Employee Advocacy Definition:

What Every Company Needs To Know

Social networks are massive and continue to grow. Consumers and business professionals gravitate toward these platforms for recommendations and to do their own research before making purchasing decisions. These are but a few of the reasons why employee advocacy is an important strategic initiative for so many companies.

5 min read
What Is Employee Advocacy?
What Is An Employee Advocacy Platform?
Employee Advocacy Incentives: What Are The Benefits?
Employee Advocacy Solutions
Getting Buy-In For Employee Advocacy
Brands Using Employee Advocacy
Key Employee Advocacy Data
Additional Employee Advocacy Resources
Frequently Asked Questions

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Employee Advocacy Definition

Ready for the deep dive into employee advocacy? Jump into the journey below.

Let’s keep it simple:

Employee advocacy is about curating brand and other content for your team members to read and share to their social networks. Because you’re exposing your people to a broad array of relevant information, they become more informed and engaged, and when they share that content to their social networks, they help increase your brand’s reach by over 500%. Did we mention that your customers will trust you more as well? The benefits are manifold.

Why is it important?

Companies need positive reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations to help build trust in the market. Problem is, that can’t be established solely through brand marketing: People trust people — their peers, co-workers, friends, and family — far more than they trust often faceless brands.

Content shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than content shared by brand channels.

For this reason, employee advocacy is one of the best forms of reputation-building marketing, but it has to be genuine and it is sometimes difficult to achieve organically.

Naturally, you or your company leaders might be concerned about encouraging your people to use social media at work. However, the reality is that they already do: 98% of employees use at least one social media site for personal use, of which 50% already post about their company.

Some ways to get over your fears of employee advocacy:

  • Realize that the majority of your customers, prospects, potential hires, and existing employees are on social.
  • Focus on playing offense rather than defense vis a vis your employees who are already active on social; turn them into your star players!
  • Remember that everyone wants to keep their job; there are natural incentives in place that promote good behaviors when using social at work.
  • Don’t shortchange employee training. Provide support and guidelines — it’s very important that people know how to be successful and where the pitfalls are.
  • Seek out help from social media professionals. Chances are the hurdles you face are ones that others faced before —and overcame.

What Is An Employee Advocacy Platform?

An employee advocacy platform like EveryoneSocial enables employees to access and share approved company content with their networks.

To actively participate in an employee advocacy program, employees need tools that allow them to access, share, and engage with content on social media. Many large and well-known brands are adopting a strategy and platform for employees, like Dell, Reebok, Adobe, T-Mobile. More on that in a later section.

Employee advocacy software is made up of two main components:

1. Tools for admins and program managers
Admin tools should include things like detailed reporting and analytics, content curation and review, and user provisioning and management.
2. Tools for your team members to access and share content:
Employee advocacy tools should include web and mobile applications, news reader features, and robust (but simple) sharing options. It should also allow your people to connect all of the social networks they’re active on (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin).

Employee advocacy platforms, coupled with a well-run program, can transform everyone in your workforce into powerful marketers, sellers, recruiters, and communicators.

Brands can no longer rely on traditional forms of advertising. Consumers and business professionals alike research purchases long before they officially engage with anyone at your company and if you’re not a part of that unofficial research, chances are they may never even consider you.

While sharing content is certainly where employee advocacy can deliver solid ROI, the reality is that there are many other benefits that are equally as important to your company. Ultimately a big part of achieving success is letting your people do some of the steering.

Problems occur when companies take a purely top-down approach to employee advocacy, where the only thing a team member needs to decide is if they’re going to share the content pushed to them by their company. Don’t forget that it’s the employees network and success comes from getting your people to want to share, organically.

Ultimately it’s about making sure everyone drives toward the same goals. If you can align your program’s objectives (e.g., content shares, engagements, etc.) with what your people want (e.g., bigger networks, better engagement, etc.), you’ll be set up for sustained success.

Related: Looking for more about EveryoneSocial’s employee advocacy platform? Grab our datasheet to get some quick highlights and features.

Employee Advocacy Incentives: What Are the Benefits?

The goal of employee advocacy is to better leverage the social networks of employees, both for the benefit of the company and the employees themselves. It should be a two-way street, where everyone involved is rewarded.

For a business

Employee advocacy opens up opportunities to drive brand recognition, increase organic sharing and engagement, grow referral traffic, generate new leads, and source new potential hires, all through employees’ trusted voices.

There are new reasons and benefits to put a program in place that weren’t here just a few short years ago.

  • Your brand followers don’t see your content.
  • Influencer marketing can only get you so far.
  • Your employees can be your most valuable asset.
  • Buyers trust your employees more than your brand.

For employees

Participating in an employee advocacy program provides opportunities for employees to burnish their professional profile online, grow their networks, better engage with their contacts, develop meaningful relationships, and progress in their professional careers.

While it’s tempting to think about an employee advocacy program as a corporate initiative, the success of any program is a function of how  engaged employees are in it. The best way to engage them at a high and sustained level is to show them what’s in it for them.

  • Help them establish their profiles to grow their networks.
  • Train them to be successful and better engage with their networks.
  • Provide them with the best tools, so they’ll drive awesome results for your company/

Want to see all the high-level ways employee advocacy will boost your business and elevate your brand? Check this out.


Employee Advocacy Solutions

We’ve covered a lot above, so thanks for staying with us so far! Now for the big questions: Where does employee advocacy work best? And what solutions can it be applied to?

The answer really depends on your use case, but here are some areas where employee advocacy can have a major impact.


Marketing is tasked with producing and promoting content to the widest possible audience. Leveraging your employees to help spread that message across their own social networks is a no-brainer and is an opportunity that we believe applies to any organization with more than a few hundred employees.

For marketing, this helps with brand visibility, driving web traffic, increasing leads and improving lead quality, boosting marketing reach, saving on paid advertising costs, and expanding organic social reach.

On average, an employee advocacy program involving 1,000 active participants can generate $1,900,000 in advertising value.


Sales teams also find value in employee advocacy. Advocacy initiatives may be part of an overall sales enablement strategy or part of a company’s social selling efforts.

It’s simple: Salespeople want to gain an edge on the competition. And with traditional sales channels like cold calls and emails not delivering the results they used to, salespeople need a better way to reach prospects. And today, their prospects are on social media.

So it’s no surprise that employee advocacy and social selling drive increased pipeline, better win rates, and up to 48% larger deals.

Human Resources

HR is another interesting application of employee advocacy centered on talent acquisition, recruitment, and employer branding.

For many companies talent acquisition is a constant battle. Competition is fierce, and salaries for new hires are going up, as are recruiting fees.

This is where employee advocacy comes into play: What if you could enlist all of your employees to not only promote your brand, but also help to recruit?

Plus, roughly 79% of job applicants use social media in their job search.


Typically, the communications team has both internal and external objectives.

Internally objectives can include better employee communication and engagement (with each other and the content). External objectives would be more along the lines of increased brand awareness and engagement (with the content that was shared by employees).

But internally, employee advocacy keeps employees more informed, and 85% of employees say they’re most motivated when they receive regular updates on company news.


Not all organizations will have employees just in an office or corporate environment. There are many deskless workers who travel for business, run the frontlines of stores, and more.

However, many frontline employees feel disconnected from their employer and other colleagues. Additionally, frontline workers have the most interactions with customers and can share, connect, and engage with their colleagues about the important things going on.

Employee advocacy platforms allow frontline workers to be a part of the conversation and stay informed, as well as build their professional networks.


Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that many companies explore employee advocacy as an enterprise-wide initiative. While specific departments may use an employee advocacy platform to boost those results, imagine having 90-95% of employees also engaged and active.

Your company will be a well-informed and connected machine.

Extra: Considering a social employee advocacy program for various departments or even enterprise-wide at your company? To ensure you and your workforce are truly ready, you need an employee advocacy checklist that can help you answer some important questions.


Getting Buy-In For Employee Advocacy

Although social media in the workplace and employee advocacy have been around for a few years, getting budget and approval for a platform can still be challenging. But when organizations implement an employee advocacy program and prioritize it, we see a huge return on investment.

For those who are new to employee advocacy, it may seem like an unproven model that they’re hesitant to put budget toward, so in this section, we’ll delve into how to get executive buy-in.

The Business Value of Employee Advocacy

First, it’s important to think about the value that employee advocacy programs can bring. For example, social media advertising costs are continually on the rise. Depending on your company size, you might spend a few thousand each month or six-figures plus!

These ads become more competitive and expensive, and people become increasingly immune to ads and engage less. Alternatively, the cost of an employee advocacy program can be 1/10th the cost of paid ads.

And there are numerous studies that show people trust content and information from friends, colleagues, and family members over other forms of media (like ads).

On average, an employee advocacy program involving 1,000 active participants can generate $1,900,000 in advertising value. Plus, your results — including cost-per-click, conversions, traffic, and social engagement — will all improve.

Run the numbers, read case studies, and build your own case for the impact on ROI and cost savings it can have. After all, executives and management are all about the bottom line.

This is just scratching the surface. Download our business justification guide to arm yourself with stats, data, and insights to build the case for an employee advocacy program at your organization.

Employee Network Reach

The costs, ROI, and other various data points are a compelling way to gain executive buy-in and truly sell a program.

But another data point that is incredibly interesting, is the potential employee network reach that can impact your brand.

Even if you work for a well-known brand, there’s still a massively untapped market of people that your company pages and ads just won’t reach. And even when they do, they won’t be as effective as organic employee posts. Brand posts can feel forced or read like ad copy, and employees won’t insincerely spam their own networks

Think about the impact 1,000 employee influencers can have. Let’s say they have an average of 1,500 social media connections. That’s a social reach of 1,500,000! For many organizations, that reach can be more than all the company social media accounts combined. We’ve seen it time and time again.

Be Prepared And Have A Plan

Getting buy-in will be about the results and the business outcome. It comes down to proving ROI and the impact it will have on the company. But another important piece to executive buy-in is to be extremely prepared.

You might not have any complete plan laid out immediately, but you want to know your selling points, have a list of goals prepared, and be armed with a strategy for how you’ll deploy your advocacy program

Vendors should be active in this step as well, so keep an eye out for support even before you roll a program out. EveryoneSocial is happy to collaborate with you to identify your goals, KPI and ROI targets, and, of course, assist with deployment and provide ongoing support.


The use case for employee advocacy can be one goal (like for marketing), a combination, or maybe to go companywide to activate the entire business. Whatever the desired result, you need to have specific and defined goals for your executives.

Again, if a vendor is not willing or able to help discuss what your goals might be before deployment, they might not be the supportive partner you want moving forward.

When you present the case, speak the language of whatever use case you have in mind. If it’s marketing, for example, use terms like cost-per-click, brand reach, increasing lead volume, saving on paid advertising costs, etc.

Deployment Plan For Program

Another key item to have is your deployment plan, essentially how you’ll launch the program and activate employees.

Your vendor should be your partner. When it comes to getting approval, they should be willing to work with you on a deployment plan. At EveryoneSocial, we’ve launched both small and large deployments, so we’re prepared to help you develop a plan.

Aspects of a deployment plan can include a social media policy update, training and information sessions about a program, how you’ll get employees engaged, and more.

There is plenty more to understand with getting buy-in, budgeting, scaling, and adoption. We packaged this into a comprehensive Buyer’s Guide that will be extremely helpful. Download your copy here.


Brands Using Employee Advocacy

There are many examples of brands successfully using an employee advocacy platform and strategy to improve their business. Some use employee advocacy for one or two specific use cases, while others focus on company-wide efforts to impact multiple areas of the business.

Here are a few examples of employee advocacy done right:

Looking for more? We covered our top ten employee advocacy examples with detail about each approach and program.


Key Employee Advocacy Data

Nothing convinces people of employee advocacy’s value more than data. We’ve written about this more in-depth here, but below we’ve pulled out some of the interesting stats we think you’ll benefit from knowing.

Close to half the world’s population (3.03 billion people) are on some type of social media. (Statusbrew)
88% of 18- to 29-year-olds indicated that they use any form of social media, 78% among those ages 30 to 49, to 64% among those ages 50 to 64 (Pew Research Center)
84% of people trust recommendations from friends, family, colleagues over other forms of marketing. (Nielsen)
Employees who participate in a social employee advocacy program organically grow their social networks by 10%+ per year. (EveryoneSocial)
73% of salespeople using social selling as part of their sales process outperformed their sales peers and exceeded quota 23 percent more often. (Aberdeen Group)
80% believe their sales force would be more effective and efficient if they could leverage social media. (Sales Management Association)
47% of referral hires have greater job satisfaction and stay longer at companies. (Jobvite)
Job seekers rank social media and professional networks as the most useful job search resource compared to job boards, job ads, recruiting agencies, and recruiting events. (CareerArc)
74% of employees feel they are missing out on company information and news. (Trade Press Services)
When companies use social media internally, messages become content; a searchable record of knowledge can reduce, by as much as 35%, the time employees spend searching for company information. (McKinsey)
68% of Millennials visit employer’s social media properties specifically to evaluate the employer’s brand, 12% more than Gen-Xers and 20% more than Boomers. (CareerArc)
76% of companies choose social media to communicate employer brand. (TalentLyft)

Looking for more employee advocacy stats? We’ve got you covered.


Additional Employee Advocacy Resources

Congratulations for making it this far in this in-depth guide on employee advocacy! Hopefully, you’ve learned a lot of the essentials and how valuable a program can be for your company.

If you’re interested in starting a program at your company and getting a platform in place, our team is ready to show you more. Schedule your demo here.

Finally, here are some additional resources to help you expand your employee advocacy knowledge.


Frequently Asked Questions

What does employee advocacy mean?

Employee advocacy simply means the promotion of a company by employees who share their support for a company’s brand, product, or services on their social networks. The goal of employee advocacy is to inform, educate, and engage the workforce, customers, prospects, and help attract talented potential hires.

How do you build employee advocacy?

Building employee advocacy starts with your work culture and brand. If employees don’t feel trusted and don’t believe in the company, its products, or its leaders, building employee advocacy will be extremely challenging. But if you have a great company culture and engaged workers, encouraing employees to share online will pay off

Why should employees use social media?

Participating in social media and employee advocacy provides opportunities for employees to communicate internally, but to also polish their professional profiles online, to grow their networks and personal brand, to better engage with their contacts, to develop meaningful relationships, and progress faster in their professional careers.

What is employee advocacy software?

Employee advocacy software enables organizations to engage their workforce with the latest company news, as well as share branded content and information via social media channels. But it also allows them to expand their networks, develop their personal brands, better engage with contacts, develop meaningful relationships, and progress faster in their careers.

How do you encourage employees to share on social media?

Your employees first have to understand the benefit sharing content to their social media networks has for both the company and themselves. It should be a two-way street, where everyone involved is rewarded. Additional components include a simple social media policy, the right employee advocacy platform, and a company that motivates and helps them succeed.