There are few sure bets when it comes to organic reach on social media. Marketing professionals, from specialists to VP, agree it’s getting harder to reach your target audience with no ad spend to back it up. And yet, social advocacy examples continue to be the exception.
Social advocacy empowers employees to amplify your brand message in a way that’s consistent with your business’s voice and tone. With a strategy behind it, advocacy will help drive sales, attract talent and position your team members as leaders in their respective networks. It’s a win-win-win, and the companies that capitalize on the opportunity are reaping the benefits.
The time to build your social advocacy program is now. Kick off your process by taking inspiration from these four brands that have mastered the art of employee amplification.
How advocacy can strengthen your social media strategy
Social media algorithms are constantly evolving. While the path to a perfectly curated feed is paved with good intentions, there’s bound to be some trial and error along the way. As networks work those kinks out, marketers have to adapt.
Now that most networks are moving toward content recommendation algorithms, many social media managers are headed into 2023 asking a new question: “If our followers aren’t seeing our content, who will?”
That’s where employee advocacy comes in.
Whether we like it or not, seeing an original post from a familiar face in our social feeds has become a novelty. It piques interest. Factor that interest into the 842 social media connections each of your colleagues has on average, and you’ve opened your brand up to a whole new world of potential impressions.
According to our research, engaged social media users already think it’s essential for employees to post about their company and vice versa. This mutually beneficial relationship can help build brand awareness for your company while helping employees build up their personal brand.
4 social advocacy program examples to inspire your strategy
If you want to get a program started but you’re not sure where to begin, look no further. We’ve gathered these four proven social advocacy examples for tips and inspiration to coach your next crop of brand advocates.
Vizient, the largest healthcare performance improvement organization in the US, saw a 200% increase in engagements within the first six months of launching their social advocacy program.
Results like these don’t just happen on their own. They happen when a dedicated team member—like Vizient’s Social Media Director, Elida Solis—gets equipped with the tools needed to power their strategy. For Vizient, that tool is Employee Advocacy by Sprout Social.
To get the rest of #TeamVizient up to speed and ready to post, Solis and her team put together an advocacy resource hub, complete with product demos, instructional videos and on-demand webinars. These provisions made it easy for individuals to understand how they can build their personal brand through their company’s advocacy program.
Since we started using Sprout’s Employee Advocacy solution, my network has become more engaged. I get asked about my company more than ever and people comment on how active I am on LinkedIn. It makes it easier for me to interact with my connections on social. I would highly recommend Employee Advocacy by Sprout Social to other companies considering it.
Vice President, Zone Leader NE & SE US—Spend Management Services and Delivery, Vizient
These efforts created a solid foundation for a program that sets a new standard for social advocacy. It even helped earn them the 2021 PR News Digital + Social Award for Best Use of LinkedIn (Community Engagement).
Takeaway: What you get from social advocacy is directly related to what you put into it. Dedicate staff time and resources to understanding what will make a program thrive at your organization. Then, keep iterating. If you set it and forget, you risk losing impact down the line.
Setting goals without benchmarks is like trying to shoot an arrow blindfolded. You might hit your target—but it won’t be easy. That’s why the team at Ivanti turned to Sprout for the tools and performance insights needed to revitalize their social advocacy program.
Jamie Laliberte Whalen, Ivanti’s Director of Social Strategy, knew exactly what she was looking for when she connected with Team Sprout. “I wanted Sprout to tell us where we are and where we need to be so we could set reachable goals to move us toward becoming best-in-class. I told the customer success team at Sprout, ‘Give me the key performance indicators and other metrics that we can hold ourselves accountable to, so I can bake that into our social strategy for the year.’”
With Sprout’s help, Whalen identified program adoption as an area of improvement. After retooling the program with a new incentive structure and revamped internal resources, Whalen kicked off an internal communications campaign to drum up excitement for the program.
These efforts resulted in a newly thriving ambassador program. “By the end of the first month of revitalizing the program, we had 17 million reach and an adoption rate of nearly 46%—which is well over the 30% benchmark for a best-in-class program,” said Whalen. “Also, after launching our incentive program, we went from 1,000 to 3,000 shares in the first month, and then up to 17,000 shares within the first quarter.”
Takeaway: You need measurable goals to gauge where you’re succeeding and where there are opportunities to improve. Use your performance data or industry benchmarks to create meaningful goals for your social advocacy program.
To Caroline Salis, Social Media and Community Manager at ZoomInfo, social advocacy groups are a type of community.
Me, launching my employee advocacy program and having people actually get excited and join the conversation pic.twitter.com/OicDYdwU93
— Caroline Salis (@SocialSalis) July 8, 2021
And why wouldn’t it be? ZoomInfo’s employee advocacy program boasts around 1,000 members who lean on each other for tips and inspiration on how to best position themselves and the ZoomInfo brand online.
“Praise is our best incentive,” says Salis. “People use our employee advocacy Slack group to get traction on their posts or gut check humor. The support and excitement you get from your teammates is natural and authentic. That’s an incentive in itself.”
This positive feedback loop has done wonders for ZoomInfo’s share of voice. “We have so many people who are proud to work at ZoomInfo, but they don’t know how to share. Advocacy and our Slack community empowers them to do something they’ve wanted to do all along.”
Takeaway: Experiment with incentives beyond gift cards or prizes to understand what really motivates your team. More than half of engaged employees say they would share company posts on personal accounts if they’re happy with their job (59%), and if they’re proud of the content they’re sharing (52%).
If you’re familiar with Salesloft but you’re not exactly sure why, it’s probably because you’ve seen Tom Boston come across your feed.
Tom Boston, Salesloft’s Brand Awareness Manager, has over 24,000 followers on LinkedIn. His most recent video received more than 3,000 likes, 500 comments and 200 shares. He’s a content creation powerhouse and a major asset to the Salesloft brand.
Boston started his content creation journey with general sales advice content. During a webinar on building a personal brand on LinkedIn, he revealed that he workshopped his humor-driven persona through experimentation.
His efforts show what’s possible when you take a chance and hit post—not just for Salesloft, but for other B2B sales leaders, too.
Takeaway: Tap a group of internal influencers to help your program take flight. Lean on these individuals to promote the program internally by showing what’s possible with advocacy.
Learning from social advocacy examples
Hopefully, these advocacy program examples will inspire you to design your strategy that plays to your business’s strengths. As you pull this off, remember that content is only half the battle. You’ll need the right tools—like Employee Advocacy by Sprout Social—to empower your colleagues to be the best brand ambassadors they can be.
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