Understanding Employee Advocacy on Social Media

by | Dec 21, 2023 | Strategy | 0 comments

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Employee advocacy on social media refers to employees promoting and representing their organization on their personal social media accounts. In organizations where employee advocacy is supported, employees willingly share and endorse company stories, initiatives, and values with their network, and the content is typically well-received because it’s in the employee’s voice. To the reader, it feels genuine.

A company should care about employee advocacy not only because it is an indication of a positive workplace culture but also because it increases brand awareness, engagement, and credibility for the entire organization. It makes everyone’s job just a little easier. Products and services gain additional exposure. Brand equity increases without investing extra time or money. HR has an easier time recruiting top talent when the organization has a good reputation.

HR and leadership in organizations will often work with their marketing department to foster an environment where employee advocacy is encouraged, but they also work together to develop tools to make sharing positive company information as easy as possible.

In this article, we will review three essential aspects of employee advocacy: what employee advocacy looks like, how to explain the value to key stakeholders, and how to implement or improve an employee advocacy plan. 


What does employee advocacy look like?

If you are presenting the idea of employee advocacy to a group or individual, don’t assume they understand what you’re referring to. Even if they know what the term means, they are unlikely to understand the full potential of the practice as part of an organization’s culture. Take nothing for granted and begin with the basics.

Voluntary Participation:

Employee advocacy is voluntary, with employees choosing to participate rather than being compelled to do so. This ensures that employee advocates provide a genuine and personal perspective on the company, which is more likely to resonate with their followers and build trust.

Shared Content:

Employees share company-generated content like blog posts, videos, announcements, or product updates, as well as their insights and experiences related to their work or industry. The immediate value to the organization is an extended reach beyond official company channels through free and meaningful brand promotion that amplifies marketing efforts.

Enhanced Engagement:

Employee advocacy often leads to increased engagement from the public on social media platforms, as individual content tends to receive more likes, comments, and shares. Encouraging employees to be active advocates can also boost their engagement and sense of connection with the company.


How do you explain the benefits of employee advocacy?

Once you and your audience have a shared understanding of employee advocacy, the next goal is to demonstrate the value. The following list contains items that are of value to every organization, but it’s up to each individual to determine which of the items on the list are most valuable to the person or people they are addressing. 

1. Increased Brand Visibility

Employee advocacy can help the company tap into the social networks of its employees, reaching a broader and more diverse audience than the brand’s official channels alone. When employees share company content or discuss their work, they extend the brand’s reach to their personal networks, increasing visibility for the company and its products or services. 

If your organization has a global presence, employee advocacy can help bridge cultural and language barriers by utilizing employees’ local expertise and networks.

2. Increased Brand Equity

Consumers tend to trust individuals more than brands. When employees share their experiences and insights, it adds a layer of authenticity to the company’s online presence.

Additionally, employee advocacy can also enhance the organization’s reputation as an employer. When employees share positive experiences about working at the company, it can attract top talent.

3. Cost-Effective Marketing

Leveraging employees’ social networks is a cost-effective marketing strategy. It doesn’t require a significant financial investment, making it ideal for small and medium-sized businesses.

  • Employees can amplify the reach of the company’s content marketing efforts, such as blog posts, whitepapers, webinars, and videos, by sharing and promoting them on social media.
  • Employee-generated content often receives higher levels of engagement, such as likes, comments, and shares. This interaction can lead to increased brand awareness and customer loyalty.
  • Social media advocacy can drive traffic to the company’s website, landing pages, and lead generation forms, helping acquire potential customers and leads.
4. Competitive Advantage

Companies with active employee advocacy programs may gain a competitive advantage by having a more substantial online presence and better engagement compared to competitors who are not utilizing this strategy.

5. Professional Development

Employee advocacy encourages employees to stay updated with industry news and trends. This can enhance their professional development and knowledge, benefiting the employees and the organization.

6. Customer Service and Support

Employees can provide quick responses and support to customers who reach out via social media. This enhances customer service and satisfaction.

In the event of a crisis or negative publicity, having a network of employee advocates can help in disseminating the company’s official response and controlling the narrative.

7. Measurable Results

Employee advocacy efforts are quantifiable. Companies can measure the impact of advocacy programs through engagement metrics, website traffic, lead generation, and other key performance indicators.

Employee advocates can provide valuable market insights and customer feedback by actively participating in social media conversations and monitoring industry trends.

Overall, employee advocacy on social media can be a win-win situation, benefiting the organization and its employees. However, it’s essential to implement it with a clear strategy, guidelines, and monitoring to maximize these advantages while minimizing potential risks.


How do you support employee advocacy in an organization?

Effective employee advocacy programs are usually supported by clear guidelines, training, and tools to help employees participate confidently and in alignment with the company’s goals and values. 

“The Marketing Department at Kinaxis creates post-ready material designed to be shared by employees using their social networks, working the Sprout Social tool,” reports Joe Cannata, Certification Director at Kinaxis. “Our recruiters use their own LinkedIn accounts to post job opportunities. I use my LinkedIn account to make recognition posts for willing candidates that achieve special levels of our certifications.”

The easier you make employee advocacy, the more likely it is to happen. Here are some practical steps to help you launch or enhance your program.

1. Create a Social Media Policy 

Start by developing a clear and comprehensive social media policy that outlines guidelines, expectations, and best practices for employees when using social media on behalf of the company. Make sure it includes legal and compliance considerations.

Whatever else is included, it’s critical to encourage employees to be authentic and honest in their social media posts. Authenticity can help build trust with the audience.

2. Educate and Train Employees

Provide social media training to your employees. This training should cover not only the company’s social media policy but also general social media best practices. Encourage employees to add their insights and experiences when sharing company-related content, but only after you help them understand the importance of their personal and professional brand alignment. A personal touch can make the content more relatable and engaging, so it is well worth the training time.  

3. Identify and Encourage Brand Advocates

Identify employees who are active on social media or have a strong online presence and engage them as peer leaders. Encourage and support these individuals to become brand advocates who set an example for others.

It’s also important to lead by example. Company leadership should be active on social media, setting an example for employees. When senior executives and managers are engaged, it often motivates others to follow suit.

4. Provide Content and Resources

Supply employees with a steady stream of high-quality, shareable content like blog posts, infographics, videos, or other relevant materials. Make it easy for them to share this content with their networks.

5. Monitor and Measure Results

Track the impact of your employee advocacy program. Measure key performance indicators (KPIs) such as engagement rates, website traffic, lead generation, and brand sentiment. Use these insights to refine your strategy.

An essential part of your employee advocacy program is an organized feedback mechanism for employees to share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns about the program. This helps you adapt and improve the program over time, and tying it to your results measurement will help you remember to check in with the employees. Do people feel heard? Do they agree that you’re looking at the right metrics? Do they have ideas you still need to consider? You’ll only know once you ask.

By implementing these strategies, you can foster a culture of employee advocacy on social media, strengthening your brand’s online presence and building stronger connections with your audience. Social media platforms and best practices evolve, so it’s crucial to provide ongoing training and updates to keep employees informed and effective.

About the Author

Dr. Amy Jauman is an author, ghostwriter, international speaker, podcast researcher, and university professor. She is a certified social media strategist and certified digital marketing professional with a master’s degree in experiential education and a doctorate in organization development. Amy also holds a graduate certificate in crime analysis from Boston University and is an active member of the International Association of Crime Analysts. In addition to her ghostwriting projects, Amy has authored three textbooks, five ebooks, and multiple articles and blog posts.


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