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Leah Tsang Director of Solutions and Strategy SocialChorus

How can brands best achieve employee advocacy success?

An employee advocate is an empowered team member who is passionate about the company they work for and believe in the company’s mission, vision, and values, which makes them motivated to share company news with their friends and networks.

Employee advocates are skilled in social media – using social not only for work but for personal use as well. This means they have developed a personal brand that goes beyond the confines of the workplaces and integrates their personal interests, likes, and hobbies as well.

Why are employee advocates important for brands?

Your employees can interact, engage, and reach far more people than your brand can reach. According to a Dell study, employees twitter followers only overlap with 8% of the brand’s twitter followers. This means when you empower your employees to share – you have the opportunity to reach a much larger audience.

Plus your employees are more trusted. 90% of people do not trust advertising. Yet – 78% of people trust recommendations from peers, which means when your employees share your content it drives more engagement than from when shared from the brand.

How can you get started with employee advocacy? Check out these 5 steps for success: 

1. Align goals to business objectives. It’s important to understand the end goal before getting started with anything. For Whole Foods, success is defined by the success of their team members and their team members feeling facilitated in telling their story on digital channels. The point in powering team members to become advocates was to help them do what they were already doing and make it easier. They want to be able to measure engagement and awareness as well to prove business value, however ultimately if their team members are successful the program can be defined as a success.

2. Start with a social media policy. One Fortune 500 brand, like many other large brands, already had a social media policy in place. However, they had to review their current strategy to make sure there wasn’t anything missing that could be helpful for their team members.

3. Get leadership buy-in. Team members are going to be doing this in addition to the work that they already do, it’s important to have leadership understand the importance and purpose and help promote and communicate the value of these initiatives in store.

4. Create a content and engagement plan. It’s important to align advocate marketing content calendar with existing marketing content calendar so that team members can help promote and amplify these initiatives.

5. Identify most social team members (& champions). Obviously some team members may be more comfortable on social or more passionate about customer care than others. It’s critical to identify these individuals and encourage them to lead the charge. Identifying social employees is an ongoing process.