of products and services; they can even share good news and praise.
One part of our EA strategy at Oracle Social Cloud is “Fancy Friday,” a tradition where we dress up in costumes and take photos. (Read more about it here.) Our employees love it. Several of us have received comments like, “Your job is so cool- I want to work there!”
What is the benefit for our employees? We’re a creative bunch who want to show off our unique style- exactly what Fancy Friday does. It’s fun. It’s morale-boosting. Who wouldn’t want to wear a pirate costume to work?
Those are some pretty happy pirates! #LifeAtOracle
What’s the benefit for Oracle? We’re establishing ourselves as a fun place to work. Recruiting talented employees will be easier for us. As Oracle CEO Mark Hurd says, “I’m a big believer that he who hath the best people usually wins.”
- Happy employees are more likely to advocate for your company. Make sure you’re meeting their needs.
- When you’re hiring, ask yourself, “Is this a person who I want to represent my company?” Even if they’re not in a client-facing or PR position, they’re still a face to your team.
Assuming you’ve hired good people, the next question is: how can I encourage my employees to advocate for our company?
… Stay tuned for part two!