What is the Future of Employee Advocacy?

In today’s digital world, brands can no longer rely solely on traditional marketing to reach and resonate with buyers – they must embrace employees as powerful advocates. With virtually every company’s customers active on networks like LinkedIn, employees represent an authentic way to cut through the noise. Capturing the full benefit requires moving beyond random acts of sharing toward a strategic advocacy approach.

The future of employee advocacy looks bright, as more and more organizations are recognizing the value of empowering their employees to share company messages and values with their networks. In this blog post, we’ll walk through where the practice is headed and advice for the future.

The Rise of Employee Advocacy: A Powerful Marketing Strategy

Employee advocacy has emerged as a dedicated strategy within companies’ marketing initiatives, capturing the attention of executives, employees, marketers, and sales reps alike. Its importance cannot be understated in an era where social media dominates the business landscape.

In fact, companies should prioritize employee advocacy precisely because their target audience resides on social media. By leveraging their employees’ social presence, companies can do more with their existing resources and budget, driving website traffic and engaging with potential customers without solely relying on paid advertising.

The current economic climate and budget cuts serve as catalysts for companies to focus even more on employee advocacy as a cost-effective marketing solution.

Adapting to the Changing Landscape

To excel in this rapidly evolving industry, marketers must be proactive and ready to adapt to the changing landscape. In the past five years, employee advocacy has shifted from random acts of advocacy to a more strategic and organized approach.

The ownership of employee advocacy has become clearer, with marketing playing a role as an enabler and supporting different functions. The pandemic further accelerated the use of social media and digital channels, driving increased adoption of employee advocacy.

But what does the future hold for employee advocacy? Let’s dive into some exciting possibilities.


The Future Vision: Where Employee Advocacy is Headed

In the next five to ten years, employee advocacy is set to become a core component of social strategies for even more companies. The focus will be on reaching customers and engaging with them on platforms they prefer, potentially even expanding employee advocacy beyond traditional sales and marketing roles.

Executives have been establishing their presence on social media platforms and sharing thought leadership more than ever before. Brands will adopt B2C marketing strategies, using nano-influencers and producing shorter, visually enticing content.

Video and visual content will take center stage as attention spans continue to shrink, necessitating a strategic shift towards shorter, more engaging content formats. As social media becomes an indispensable part of business operations and marketing strategies, employee advocacy will play a critical role in creating trust, credibility, and authenticity for brands.


Overcoming Challenges: From Fear to Empowerment

Now, let’s address some of the challenges that practitioners and the industry face when it comes to employee advocacy. One of the biggest hurdles is fear and uncertainty around social media. Many employees are apprehensive about posting the wrong content or are unsure about what to share.

To overcome these challenges, business leaders and marketers should communicate the value and benefits of employee advocacy clearly. Providing training on how to use social media effectively and helping employees reduce their fears is essential. Simplicity, rewards, and incentives can also encourage employee advocacy.

Building a culture of employee advocacy, complete with champions and success stories, is crucial. Educating different departments and offering training on storytelling and social media can further overcome these challenges.

Embracing the Changing Social Media Landscape

The rise of platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram has revolutionized content consumption and creation. Visual content and shorter, snappier videos have become the norm, with attention spans shrinking.

LinkedIn and other platforms are adapting to this change by introducing features like stories and reels. By leveraging AI technology, content creation and curation have become more accessible, eliminating barriers for marketers and salespeople.

In this ever-changing landscape, staying up-to-date and aligning your employee advocacy strategies with the latest trends is crucial.

Real-World Examples: Employee Advocacy in Action

Employee advocacy is not just a theoretical concept; it’s being implemented successfully by various companies across industries. Let’s take a look at some inspiring examples:

  • Gong, a sales organization, turns every sales rep into an influencer on LinkedIn, while their executives actively engage on social media. They focus on sharing content that resonates with their target audience’s pain points.
  • Randstad, a recruitment company, attributes every salesperson’s social media activity as a metric for success, highlighting the value they place on social media engagement.
  • Starbucks treats its employees as partners and uses the hashtag #wearepartners on social media. Their employee advocacy program is a key component of their talent acquisition strategy, attracting a younger demographic.

What Lies Ahead: The Significance of AI

Looking ahead, the integration of AI technology has the potential to revolutionize the Employee Advocacy field. AI can quickly and accurately create various content types, from email newsletters to social posts, considerably improving the quantity and quality of content creation.

Furthermore, AI can be leveraged for social listening, providing insights into the market and understanding what resonates with the audience on social media. With ChatGPT and Google’s AI advancements with Bard, the significance of AI in the industry is becoming increasingly apparent.

AI’s true potential is expected to be realized in 2024, fundamentally transforming content creation processes and empowering employees to create engaging, authentic, and experiential content.

Dispelling Common Myths and Misconceptions

As with any industry, employee advocacy is riddled with myths and misconceptions. Let’s tackle a few common ones head-on:


Myth 1: Social media is solely the marketer’s job

Every employee has a unique network and voice that can extend the brand’s reach. For example, an engineer posting about a new product feature can spark interest from technology professionals in a way marketing alone couldn’t. Empowering teams beyond just marketing is critical.


Myth 2: Employee advocacy is only about sharing company content

In reality, the most effective advocacy happens when employees share content based on their unique knowledge and experiences. Leading companies like Gong equip salespeople to post about relevant industry challenges, not just the product itself. This naturally showcases how the product can help without overt selling. Employees should share a mix of branded content and non-promotional industry articles.


Myth 3: Employee advocacy only works for specific industries

Every company has experts who can share knowledge from their specific domain. An insurance advocate can post about risk management tips while a construction advocate shares safety best practices. Regardless of your niche, employee insights are valuable.


Myth 4: Employee advocacy is time-consuming

Creating and sharing content can actually be highly efficient. AI tools can generate draft messages for review in seconds while templates allow for quick posting. 

Having a simple content repository with pre-approved articles makes it easy for employees to share without starting from scratch each time. With the right tools and training, sharing helpful perspectives can become second nature rather than a burden.


Myth 5: Employee advocacy has zero impact on the business or ROI

Today’s platforms make measurement and attribution easier than ever. With the right tracking, marketers can report on leads and opportunities generated from social posts.

Even starting simply by tying UTM parameters to links provides visibility into content resonance and traffic driven. As this data is captured over time, the revenue impact of employee advocacy becomes crystal clear. The ROI is real, but capturing it requires upfront planning and discipline.


To combat these misconceptions, it’s vital to have open discussions, share success stories, treat employees as internal customers, and integrate employee advocacy into existing marketing strategies. By breaking down these barriers, we can truly harness the power of employee advocacy.

Seeking Expertise and Staying Informed

With employee advocacy still evolving, it’s important for practitioners to continuously seek expertise and stay up-to-date on the latest trends. Attending events, following thought leaders on social media, and leveraging resources like blogs and reports can provide valuable insights. Consulting firms like Forrester regularly publish detailed reports on employee advocacy benchmarks and best practices. 

Beyond seeking information, it’s also critical to contribute knowledge back to the community by sharing insights from your own employee advocacy program.

Conclusion: Looking to the Future

Employee advocacy has made tremendous strides in recent years as organizations recognize its ability to drive business results. However, there is still significant room for growth. The ideal future state is one where advocacy becomes a normalized, integrated marketing strategy rather than a siloed initiative. 

For that vision to become reality, the industry must continue collaborating, sharing proven tactics, and driving innovation. With a concerted effort, employee advocacy can become a standard metric reported to executives right alongside campaign KPIs and conversion rates. When every employee has a presence and voice on social media to share their experiential wisdom, it propels brand awareness, trust, and sales momentum to new heights.

Of course, this future requires buy-in not just from marketing but every department. Helping all teams understand the specific value advocacy brings them is crucial. With a people-first mindset and employee-centric culture, organizations can create alignment around social media participation.

The opportunity has never been greater to amplify brands through social channels. Platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, and TikTok continue growing at astonishing rates. To become the go-to source of industry knowledge for modern professionals, brands must embrace employees as critical messengers. For savvy organizations, the question is no longer “Should we do advocacy?” but rather “How can we unlock its full potential?”

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