Advocacy is important if you want to put your brand out there and engage the broad online community. Regardless of your industry, brand advocates serve as powerful promotion channels that consumers trust much more than advertisements and branded content.

Statistics show that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from peers and brand advocates – the same level as for how one would trust a family member. Furthermore, 74% of consumers use social media to make purchasing decisions.

Although most companies rely on bloggers, social media influencers, and even celebrities to promote their brand, some turn to their most credible advocates – their employees. However, it takes a lot more than just asking your team to share your web content on Facebook or Twitter. You need to develop a solid plan that will maximize the efficiency of your employees as brand ambassadors.

Without further ado, below are the things you need to remember if you want to turn your employees into brand advocates:
 

1. Build Personas

First of all, make sure you develop a persona that best describes your target audience. Doing so will help inform your employees on who they’re trying to reach on social media networks. For example, should they cater to entrepreneurs, managers, or web developers? What are the common problems that this kind of audience has?

You can use a note-taking tool like OneNote or Evernote to sketch multiple personas of your target audience and share it with the rest of your team. Organize information such as the audience’s objectives, demographic, and even hobbies to help your employees build rapport quickly. Doing so will also help employees with content curation since it is easier for them to identify topics that will capture the interest of your target audience.
 

2. Establish Clear Guidelines

Nowadays, almost everyone knows how to behave and interact with others on social media. However, since the image of your brand is on the line, you should not take any chances. Make sure you establish clear guidelines that will remind your staff on how they should communicate with the audience.

A straightforward solution is to set up a social media policy that elaborates what employees should and shouldn’t do. It should cover how employees should segregate official company statements from personal opinions, avoid endorsing other brand or people and help maintain the security of social media accounts.

Of course, your policy must also cover the basics, such as reminding employees to be respectful at all times. Also, make it a point that their primary focus on social media engagements is to be helpful to the concerns of the online audience.
 

3. Develop Your Staff’s Online Presence

One of the secrets to success in employee advocacy is to let them build their brands. Instead of treating them as mere “representatives” of a single company, the online audience will trust them more if they develop their brand and speak with their authentic voice.

A good strategy is to let them create and use their social media accounts on networks like LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter whenever sharing the company’s content. Encourage them to speak their mind and let them share their personal insights in particular subject matters.

If your company has a blog, make sure that posts submitted by employees are credited to them accordingly.  If possible, you can even help them set up their blog, so they can focus on building a readership. Let them have full control of their sphere of influence. Who knows — they may even end up as thought-leaders in the future.
 

4. Share Social Media Statistics

Monitoring the performance of your social media campaigns is a vital process. However, many companies leave employees in the dark when it comes to social media stats even though they participated in the creation or promotion of content.

Bear in mind that letting your employees know how much likes, comments or re-shares their posts get is an excellent way to boost their motivation. You can use a social media marketing platform like Buffer to allow employees to track the performance of their contributions. While you are at it, remember that Buffer also allows you to schedule social media posts. Take advantage of this feature, so your content can reach the audience in the most suitable time.
 

5. Focus on the Company’s Culture

Last but not least, the best way to encourage employees to share content is to give them the right reasons. Remember that they cannot be authentic if they are forced to provide certain social media updates. Instead, they need to be genuinely inspired to share something they are particularly proud of.

In the end, it all boils down to the type of culture the company offers employees. Are you sure they are having fun with the day-to-day activities of the business? Are you giving them enough opportunities to obtain materials worth sharing — like birthday parties, award ceremonies, and retreats?

If you keep your employees happy and give them the sense of belongingness they deserve, they will naturally want to advocate for the brand. In turn, they will more likely to speak about the company in a good way and do their best to defend the brand when challenges arise.
 

Conclusion

Building advocates through your employees is a great way to make your brand more trustworthy in the eyes of others. As simple as it may sound, you need to have a careful approach and apply the strategies above to succeed.
 

Want to turn your company workforce into a social media powerhouse? Learn how to help transform employees into powerful marketers, sellers, and recruiters with this employee advocacy guide.