Most businesses are aware of the benefits of employee advocacy: Altimeter highlights that 90% of brands surveyed already got started with employee advocacy or have plans to launch an employee advocacy program.
As the workplace communication is evolving, companies are looking into new ways to connect with their employees and turn them into active brand ambassadors.
Here are three employee advocacy trends that will shape the 2021 digital workplace:
1. Content Distribution that Drives Adoption and Engagement
You’ve probably already been annoyed by irrelevant content when you check your social media news feeds. Your employees may also feel frustrated if you share with them content they are not interested in. What’s worse, they won’t share it to their networks.
When it comes to employee advocacy, it’s all about relevance. If you want to connect your employees with your content and keep them engaged with your employee advocacy program, you’ll need to rethink the way you distribute your content internally.
The key is to make sure that each employee receives the right content at the right time and by the right content, I mean content that is relevant to their expertise, interests, and role in the company.
Think about it: your employees are your #1 audience. As marketers strategically design their communication strategy so the right content reaches the right target audience, you’ll need to make sure that you connect your employees with the right information. That’s the only way you’ll drive adoption and activate your employees as brand ambassadors. More and more businesses are using content marketing tactics for their employee advocacy program and this trend will continue to rise in 2021.
2. The Era of Employee Advocacy 2.0
When it comes to building brand trust, you need to get your employees on board. As we all know, consumers trust more messages shared by people than corporate messages shared through the brands’ social media accounts.
Your employees are your best ambassadors, they are the ones who can help you connect with your customers. In other words, your secret to grow your business is employee advocacy. However, launching an employee advocacy program at your workplace is not enough. To earn trust, you’ll need to do employee advocacy right.
Employee advocacy doesn’t mean asking employees to share company-related content on social media. How many businesses are still emailing the link to their latest blog post to their employees and asking them to share it to the personal networks? Quite many, unfortunately.
The good news is things are changing: more and more companies are shifting their current employee advocacy approach towards the employee advocacy 2.0 model and this trend is expected to be one of the top employee advocacy trends in 2021.
So, what is employee advocacy 2.0? Put simply, employee advocacy 2.0 is all about employee empowerment. With employee advocacy 2.0, you don’t require your employees to share links to their personal networks or ask them to share the same corporate message created by your digital marketing team. This approach has nothing to do with employee advocacy, it’s called spamming! As described by Stuart Jones, founder of InSource Talent, “the problem with employee advocacy 1.0 seems to be that it is too employer-centric. The business controls the conversation, and the employee simply becomes a mechanism for second-tier distribution” while “employee advocacy 2.0 works because it is an employee-centric model”.
When you embrace employee advocacy 2.0, you motivate your employees to share any content they find interesting, either this content is related to your brand or to their expertise, and you encourage them to personalise their posts. The idea behind employee advocacy 2.0 is to support your employees’ personal branding efforts.
3. The Rise of Employee-Generated Content (EGC)
Employee advocacy 2.0 involves employee-generated content. If you want your corporate communication to be authentic, you have to encourage your employees to start creating their own content.
Not all your employees are the same: some of your employees may feel comfortable with writing blog posts while others may prefer to make videos or to get started with podcasting. The most important thing is to support your employees by helping them acquire the skills they want to develop and to do so, you'll need to run proper training programs that include workshops, webinars or online training.
Keep in mind that content created by your employees doesn’t have to be perfect from a technical point of view as long as this content is authentic. For example, employees can make short videos with their smartphones to show what it’s like to work at your company.
According to Rob Lee, founder of Relative Links, employee-generated content is a great way to take your employee advocacy program to the next level: “with a smartphone in everyone’s pocket, employee-generated content is achievable for every brand running their own advocacy program. Two keys to making this a success are training your staff to spot the moments that could become a social media story and then training them to capture that story in a sharable digital format”.
So, are you ready to empower your employees?