Millennials & Employee Advocacy: Risk or Reward?

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Lauren Durfy

More and more Millennials are joining and moving up the ranks within their organization. According to EY, 62% of Millennials manage the work of others. With all this Millennial talent in the office, social media marketing should be an easier sell, but this can be both a blessing and a curse.

Why? Because Millennials are daily active social media users. They understand why social media marketing, influencers, and employee advocacy programs are effective. More than 75% of Millennials admit to being influenced or purchasing products based on social profiles they follow.

Sounds like the dream right? Well, letting your Millennial workers loose on social media is not without its pitfalls – this is also the generation that gets in trouble for oversharing.

Below this blog covers the pros and cons of activating your Millennial employees on social media as well as best practices to help get the most out of these workers.

10 Fast Facts About Millennials

  1. Described as optimistic, digital pioneers, they are completely comfortable navigating most social platforms.
  2. 88% of Millennials get news from Facebook. This is also the platform with the highest adoption.
  3. Millennials are spending on average 2 hours and 38 minutes daily on social media.
  4. 79% of Millennials will respond to a social ad if it grabs their attention.
  5. However, you only have 12 seconds to grab their attention.
  6. According to Hubspot, 71% of Millennials are more likely to make an online purchase if it comes with peer recommendations.
  7. 62% of Millennials said they are more likely to stay brand loyal if a company engages with them, sincerely, on social media.
  8. More than 90 percent of Millennials said they would stop giving to an organization if they began distrusting it.
  9. According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials now make up the largest generation in the United States workforce.
  10. 81% of Millennials surveyed have already shared information about their company online.

Pros of Millennials on Social Media

Technology Proficient: They spend hours every day exploring and sharing so almost all Millennials will understand the posting and sharing nuances that apply to each social media platform. This will help save a lot of training time as seminars can mostly focus on what is acceptable for the brand.

Social Media Savvy: Millennials are also more willing than any other generation to post about their employer and job online. The hurdle to get employee buy-in for advocacy is a lot easier in this generation. They understand the power of social media and with a little convincing about the personal and brand benefits of employee advocacy, it isn’t as hard to get their support.

Influenced by Peers: Millennials are influenced by their peers. When they look through social media at the content posted by their friends, colleagues and professional connections, they are more likely to engage with content that resonates with them.

Cons of Millennials on Social

Oversharers: Millennials are more open on social media than any other generation, including Gen Z. This can be worrisome for brands who want to maintain their reputation or are in highly regulated industries. Three ways to mitigate oversharing mistakes are robust social media policies, social media training to review policies and employee advocacy tools that have compliance features.

Informal Communicators: In general, Millennials prefer more informal communication with friendlier, casual forms of exchange, like emojis, which are becoming more mainstream. Depending on the brand and industry this can be a pro or a con. If more formal language is required, a quick run-through of brand guidelines is essential as without it their default style of posting will trend on the more casual side.

Less Professionally Focused Networks: A lot of Millennials are still relatively new to their field and their networks aren’t as business-focused as their generational predecessors. While this may start off as a con, this can also be an asset to help secure continuous program use. As Millennials continue to post relevant business content they will continue to grow and expand their professional network organically which is a win-win for both the organization and the Millennial sharing the thought leadership content.

Best Practices for Millennials on Social

As mentioned before, 81% have already shared content on social media about their job or employer. Starting an employee advocacy program harnesses Millennials’ likelihood to share on social media and also helps mitigate sharing mistakes due to lack of brand knowledge.

With Millennials, there is less friction to the idea of employee advocacy. As digital natives, Millennials feel comfortable and are more willing to share company messages and jump into social conversations. They naturally want to engage with both their network and customers in an authentic way.

However, they do not have the same career tenure as previous generations nor are they used to carefully moderating their social posts. While social media platforms come naturally to millennials, social media for business does not.

With millennials, it is important to adopt a social media policy and train this generation on best practices in regards to sharing, privacy and brand voice. Employee advocacy technology is another way to reign in Millennials by providing them with one content repository full of pre-approved content that can be easily shared in just a few clicks.

Another Millennial tech feature to look for is built-in compliance to help encourage safe sharing. These features act like in-app gatekeepers and live-action trainers on what is and isn’t acceptable when sharing on behalf of the brand and organization. Below is an example of the Complaine Feature within the PostBeyond platform.

With Millennials on board – and with a little guidance – there’s no reason your social media and employee advocacy programs can’t flourish. Looking to onboard more millennials to your employee advocacy program? Sign up now to get an emailed copy of the Millennials, Gen Z and Employee Advocacy: Guide to Training eBook coming out next week!

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