Employee advocacy or employee ambassador: what interests for your company?
To communicate, a company can rely on a community manager to manage its social networks or invest in advertising. But what if the solution for effective communication was already found internally? What better image than that of employees extolling the merits of their company, their products or their services? This is called employee advocacy. How this strategy works, benefits and implementation: find out everything you need to know about employee advocacy, or employee ambassador.
What is employee advocacy?
Employee advocacy is a marketing strategy that aims to turn certain employees into ambassadors of the company. They are invited to speak in their professional and personal spheres to promote the company's values, employer brand, services and products.
This strategy of valuing the company by its own employees has largely democratized with the advent of social networks. The latter have now become essential in the communication of a company. Employee advocacy and its ambassador system therefore make it possible to strengthen the reach of the company's social content by relying on an internal "resource": employees.
Employee advocacy: what are the advantages for the company?
Employee advocacy has many advantages for the company, whether from a marketing or commercial point of view, but also for HR and for the employee ambassadors themselves.
More credibility in communication
The establishment of employee ambassadors offers more credibility in the messages conveyed by the company. It is common for the word of leaders to be questioned by customers or consumers, who see it as only a business leader eager to sell his products or services. Employee advocacy therefore makes messages more credible and authentic since they are disseminated by employees and not by the company.
Enhancing the brand image
Beyond the credibility brought to your messages, employee advocacy also strengthens the company's brand image. By setting up a system of employee ambassadors, you convey the image of a structure that trusts its employees, gives them a voice, involves them in the life and evolution of the company. This will be perceived positively both by consumers and by future prospects or potential candidates.
Stronger employee engagement
With the employee advocacy system, employees feel more involved in the life of the company but, above all, valued. Giving employees the freedom to highlight the brand and their work can be seen as a great sign of trust. This strategy is very motivating for employee ambassadors, which increases their commitment and involvement within the company.
A wider audience
By involving your employees as ambassadors, you benefit from a diffusion and therefore a much wider audience for all your brand messages. Logically, you increase your chances of generating new leads. This is good news for the company's marketing and sales teams.
Employee advocacy also has a financial advantage. As you know, communication is expensive. Online advertising campaigns or on different media, e-mailing, recruitment of a community manager for social networks: all these strategies – even if they are interesting – represent costs and therefore a reduction in your margin. Employee ambassadors contribute to reducing these costs while improving the employer brand.
How to set up employee advocacy?
To take advantage of the many benefits of employee advocacy, it is necessary to follow a few important steps and make the necessary tools available to your employee ambassadors.
To successfully launch an employee advocacy program, it may be relevant, as a first step, to set certain objectives. For example, deciding on a number of posts shared each month by employee ambassadors. Several advantages to this:
- analyze the number of clicks or impressions of publications in order to have feedback on the real influence of your ambassadors on the visibility of posts;
- The marketing department can track the number of new prospects arriving through employee advocacy to measure their effectiveness.
- HR can measure changes in employee engagement and well-being at work through their Quality of Life at Work (QWL) indicators.
Define a guide to good practices
Even if employee advocacy bets, among other things, on the spontaneity and authenticity of its ambassadors, it is necessary to establish certain rules of good practice, guidelines. This can avoid some communication errors and unpleasant surprises on social networks.
The guide, defined with the help of the marketing department, can include examples of publications, ideas for hashtags to use and, conversely, the kind of information not to reveal on the networks.
Define the team of ambassadors
To carry out employee advocacy, it is of course necessary to set up a team of employee ambassadors. But the choice of employees is obviously important. It is necessary to choose people who are willing to promote the company and who feel comfortable communicating.
To help your ambassadors, jointly establish a communication plan on the messages to be disseminated, from the employer brand to the products and services to be highlighted.
The most difficult thing will undoubtedly remain to maintain the commitment of employees over the long term so that this strategy does not run out of steam over time. To do this, you can, for example, create small rewarded contests that will motivate ambassadors in their tasks.
Use an employee advocacy platform
There are several employee advocacy platforms – such as Sociable, LumApps, Sharee or SociallyUp to name a few – that will allow you to easily manage communication and publications. In particular, ambassadors can have at their disposal content established by the company to which they can have easy access to republish it on their respective networks.
If the company has an intranet, it is quite possible to use this tool to plan and coordinate the communication actions of employees.