Employees are an important part of the workplace both for the work they do for the business and for their role played in external communications. This blog looks at ways to engage and encourage all of your employees (not just sales and marketing) to be a part of the wider marketing goals.
What is employee advocacy and why is it important?
Employee advocacy is the process in which employees promote the business’s products or services online. These marketing tactics are a discretionary effort for the employee and can help to build a brand and increase its reach.
Simon Sinek once said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it.” This can also be applied to internal marketing. Using effective internal communication and considering employees’ feelings and opinions can help your external marketing.
Open employee communication and involving them in the communication strategy, will not only enrich employee experiences and company culture, but it can also have a positive long-term effect on recruitment and human resources efforts. Forward-thinking businesses involve the whole team in the decision-making process and achieve the best results when employees feel included in the process.
What are some employee marketing strategies that brands can adopt?
- User generated content – This is seen as one of the most authentic content types. This content is produced by the employee advocate and posted natively on their channels. The business can then re-share this content with its audience (with the permission of the employee.)
- Email signatures – Give employees an email signature which they can also attach to their personal accounts.
- Branded headers – Why not offer a branded header for employees to use on their LinkedIn profiles?
- Branded goodies – With a lot of the workforce now working from home, why not send them a branded gift, such as a mug or water bottle? These can be purchased inexpensively and are a nice touch (and again make great social media posts). You could even send little wellbeing hampers with treats such as tea, coffee, and some biscuits (just remember to make sure nobody has any food intolerances first!)
- Ask your employees to share content – Let your employees know what content you want them to share.
What internal marketing strategies can be used to turn employees into brand ambassadors?
One of the reasons why employees make the best brand ambassadors is that they average over 1000 social connections each.
Businesses must care about their employees. Outside of work, your employees talk about your business; the good and the bad. How many times have you heard your friends talk about their jobs, their bosses, and the workplace culture? A negative experience could cost the business. By fostering a positive work culture your employees will talk favourably about the business and promote it to their social connections.
- A social media policy is essential – Maybe employees are not posting about your business on social media because they don’t know they can post, or they don’t know what they can post. A social media policy here with some clearly defined guidelines to help guide employees and protect the business. Additionally, have a dedicated contact who can answer any queries that may arise.
- Communicate with employees – If you have a product launch, or even some content you’d like to be shared, don’t be afraid to ask brand ambassadors to share the content.
- Have an internal communications newsletter – If you want your employees to be well-informed about the business, you need to ensure you’re providing them with regular updates. A newsletter is a great way to do that.
What are the benefits of employee advocacy?
When an employee posts original content about your business on social media, the content is viewed as more authentic than the brand content that you produce. This is because people like other people’s opinions. Think of it as a product review, if a brand said, “our product is the best” or a person wrote a review saying, “this product is the best,” Which one would you find most believable?
Benefits to the employee
- Freebies – Everyone loves a freebie, and you could incentivise employees with free company merchandise (mugs, bottles, notebooks etc).
- Increases their professional profile – With regular business postings, employees can build their professional profile.
- Networking – When employees post company updates on their personal profiles, it can be an opportunity to network.
Benefits to the business
- A wider reach – Your business’s social media pages can only do so much, and employees will have eight times more reach. Furthermore, followers of your employees are seven times more likely to convert.
- More leads/sales – When employees are posting positively about their business, it leads to increased trust. People are more likely to buy off people they know.
- Improved employee performance – Employees performed higher when they were in an employee advocacy programme.
- Employee retention – Employees will remain with a business that makes them feel valued. Retaining staff is much more cost-effective than recruiting and training new staff. You don’t want to lose an employee’s experience and knowledge of your business.
- Hiring new staff – Today’s job seekers (especially Gen Z) will not work for a business that does not align with their beliefs and values. Using your current employees in marketing shows the job seeker what type of business you are, and how you treat and care for your staff. Gen Z and Millennials undertake extensive research of a company before they apply so if they can see happy staff and a positive work culture, they are more likely to apply for a job at your company.
How to use employee images on the website and social media
You need to seek out the permission of any person whose image you use on social media. You should also include in what circumstances you are going to use that image (i.e. a post on social media). As the person’s image is part of their personal data, you’ll need permission to use it. This can be addressed with a simple image release form.
Ideas for authentic, employee-focused content
Here are some ideas to get you started on using staff in your comms:
- Team-building days – Are you having a team day in or out of the office? These snapshots into your working environment are great for engagement and authenticity. Those who attended and had fun will likely reshare your original post on social media and may even create their own too.
- Someone’s birthday – show your staff that you care and give them a birthday shout-out (or even a nice company-branded gift if you are feeling generous!)
- Charity collecting/bake sales etc – Are any of your employees doing a charity challenge? (For example, a 5k run or coffee morning.) These are great examples of CSR and possibly with a donation link (such as Just Giving), then your employee could raise even more money for their chosen charity!
- A photo of staff in a brick-and-mortar store/office – If you have a brick-and-mortar store, an image or small video of your staff can highlight how great it is to work at your company.
- Meet the team – this only needs to be a picture of the employee with maybe a few words about them, their job title, what their favourite part of working at the business is, and their likes/dislikes. If you look at the bottom of our blogs, you will see an author bio telling you a little bit about the author, which includes their name, experience, and a fun fact. For example, mine talks about my B2C background and off-key singing; both of which are true!
- Mini-challenges – You could have a TikTok dance challenge or a lip sync battle. Whatever it is, make sure you have a hashtag for it that includes your company name, so staff can participate (especially in the WFH/hybrid era).
So, there you have it, engaging staff to be part of your social media and getting them to share content will help your business reach new audiences. If you want to know more about optimising your digital marketing, you can connect with us today and see how we can make your marketing goals a reality. Why not sign up for our monthly newsletter where you will get tips, tricks, and industry trends?