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What is employee advocacy and why is it important?

Employee advocacy, what is it and why is it so effective? We explore how Employee Advocacy works and how you can implement it in your strategy.

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Written by Krishan Patel

25 Apr, 2022  â€“  5 min read

Want to learn more about employee advocacy and how it can benefit both your company and the well-being of your employees? Read on to discover the positive impact employee advocacy can have on a vast range of areas including communications, employer branding, sales, and marketing.

Effective employee advocacy can also combat many common issues a business can face, such as contributor engagement. You can also find out what simple steps to follow to put a strong employee advocacy strategy into place, making sure everyone knows that your company is a great place to work. 

What is employee advocacy? 

To cut through all the jargon and put things into plain, simple English, employee advocacy is when real employees take part in promoting the business they work for. This allows your employees to take an active role in marketing your company, fostering a real sense of ownership and giving this content valuable credibility. 

An employee advocacy programme can involve people using both the company account and their own personal social media to promote the company. This is highly effective as research indicates that a recommendation from a friend or family member makes83% of individuals more likely to purchase a product or service. Peer-marketing is also cost-effective, with the average employee advocacy programme coming in at just a fraction of the cost – a tenth to be precise – of paid advertising. As it’s lower cost and high impact, what’s not to love?

Employee advocacy has been proven to be a useful tool, withscientific research showing that people are much more likely to trust information coming from people we consider similar to ourselves. This means potential applicants will respond more positively to employee testimonials or reviews, rather than content shared by the brands, the CEO, or the latest celebrity or influencer who has been paid handsomely to endorse the brand.

Part of this innate trust in people like us comes down to an aspect of commonality. When people can relate to employees on a more personal level, they may also share the same challenges and aspirations.

Employee advocacy is also a great way to reach the ethical consumer market. Championing worthwhile causes or creating a credible source from which to promote your company’s charitable foundation or its commitment to other societal and environmental causes can make a significant impact on talent that values ethics and doing good in the community.

An increasing number of businesses worldwide are incorporating employee advocacy into their marketing strategy to create a sense of authenticity through employee testimonies. It can be worthwhile to include these personal stories in pride of place on your company’s website, as well as making them accessible on the company’s social media accounts. Instagram lends itself particularly well to this, as it allows both video and photos to be shared. 

Why is employee advocacy important? 

Employee advocacy can have a huge positive impact on a variety of different areas within an organisation. It is often instrumental in improving brand awareness, which in turn helps businesses to attract the best candidates. It can also help increase the number of products or services sold. This is known as social selling and it’s extremely effective. In fact, 73% of salespeople using social selling hugely outperformed their sales peers, exceeding their quotas 23% more often than those who didn’t utilise social selling strategies. 

With almost half the world using social media, employee advocacy through popular platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook has a wide reach. In fact, half of all employees already post their thoughts and feelings about the company they work for on their social media. When this is done as part of a well-planned employee advocacy strategy it can build your company’s brand. At the same time, it can also expand your employee’s personal professional network and development. 

An amazing 87.2% of employees agreed that employee advocacy helped their professional network to grow, and a further 76% reported that it helped them keep up to date with the latest industry trends, which is a win-win for both employer and employee.

Businesses omit to develop employee advocacy at their peril, risking spending a lot of money on costly marketing campaigns that leave customers feeling disconnected. It can also have a negative impact on recruitment. The best potential applicants will be actively seeking the testimonies of current employees, eager to learn about real people’s experiences in the areas of job satisfaction, progression opportunities, and workplace culture. If they cannot find anything substantial, they may decide applying for your business would be too much of a risk, instead applying to competitors that have a more visible employee advocacy presence. 

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Benefits of employee advocacy

With employee advocacy, the benefits just keep flowing, for both the business and for employees. As a prime example, find out more about how PayPal have proactively used employee storytelling to build a workplace culture that is centred on the employee voice, empowering employees to work more collaboratively and feel a greater sense of ownership at their workplace. 

Here’s a list of tangible benefits that companies who engage with employee advocates can enjoy. Keep in mind that this is a symbiotic relationship that also benefits your employees. So, if you’re planning your employee advocacy strategy and find yourself wondering how to foster engagement with your contributors, this list of advantages may be a good place to start.

  • Improved communication with customers.
  • Higher levels of productivity among employees, and improved staff retention. Employee advocacy builds a workplace culture that is focused on the employee voice. This level of empowerment is known to improve both employee engagement and retention, helping you get the very best out of your employees.
  • Employee advocacy increases new business leads by making more potential customers aware of promotions and other company messages.
  • Employee advocacy helps with recruitment marketing, by strengthening your employer brand. It makes your company and what they stand for more easily recognisable, helping you to attract potential applicants that aren’t just qualified and experienced, but are also the right cultural fit for your workplace.
  • Growth across social media platforms, providing free advertising for your company, and increased networking opportunities for employees.
  • Helps build a sense of community and engaged employees who champion the brand. Building a sense of belonging also promotes staff well-being, as it develops a real feeling of purpose and inclusion. It also ensures that employees feel listened to and that their input is valued. Employees who feel respected in the workplace are more likely to stay, even when other companies offer more financially competitive packages.

How to create a successful employee advocacy strategy

Once you appreciate the many benefits employee advocacy can bring to your business, we’re sure you’ll want to dive in straight away. Here are some key points to take into consideration to help you create an effective employee advocacy strategy that helps both your business and your employees to thrive. Seenit, an innovative user-generated videoplatform, can assist you with your employee advocacy strategy. 

  • Firstly, you will need to identify your brand ambassadors. So, how do you find the right advocates? You’ll be looking for people who understand your story and are excited to be part of it. 
  • Next, you will need to carefully plan your content and video strategy. You want to ensure you’re reaching as wide and diverse an audience as possible, for the best outcomes in both sales and recruitment
  • It’s important to find the technology to back up your program. This is where Seenit comes in, providing effective software for video marketing and testimonials. 
  • This isn’t the finished product just yet. No matter how happy you feel with it, it isn’t ready until it’s been properly peer-reviewed. You need to really welcome the feedback and then respond to it by making the right changes.
  • Explore multiple channels and outreach to ensure the work is grabbing the attention of as many people as possible.
  • Set goals on performance and track success. Using SMART targets – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-related goals – can really help here.

Spreading the message

Don’t let your company get left behind. Be part of an innovation that is taking the business world by storm, and invest in a rock-solid employee advocacy program today. It has been shown that engaging contributors will help take your company from strength to strength, both humanising and promoting your employer brand, expanding sales, and creating a real sense of collaboration and community among your employees. It helps you to foster that all-important atmosphere of positivity, where employees feel they can work together to achieve their goals and see a real long-term future at your company. All of this will also help to save you money on the hiring process, as you will retain the top talent.

The best way to reach a wide audience is to spread your employees’ messaging across a broad range of channels, with a strong emphasis on social media platforms. Seenit’s platform, a leader in the field of user-generated video crowdsourcing software, makes it quick and simple to create effective, engaging content for your employee advocacy strategy.

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