Employee Advocacy? – Are you still advertising or are your employees already advocating?

Corporate influencers, internal brand ambassadors or employee advocacy – the active involvement of employees as multipliers and influencers is now an important topic in many large companies. What authentic brand ambassadors succeed in doing in external communication can also have a great effect inside the company! The time when employees were mere recipients of information is over, at the latest since the establishment of social media.

Employee advocacy, also in internal communication, is a promising approach that is worth taking a closer look at.

Blogger vs. employee. The battle of the image bearers.

Digitalisation brings with it many new impulses, innovations, processes, methods and strategies, also for communication. Perhaps sometimes so many that one loses the overview or is spoilt for choice.

Influencer marketing usually involves hiring people with a reputation and influence, such as famous bloggers or YouTube stars, to promote one’s own company in social networks with a wide reach. The advantage of this is definitely the large community of bloggers, but it certainly costs something. So, cleverly asked: Why do you have to go so far out of your own company if the most loyal and authentic multipliers are in your own house? Not only bloggers are imaginative and creative trendsetters and role models. If you take a closer look, you will also discover a lot of testimonials and multipliers among your own employees who are passionate and committed. Or would be, if they were motivated to do so.

Employees are the most credible ambassadors you can find. And what they bring to the table with their loyalty and enthusiasm is referred to in internal communication as “employee advocacy”.

As simple as using a Like button?

So it’s worth taking a closer look at employee advocacy. How do you initiate and manage this form of communication? With a good strategy, the right content and tools that make it easy for employees to post their stories. But above all, an open and transparent corporate culture is the crucial foundation. But that is another, no less interesting and challenging topic. What you open up with this are new channels, new target groups, but above all the hearts of the people. This contributes to your reputation, strengthens your image and makes you attractive, especially as an employer. Not only can you achieve a higher profile and credibility, but you can also attract new customers and, above all, recruit new employees who share the same values and goals. Ultimately, the e-reputation is positively influenced and increases.

At the same time, these messages also have an internal effect on the company. People prefer to listen to their colleagues rather than the official language of many channels. Goals that are sometimes formulated too abstractly can be broken down, translated and brought closer by “internal influencers”. This applies equally to internal and external channels. It is “human”, which generally always has a great effect on the mood in the team.

You are probably asking yourself: how exactly should this work? Should we just let all the employees post wildly so that they can finally get everything off their chest? We can reassure you, because of course it is important to establish rules of the game that everyone has to abide by. We present some tips and tricks on how best to proceed:

1. Rules of the game

A bit of etiquette is part of the game. Establish rules of the game, a kind of etiquette for communication. Examples are always very helpful, for example suggestions for wording, tips for successful posts or predefined hashtags.

2. Content & distribution

Since not every employee can write creative texts, it helps if you provide them with text templates and an image archive that they can use. Such an archive could be taken over by an in-house or agency editorial team. Platforms make it easier to use, so that employees can post provided content on social media with two clicks. However, they should also be allowed to write in their own style to give natural talents their creative freedom.

3. Motivation & engagement

In order to achieve the greatest possible employee involvement, stories that are very close to the people lend themselves well. Who has the most unusual hobby? South meets North – a challenge or a competition. Stories are there to be told. Set the beginning of the story in such a way that employees are happy to participate as employee advocates. Our experience shows: Many employees would like to participate, BUT…! Address the BUT proactively. For example, offer courses on “How does it work exactly?”, or photo, video or writing courses. This helps get over the inhibition threshold and gives everyone involved more confidence in dealing with social media contributions. While we’re at it: Even your course offer is already a story for lively communication.

4. Measuring success

Measuring the success of employee advocacy initiatives is a challenge, because a multitude of mainly “soft” factors are sometimes difficult to measure and weight. There are tools that simplify the monitoring of posts and provide regular success reports. But regardless of the challenges of evaluation, one thing is much more important: employees are active in social networks anyway – with or without the support of the company. So why not use this potential! When a good friend tells you how much they enjoy their work and what exciting projects they are involved in at the company, you immediately believe them and even rejoice with them, don’t you? But more than that, you also perceive the company in which he/she works in a positive light. “Do good and talk about it” – that is the approach. Whether in person or via social networks – it’s the same principle. Authentic and interesting stories always find their way and spread, are shared, forwarded and thus also carry the values of the company – internally as well as externally. If employees are satisfied with their job, they are loyal and committed. And that is exactly what companies should recognise, promote and use for themselves.

The moral of the story…

… don’t underestimate the company’s internal resources. They lie in the employees, also for topics like marketing and image.

This means that how a company presents itself to the outside world should also be how it behaves towards its employees. Employee advocacy can only arise from an open and transparent corporate culture. In our communication projects, we experience time and again how crucial it is that the company management exemplifies this form of culture. This is all the more true for complex change processes that require a high degree of openness and flexibility. With our distinctive ability to recognise sensitive aspects and specific needs, we develop tailor-made concepts for your internal communication.

We are the partner at your side and offer everything from a single source.

From the initial idea to the concept, realisation and possible applications – we accompany and support you! Let us advise you, call or contact us by e-mail – it will be time well spent!

What’s the next step?

For a personal consultation, feel free to contact me at any time.

Mirja Ng-Metzker

Client Relations Manager