People buy from people, not companies. That's why employee advocacy on LinkedIn is one of the most powerful and effective forms of marketing you can implement in your business.
Among the benefits of an employee advocacy program:
- Help employees build their personal brands.
- Drive traffic to your company page and website.
- Establish your employees as subject-matter experts.
- Receive invites to podcasts, virtual events, and LinkedIn lives.
- Capture demand at the top of the funnel.
- Drive deals down the pipeline.
- Win/close deals.
How to Structure an Employee Advocacy Program
1. Get leadership on board
One of the biggest obstacles to implementing an employee advocacy program is a lack of leadership buy-in.
Employee advocacy on LinkedIn is a long play. If you're an executive, try posting consistently on LinkedIn for at least 60 days. If you increase your following, connections, and engagement, that's an indication it might be worth implementing an employee advocacy program at your company.
2. Choose a channel champion
You're going to need someone to oversee this operation. You can hire a full-time social media specialist to be responsible for building the framework, or you may be able to give it to your CMO, marketing director, or marketing manager.
You need a channel champion who creates the strategy and owns the results of the program.
Channel champion responsibilities might include the following:
- Onboarding employees into the program with one-to-one personal branding meetings
- Creating a personal brand document for each evangelist that outlines their content pillars
- Creating written and video training resources to teach employees LinkedIn posting and engagement tactics
- Curating an archive of company content categorized by job function
- Leading monthly live training workshops
3. Create an internal document that lists program requirements
For an employee advocacy program to be successful, you also need buy-in from, well, employees. Program requirements help ensure commitment.
Here's what program requirements might look like:
- Commit to being active for a quarter at a time.
- Post three-five times a week.
- Engage with people in the comments of your post.
- Actively engage with others on LinkedIn.
- Agree to promote curated company content.
At this stage, you should also consider documenting program guidelines that outline what is acceptable to post, what is inappropriate to post, and what your posting best-practices are.
4. Onboard employees
If employees agree to the requirements and guidelines, invite them to an onboarding meeting where your channel champion helps them define their content topics, personal brand, positioning, and LinkedIn workflow.
Often people feel overwhelmed and just need someone to facilitate the process for them to help identify their content pillars.
How to Motivate Employees to Post on LinkedIn
The biggest obstacles to implementing an employee advocacy program are lack of employee confidence and capacity.
To help employees overcome the fear of posting on LinkedIn and find the most efficient ways to post, consider the following five tips.
1. Identify their 'why'
People need an internal motivator for their actions. In this case, posting "because it's good for the company" is not a good enough individual "why."
What is their goal for being active on LinkedIn? Personal benefits of posting content online might include the following:
- Increased personal brand awareness
- Recognition as a go-to expert in their industry
- A community of thought leaders to learn and collaborate with
- Possible invitations to podcasts and events
- A portfolio of content
2. Educate them about how the company benefits from their posting content online
Employees' posting content online could benefit the company by...
- Increasing brand awareness
- Shortening sales cycles
- Increasing talent attraction and retention
Notice that this item is listed as number 2, not number 1. When companies struggle to get participation on LinkedIn, it's usually because they make it about the company, not the employees.
3. Check in frequently
Set up a Slack channel just for your advocates and invite them to share their posts, questions, and wins.
Send weekly analytics screenshots in the Slack channel to show what kind of posts are resonating and which posts need improvement.
Jump on a one-to-one check-in meeting with struggling advocates once a month.
4. Share training resources
If you can share videos, articles, or live training sessions with them about how to create good content, employees are more likely to get active on the platform.
- During onboarding: Share internal training videos and documents on personal branding and LinkedIn best-practices.
- Weekly: Share editorial calendar prompts, curated content, or educational LinkedIn posts in your work dashboard.
- Monthly: Schedule a LinkedIn training workshop, a live brainstorm session, and/or a one-to-one meeting to go over an individual content strategy.
5. Celebrate them!
Sense of belonging is a huge factor in a successful employee advocacy program. Celebrating wins is one way to reinforce that camaraderie:
- Celebrate wins in one-on-ones.
- Highlight employees' results in the group Slack channel.
- Praise them on LinkedIn.
How to Measure Success
Personal Brand Growth
Employee advocacy program success can be difficult to measure. To gather anecdotal results, encourage employees to share DMs and replies from their favorite LinkedIn influencers; invitations to podcasts, virtual events, LinkedIn lives wanting their expertise; and reshares and mentions on others' profiles in your employee advocacy Slack channel.
Personal brand growth can best be measured by looking at an individual's profile views, connections, and following. If those numbers are rising, that employee is doing something right!
Brand awareness can be tough to track. Substantial brand mentions, DMs, and traffic to your corporate LinkedIn profile are good indicators of increasing brand awareness. You can also track brand mentions.
Use comments and reshares to track thought leadership. If a post gets a high number of comments, you're accomplishing the goal of giving away valuable insight and creating and engaging in meaningful conversations.
If your reshare number is high, that means your employees are saying something that resonates with or helps someone.
Market Share Capture
Track how much closed/won revenue is attributed to LinkedIn within your CRM (e.g., HubSpot, Salesforce). That's a lagging indicator of all the times you're winning mind share with buyers who are merely problem aware or even problem and solution aware.
Market share is harder to track, but you can see it happening with proxy indicators, such as views and followers.
How Others Are Doing It
Here are a few B2B companies that do employee advocacy really well.
1. Chili Piper
Chili Piper's company social profiles have registered impressive growth in recent years thanks to employee social advocacy enablement.
How do they do it? Chili Piper encourages employees to post about whatever they want. It also created a #chili-love Slack channel to help employees amplify each other's posts. It also organizes periodic "social takeovers" to promote new content, product launches, company news, and more.
Gong used LinkedIn employee advocacy to grow eightfold in a little over two years. Employees post consistently and focus on providing valuable content rather than acquiring MQLs.
How do they do it? Gong hires outstanding talent who want to post; its C-suite leads by example; and its social media team makes it easy with internal comms and writing prompts.
3. Refine Labs
Chris Walker and his Refine Labs team of employees are well-known for the value-added content they provide via their personal accounts on LinkedIn.
How do they do it? All Refine Labs teammates go through LinkedIn Accelerator training during onboarding. Chris hosts office hours when he helps people dial into their personal strategy. The company hosts competitions built around experimenting with new channels, such as LinkedIn and TikTok, and gives away prizes and awards people actually want.
* * *
One of the most efficient and cost-effective ways for companies to build their brands and drive revenue growth is employee advocacy on social media.
We see time and time again that people are more likely to trust and engage with a person than they are with a brand.
More Resources on Employee Advocacy Programs
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