In the face of limited resources, changing algorithms and congested feeds, an employee advocacy program is a social team’s greatest asset. Advocacy programs help social marketers extend their brand’s reach beyond their bandwidth—without additional paid spend.
This year, Sprout Social expects to reach 10 million impressions from our Employee Advocacy platform alone. That’s more than all our social profiles combined.
More than two-thirds (68%) of marketers report their organization already has an advocacy program. From increasing brand awareness to building an employer brand that attracts top talent, employee advocacy helps brands achieve business goals.
However, many advocacy initiatives are informal side projects. Looking forward, building a sophisticated program requires strategic content planning and cross-functional collaboration.
In this article, we offer prescriptive recommendations for how you can curate a pipeline of content and ensure the long-term success of your advocacy efforts in 2023—and beyond.
The pillars of a content strategy for employee advocacy platform
According to Sprout’s research, brands report not having enough content as one of their greatest employee advocacy challenges. As one marketer said, “You need a lot of content to support a program. If your company’s not in a good place with content, then you’re going to struggle.”
The key is to curate the right content, not just a lot of content, that aligns with your brand’s goals and values. To fuel your employee advocacy program and build your content repository, make sure your content checks all the essential boxes:
Your advocacy content should be rooted in providing value to your audience. Share educational resources that will inform, engage and spark conversation. Focus on relevant topics that will help your community approach common industry challenges.
Share-worthy educational resources include in-house and third-party:
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- Data reports
- Templates and tools
- Case studies
Behind-the-scenes/company culture content
Employee experiences are the most compelling examples of your company’s culture. Share content that gives people an inside look at working at your company. Include blog posts or videos from the point of view of your employees. Ask your team members to take people behind-the-scenes of industry events, development trainings or volunteer opportunities.
This content will humanize your brand, resonate with your audience and give your team members a chance to cheer on their colleagues.
Executive thought leadership (owned and earned)
Strong executive communication plans are a must for managing brand identity, boosting employee morale and recruiting talent. Incorporate executive thought leadership into your advocacy strategy. Share blog articles, videos, social posts and other content created by your C-suite or leadership team.
Take your strategy to the next level by keeping track of the publications quoting and interviewing your execs. Prioritize curating earned media placements to build your brand’s thought leadership credibility.
A compelling employer brand helps you convince talent that your organization is the best place for them to build their careers. Many of today’s candidates wish they knew more about what it’s really like to work at a company before joining.
That’s why employee testimonials are a powerful recruitment tool. By incorporating employee advocacy into your recruitment strategy, you can amplify your open job posts while inviting your team members to infuse their personal experiences into their social messages. Afterall, your employees’ perspectives matter three times more to prospective candidates than your CEO’s.
Candidates are also interested in industry awards and recognitions. Share award press releases, graphics and videos in your employee advocacy platform to spread the word. At Sprout, this content is our most widely-shared by employees.
Prospective candidates, current team members, customers and industry partners want to know that you follow-through on your corporate social responsibility commitments. While taking a stand is important, you must share what actions you’re taking to back up your words.
In your advocacy platform, share announcements related to scholarships you fund, off-site volunteer days or donations that support your philanthropic initiatives.
Increasing access to education and career opportunities for the Black/African American community is just one part of the work we’re doing to further our DEI mission.
Learn more about the Sprout Social Scholarship Fund: https://t.co/asUE298aDw
— Sprout Social (@SproutSocial) September 29, 2022
Product news/industry partnerships
One of the best ways to keep your team and your customers up to date on industry news and product changes is by tapping into your employee advocacy channel. Share press releases, blog posts and videos announcing product enhancements, new releases, seasonal launches and trend reports.
When announcing new partnerships with other industry leaders and brands, lean into employee advocacy to generate major buzz. For example, when Sprout announced our Salesforce partnership, 95% of our 740,000 social impressions related to the launch were a result of employees sharing content from the advocacy platform.
4 ways to ensure you never run out of content for your employee advocacy program
Gathering all the content you need for a successful advocacy program can seem overwhelming. You don’t have to do it alone. Here are a few tips on recruiting other departments to curate so you always have enough content on-hand.
1. Collaborate more closely across your marketing team
Work closely with your content, communications, product and customer marketing teams to stay in the loop on upcoming articles, important news and company updates. Have regular meetings and work in shared calendars to promote visibility.
Your content team can also help you curate. As the writers and editors behind blogs, videos, case studies and more, they can efficiently draft prepackaged social copy to accompany each curated post. Not only will their curation productivity fuel your advocacy strategy, it will help them meet their traffic goals.
2. Build relationships outside of marketing
Partnering with other teams in marketing is a great start, but to achieve an employee advocacy strategy that appeals to your entire organization, you need to go beyond marketing. Form cross-functional relationships across your business.
Ask yourself who can be your points of contact in HR, sales, engineering, R&D and operations. Work with them to surface content relevant to their team’s goals and find out what resonates with their external audience. Each team might have completely different content they want to share.
3. Source ideas across your organization
Your team members have a pulse on trending content. Use them as sources for interesting third-party articles, reports and analyses from your industry.
Sprout’s Employee Advocacy solution offers all users the option to curate content. By clicking the “Add Story” button in the upper right corner, you can suggest a content piece be added to your company’s current stories feed.
4. Find out what your employees want to share
Design an employee advocacy program your team members actually want to participate in by measuring your performance results at every stage of your program. Determine which stories are being shared the most, which topics resonate and where there are gaps in your content strategy.
Don’t be afraid to ask your employees for feedback. Consider asking:
- How would you rate our employee advocacy program?
- Has our employee advocacy program helped you expand your personal brand on social?
- What do you need help with to maximize your use of our advocacy solution?
Ensure a steady stream of employee advocacy content
Employee advocacy is no longer just “nice to have.” Today’s social teams are up against constant algorithmic shifts and resource deficits that make organic social growth challenging. A sophisticated employee advocacy program is critical to gaining impressions, increasing awareness, securing leads and finding top talent.
To make the most of your advocacy program, collaborate with other departments to help you source and curate content. When you consistently supply your team with new content, the results on your business goals will speak for themselves.