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Employees Are Your Best Social Media Advocates – Here’s Why #SMMW14

Posted on Mar 27th, 2014
Written by TopRank Marketing
In this article

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    Jay Baer

    What if I told you that you could increase the reach of your social content by a factor of ten by utilizing a resource that you already have?

    What resource is this, you ask? Your employees.

    Jay Baer, CEO of Convince and Convert explains that when your employees are satisfied with their job, they become your biggest brand advocates. True advocacy is born from culture, not technology or marketing.  Brand advocates, whether they are your customers or employees, appreciate and relate to the culture of your company.

    Your employee’s happiness can also have a huge impact on your brand’s social media success. In fact, in 2012, 40 of the top companied to work for were also some of the most successful companies in social media.

    If you’re not encouraging your employees to socially promote your brand’s content, you’re missing out on a huge social growth opportunity. Instead of banning your employees from social media sites, accept the fact that your employees are social active and use it to your advantage.

    Jay Baer wants you to get your employees amped about social promotion, and here’s why:

    1. The human conduit—Social media is a combination of social and commercial relationships and businesses are only tolerated on social media because it helps keep the site free for other users. In fact, no one other than marketers would be disappointed if brands disappeared from social media. People are more likely to interact with individuals than brands, so your social media success increasingly relies on the engagement of your employees.
    2. The human trust magnet—People are far more likely to take advice from their friends than a brand. In fact, 92% of American trust recommendations from family and friends but only 47% of Americans trust advertising from companies. When it comes to sharing information about your brand, 41% of people believe that employees are more trustworthy than a company’s CEO or PR department. Take advantage of the fact that your employee’s social network by encouraging them to share branded content.
    3. The human amplification engine—Your employees have 10 times more social connections than your brand does. Imagine how many more eyes you could have on your content if it was coming from your employees and not just your brand!

    If you want your biggest social media advocates, follow these steps to ensure success:

    1. Only corporate cultures rooted in trust can do employee social advocacy well. Trust your employees to make the right decision and to use social media responsibly. Knowing that they’ll be held accountable for what they post is enough to keep most employees from sharing inappropriate content.
    2. Simple social media guidelines encourage participation instead of squelching it because people are more likely to participate when they know what’s expected of them. Crowdsource social media guidelines from your employees to ensure that they’re reasonable and easy to follow.
    3. Bi-directional content sharing is key to advocate participation. For instance, you company should supply employees with links and content that they can share and employees should be encouraged to share useful content with their colleagues.
    4. Create a measurement narrative for advocacy BEFORE you begin. Determine how you’re going to measure the impact of employee advocacy? You may choose to look for increases in share of voice, social connections, reach, traffic, leads generated or even direct sales. Advocate software like Addvocate can be used to track these metrics.
    5. Roll out your advocacy program gradually. Start by training a core group of employees that are already socially active. They can then train and convince fence-sitters and late adopters.
    6. To remove doubts and boost participation, social media advice and counsel must be available for employee advocates. Identify the social media pros in your organization and see if they are willing act as a social resource for other employees.
    7. Consistently show advocates that their participation matters. Show your employees evidence that what they’re doing is having an impact and is appreciated.

    Organizational social media literacy is fast becoming a source of competitive advantage. If fact, many socially successful companies require that their employees are undergo social media training. For instance, social media competency at is now a job requirement at Citrix. 58% of Dell employees in the social media certification program engage in social media weekly on behalf of Dell. The program is successful that employees share 6x more Dell information on their personal accounts than on company accounts.

    Social media is the way of the future, so encourage your employees to share company content. Dell and Citrix prove that employees WILL share branded content on their personal accounts if they like the company that they work for and are trained to participate socially.

    Do you encourage your employees to share branded content? How has employee advocacy increased the social reach of your social?