Consumers in today’s digital age want to connect with the people behind the business rather than just the products and services. This shift towards humanizing your brand has given rise to the concept of employee advocacy in social media strategy.
Human connection has become a strong differentiator in an era where businesses compete not only on their products but also on the experiences they provide. Customers want to know who the person behind the brand is, what the firm stands for, and that they are more than a transaction.
This is when employee advocacy comes into play. It’s all about utilising your team’s combined voice and power to truly express your brand’s message. Here’s why it’s critical:
Authenticity and Trust
Customers are more likely to trust a message when it comes from a real person rather than a brand’s official account. When employees advocate for their workplace, it adds authenticity and credibility to your brand’s online presence.
Employee advocacy allows for a more personal and diverse range of content. Employees can share their perspectives, behind-the-scenes insights, and even user-generated content that resonates with a broader audience.
By encouraging employees to share company content, you’re tapping into their social networks, which can extend your brand’s reach beyond what’s possible with your official channels.
Building a Successful Employee Advocacy Program
Here’s how to create a thriving employee advocacy program that humanizes your brand:
1. Education and Training
Start by educating your employees on your brand’s values, goals, and the kind of content that’s appropriate to share. Provide training on the do’s and don’ts of social media.
2. Clear Guidelines
Develop clear guidelines for your advocacy program. Ensure that employees understand their roles and responsibilities, including what they should and shouldn’t post about. Transparency is key.
3. Make it Voluntary
Employee advocacy should be voluntary. Encourage participation without any pressure, and recognize and reward those who actively engage.
4. Tools and Resources
Offer the necessary tools and resources to make sharing content easy. Social media management platforms, content libraries, and templates can streamline the process.
5. Content Sharing
Create a steady stream of shareable content that employees can post. This includes company updates, industry news, success stories, and even personal stories of their experiences within the organization.
6. Feedback and Improvement
Provide constructive feedback to help employees improve their advocacy efforts. Encourage a culture of continuous learning and refinement.
7. Show Appreciation
Recognize and appreciate the efforts of your employee advocates. Publicly acknowledge their contributions and celebrate their successes.
Real-World Success Stories
Many brands have already embraced employee advocacy with remarkable results:
- IBM: IBM’s employee advocacy program, “IBM Voices,” has significantly expanded the company’s social reach and engagement. Their employees are encouraged to share content and engage with their own networks, helping IBM connect with a broader audience.
- Starbucks: The coffee giant uses its employees’ personal stories and experiences to connect with customers. Starbucks encourages its baristas to share content, creating a more personal and authentic brand image.
- Dell: Dell’s “Dell for Entrepreneurs” program encourages its employees to support small businesses by sharing content and resources. This approach has strengthened Dell’s connection to its entrepreneurial audience.
Humanizing your brand through employee advocacy is not just a trend; it’s a fundamental shift in how businesses approach social media. It’s about people connecting with people rather than faceless corporations. By empowering your employees to be advocates, you can create a brand that’s not only trusted but loved by your audience. After all, it’s the human touch that can truly set your brand apart in the digital world.