Employee advocacy saved my company $11.748 in advertising costs; in the past 7 days!
Every employee is part of the marketing department. But, this is something often overlooked by demand generation teams.
Of course, this won't happen to you. Let's focus on how you can generate quality traffic through employee advocacy.
When I started in B2B marketing, employee advocacy was a very vague term to me. You might feel the same way, so let's start with the basics.
What is employee advocacy?
The definition of employee advocacy is integrating employees in demand generation. The goal is to transform employees into brand ambassadors. This will empower them to promote your company in their social networks.
For this to be successful, you will need an employee advocacy program. Such a program contains guidelines, resources, and rewards for your employees.
You need to make it very easy for employees to share content in line with your branding guidelines. This is something you need to keep in mind while developing your marketing campaigns.
Let's say you've published a new whitepaper. How great would it be if 1000 of your employees spread this across social networks?
This brings me to my next point.
What are the benefits of Employee Advocacy?
There are massive benefits to both the employees and the company. The benefits for the employees are often forgotten, so let's focus on that first.
Thought leadership and Domain expertise
Almost everyone likes to improve their personal brand. By sharing quality content on social networks, employees will improve their online presence.
Their follower base will increase and people will consider them as domain experts. This is incredibly valuable for your employees.
If they keep sharing quality content, they will reach the thought leadership status. Of course, this will improve their position in the market and employability.
Increased job satisfaction
People often spend years of their lives at companies. They invest a huge amount of time into work per week. They are proud to work for your company.
Essentially, you are giving employees tools to express this to their network. Other people will see how they are contributing to a company. This leads to increased job satisfaction and will reduce your employee turnover rate.
People who are motivated will deliver better results. This is a win-win.
Every employee advocacy program should include some sort of reward system. You need to create incentives for employees to participate.
An employee advocacy program should include gamification. Make it fun for employees to participate and reward them!
Now let's focus on the benefits for companies; the reason why you are here!
More website traffic and leads!
This is one of the top reasons to implement an employee advocacy program. Imagine if you are working for a company with 1000 employees. If all these employees share content on their social network, you will get millions of impressions.
To top this off, you will save thousands of dollars on advertising costs.
Your employees are connected to your target accounts. This is especially true for your sales team. Social selling is a technique used by top salespeople. An employee advocacy program compliments this and will drive more opportunities for your company.
Increased brand visibility and exposure will benefit your company massively. When you get more eyes on your content, you will also get more backlinks over time. More backlinks mean that your organic traffic will increase.
Implemented well, employee advocacy will catapult your business to the next levels. This is exactly why you are reading this post. Also, in times of an economic recession, employee advocacy will give you much-needed marketing awareness.
Let's mention a few more benefits and then dive deeper into driving traffic through employee advocacy.
Humanize your brand
People are tired of listening to companies saying how great they are. However, people like listening to other people. We are social creatures and this is something you need to keep in mind.
By letting your employees talk, you will humanize your brand. People are much more likely to create an emotional connection to your brand. Even if you have a great product now, other companies will also have a similar product.
You need to establish that emotional connection with your customers. That way, when times get tough, which they will, they will stand by you.
Especially at B2B companies, this is often overlooked.
Recruit top talent
Skilled people only want to work for inspirational companies in which they can make an impact.
They are most likely employed at another company. These people will only consider switching if your brand perception is spectacular. These are usually highly paid and in-demand people.
When your employees are saying great things about your company, highly skilled people are more likely to make the switch.
Now, with the basics out of the way, let’s focus on why you really came here.
How to generate traffic through employee advocacy
Through employee advocacy, we received 3552 website visitors in the past 7 days!
This is incredible considering how little effort we’ve put into this. However, you will need the right framework and mindset to achieve this.
You need the right tools
Employee advocacy is hard without the right tools. As mentioned, you need to make it easy for your employees to share content. They don’t want to be browsing your website to look for the latest and greatest content.
To activate your employees to share marketing content, you need a way to provide new content to all your employees in an easy way.
In B2B marketing, there is basically one tool that rules all. Can you guess which one?
It’s LinkedIn Elevate.
LinkedIn Elevate and employee advocacy are a match made in heaven. Further down in this post we will dive into the details so that you can replicate this at your company.
If you are looking for other growth marketing tools, here I’ve compiled a list of 51 growth marketing tools.
You need to create internal buy-in
With any company-wide program, you need internal buy-in. If you don’t have this, it’s not going to work.
Talk to your senior management team and promote your employee advocacy plan. Once you have their buy-in, let them communicate it to the entire company.
In your communication plan, highlight the benefits for your employees! Always begin by communicating what’s in it for them.
If your employees don’t understand the benefits, they are not going to participate.
You will also need champions of the employee advocacy program. This means that you need to have a few people from various departments that are always promoting the program. Which brings me to my next point.
Keep the program top of mind
Keep the employee program top of mind if you want to have long-term results. Generally, when implementing the program, you will see a spike in website traffic. Everyone is excited and starts promoting content like crazy.
But, without constant promotion of the employee advocacy program, people will start forgetting about it. Naturally, this will result in less website traffic generated through your program.
This is why having champions is so important. It’s their core role to keep promoting the program in their teams.
Let’s give you a real-life example.
I’m a champion of the employee advocacy program at my company. I’m the marketing manager for Northern Europe at a big IT company.
I work a lot with salespeople and what is one thing that salespeople love? It’s competitions!
So, I’ve made a competition out of the employee advocacy program. At the end of the quarter, the person with the highest score wins a prize. This is presented during the quarterly business review sessions, in front of everybody.
The benefit is that we reward people for good work, but indirectly, we are showing that some people are not participating. This generally results in them picking up the program again.
After every month, I give the entire team an update about the current status of the program. In that email, I will show who is currently on the top of the leaderboard. This way, I’m refreshing their memory of the employee advocacy program.
This brings me to my next point.
An employee advocacy program requires constant maintenance. It’s definitely not a set-and-forget campaign.
You need to be uploading new content to your tool (LinkedIn Elevate) on a daily basis. You don’t want people to log in to the tool and see no new content. There must always be something new!
If there is nothing new for them to share, they will lose interest and forget about the program.
As a champion of the program, I’m also responsible for making sure there is fresh content for the people to share. This doesn’t mean that I’m creating the content, but I made sure it’s visible on LinkedIn Elevate.
A tip is to ask your PR agencies to upload content to LinkedIn Elevate. All of my PR agencies have access to LinkedIn Elevate and are uploading new content daily.
Together with the other marketing teams, there is enough fresh content for people to share daily!
Employee Advocacy and LinkedIn Elevate
As mentioned, LinkedIn Elevate is pretty much the top tool for employee advocacy in B2B markets.
In the past 7 days, this saved us $11.748 in advertising costs!
LinkedIn Elevate allows your employees to subscribe to certain content topics. Whenever you publish new content on a certain topic, let’s say “Event Marketing”, then it will appear in their feed.
Your employees will then have the option to post this to LinkedIn. Of course, they will be able to edit the text and make it relevant for their network. They also have the option to post it to Twitter.
A great thing about LinkedIn Elevate is the fact that it shows you the engagement statistics.
In the past 7 days, the LinkedIn posts from our employees have generated a reach of 2.5 million and this resulted in 6140 engagements. By engagement, I mean clicks, shares, comments, and likes.
This is huge! Of course, the more employees you have, the higher the numbers will be.
The danger of LinkedIn Elevate is that your employees will repost content to their network without editing the default text. You need to train your employees on making their posts relevant for their networks.
If you don’t do this, you will see that your employees are posting a lot, but are not driving engagements. This is very frustrating for both the employee and yourself.
Every message has to be personalized for their network. Of course, for every employee, this will require a degree of experimentations. This is absolutely fine.
A proper employee advocacy program will generate your business but also your employees a lot of value. It’s a little gold mine often overlooked by companies.
What’s employee advocacy doing for your company? Let me know down in the comment section.
Extra resource: Use Medium to drive traffic to your website