How Facebook and Twitter Are Encouraging Employee Advocacy

Social networks are always changing, which means that marketers are always adapting.

The past few weeks have brought several surprises for social media marketers. Mainly, Facebook has changed its algorithm yet again, and it turns out that Twitter has an ad problem.

Whether Facebook and Twitter like it or not, both these revelations support the case for launching an employee advocacy program. Let’s take a look at why…

What Is Employee Advocacy?

In case you’re unfamiliar with employee advocacy, here’s a succinct overview.

In short, employee advocacy is when businesses empower their employees to act as marketers on their behalf. Your C-suite, engineers, salespeople, HR staff, and marketing team leverage their social networks to share content, build brand awareness, and drive sales.

Curious about why advocacy works or how to get started? Check out the ebook The Rise of the Employee Marketer. Otherwise, let’s sally forth, shall we?

Facebook’s Love for People

Facebook is always changing its algorithms. At the beginning of 2014, the network’s business pages took a hit. By March, 2014, the organic reach of Facebook pages plummeted roughly 50%.

To compensate for the drop in reach, many marketers thought they needed to pay for Facebook ads. What those marketers failed to consider was another way of reaching Facebook users: their employees.

While your company’s Facebook page took a hit in 2014, your employees’ personal networks didn’t. Your employees could still post and reach their friends, family members, and colleagues. No problem.

As a result, the savvy marketers of 2014 encouraged their employees to share content on Facebook so that their companies could still reach Facebook users organically.

Fast Forward to April, 2015

The case for employee advocacy became even stronger in April, 2015, when Facebook updated its algorithms yet again. The most recent changes were even more favorable to individual Facebook users with strong personal connections.

Facebook has decided that

Score for Facebook users! Zuckerberg and his team have made a commitment to prioritizing posts from our friends in our News Feeds!

Unfortunately, this could spell more disappointment for businesses. With the posts of close friends rising to the top of the News Feed, other types of content have to descend. The loser in this instance could be your company’s business page.

Rather than seeing the latest algorithm change as a challenge, brands should view the update as an opportunity. When planning your Facebook tactics, don’t think solely about your business page. Encourage your employees to share content with their friends and family.

Your employees’ posts should appear higher up in the News Feed, creating more visibility for your company.

Twitter’s Ad Problem

Unlike Facebook, Twitter does not curate your timeline for you. There isn’t an algorithm that marketers have to game. Instead, each Twitter post appears in your followers’ feed in chronological order.

In some ways, that’s good. In other ways, that’s bad. You see, if your followers aren’t online when you post, they might miss an update from your company.

To ensure that their tweets are reaching more people, some companies are turning to ads. But what many companies didn’t know is that Twitter has an ad problem. Its algorithms are failing several of the world’s largest, most trustworthy brands.

For example, Nielsen recently paid to promote a webinar recording on Twitter, and their paid promotion appeared on several adult-themed profiles. Not exactly the type of publicity that Nielsen had in mind.

What is more, AdWeek has reported that NBCUniversal and Gatorade have had similar problems.

Extending Your Reach on Twitter

Twitter’s ad problem raises the following question: What is the best way to extend your reach on Twitter?

You have several options. You can…

  • Entrust your message to Twitter’s ad algorithms, which have been known to fail. (Twitter has indicated that they are working to resolve the issue.)
  • Adjust the frequency and timing of your company’s tweets.
  • Encourage your employees to act as brand advocates on Twitter.

Most companies overlook the third option, and they are missing out.

Think about It.

In 2012, the typical Twitter user had 208 followers. If you have 100 employees representing your company on Twitter, you could reach at least 20,800 people. Many corporate Twitter accounts don’t have 20,800 followers.

Plus, through advocacy, you don’t have to worry about your employees’ tweets appearing in the timelines of licentious Twitter accounts (unless, of course, you happen to work in the adult entertainment industry).

Instead, your employees’ tweets will reach their followers – like-minded people who have a relationship with your employees and who trust your employees.

Don’t underestimate the relationship between your employees and their followers. It is invaluable, for when it comes to the buyer’s journey, trust is the most important component.

How Are You Extending Your Reach?

If you’re struggling to reach more people, perhaps it’s time to change your strategy. Perhaps you should empower your employees to build their personal brands and to share quality, relevant content with their followers.

Ready to change your strategy? Drop us a line. We’d love to discuss your advocacy plans.

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