Organic social media reach has been all but decimated in the last few years. Many companies are supplementing this lack of organic reach with social ads because – hey – reach is reach, right? Wrong. When it comes to the decision about when and how to create reach, the first thing you need to consider is the quality of this targeted reach.
In a world where customers are increasingly discerning, audiences tend to be skeptical of ads. While the reach may be there, the interaction rate of social ads is often low. As if that weren’t enough, the effectiveness of social ads is also on the decline thanks to ad blockers (26% of desktop users currently utilize them).
This is where social advocacy has come to the rescue. Leveraging the network of your employees to share social media messages can generate a tremendous amount of quality reach.
Why? Because sharing these messages through a personal account is seen as a more authentic, word-of-mouth style sharing that generally receives more engagement. Social media advocacy allows brands to generate the same “amount” of reach as ads, but with higher quality click-through rates and better control of costs.
Here’s what you need to know about generating quality reach through social advocacy.
What is Social Advocacy?
Social advocacy is essentially the promotion of an organization by the workforce that supports it. While employee advocacy takes many forms, the most common modern channel is social media. In today’s purchasing environment, word-of-mouth remains the top consideration for buyers looking for a new product, good, or service.
Employee social advocacy works because employees are trusted twice as much as CEOs, senior executives, and activist consumers. Because of this, employees’ social posts generate roughly 8x the engagement as posts from employers or branded social accounts.
What’s more, social advocacy works because employees already have existing social media profiles. In most cases, they’re on a platform and first degree connections with people your brand isn’t or wouldn’t otherwise be able to access. This allows companies that use social advocacy to reach a larger group of consumers and ensure their messaging is communicated as effectively and authentically as possible.
Reach vs. Impressions
When it comes to deciding which outreach method is best for you, the first step is to differentiate between reach and impressions. Here’s the difference between these two terms:
According to Adweek, Reach is simply the number of people who see your content. Because reach is generally the first step in attracting new customers, it’s one of the most important modern metrics for businesses, and one of the things company owners tend to focus on most.
“Impressions” refers to the number of times content is displayed, regardless of whether or not it was clicked. While marketers can get really excited about impressions, it’s a less trustworthy metric than reach.
Who Should Use Social Advocacy?
According to the Pew Research Center, the average social media user has about 61 followers on Twitter, and about 200 Facebook friends. This means a staff of 200 people has the potential to reach about 52,000 people organically.
How to Create an Employee Social Media Advocacy Program for Your Company
Interested in reaping the benefits of social advocacy for your company? Here’s how to create a program in 5 fast steps:
1. Improve Your Workplace Culture
If you expect employees to be brand advocates, they’ve got to love their jobs. According to one recent study, 18% of employees have reported that a better corporate culture would boost their engagement with and loyalty to a company. This is especially true for millennials, who would take relatively significant pay cuts to access an improved quality of life at work.
2. Simplify Advocacy
As is true in all types of marketing, the easier it is the more willing people are to do it. To this end, work to give employees something easy or fun to promote. The more interesting your promotional materials are, the more likely employees will be to share them. Great examples include new product announcements or a fun video.
3. Establish Guidelines
Employees need to understand what the message is and how best to communicate it. While lots of companies assume that employees will handle outreach all on their own, it’s much more effective to provide some guidelines to help them navigate the process.
When employees understand how often they need to post, what kind of language and voice to use, and what they should share, they’re more likely to post and generate results for your company.
Social Advocacy Looking Forward
What’s the future of employee social advocacy look like? The answer is simple: it looks bright! In 2018, Facebook made a new commitment to Friends and Family content, further solidifying the value of social advocacy as a method to generate quality reach on social platforms. Because social advocacy leverages the social media profiles of your employees to create social media campaigns with targeted reach but does not cost per click (like social ads), it receives more engagement while controlling potential ballooning ad spend.
When messages are viewed as more authentic and trustworthy than ads, everyone wins. Want to learn more about social media marketing, driving reach, or creating more social media reach? Subscribe to the blog today!