What Employee Advocacy Is Not

On the Trapit blog, we’ve discussed the benefits of employee advocacy at length. Now we need to cover what it is not. There are many misconceptions about employee advocacy marketing. This post seeks to clear up those misconceptions.

1. It is not about advocating for your employees.

This is perhaps the biggest misconception. Employee advocacy does not mean advocating on your employees’ behalf (in the legal sense). Instead, it means asking your employees to advocate on your company’s behalf and to act as marketers: to share content, to build trust, and to drive sales.

2. It is not about creating fake employees.

Some companies are tempted to create fake Twitter profiles, complete with fake names and fake photos. The marketing department then operates these fake accounts, tries to pass them off as real employees, and writes fake status updates about the company on behalf of their fake employees.

That is not employee advocacy. If you’re tempted to institute such a program, you’re missing out. You’re failing to tap into your real employee’s networks and capitalize on their trusted, authentic relationships with friends, family, and colleagues.

3. It is not about pretending to like your company.

If you’re an employee who does not believe in your company’s products, services, or industry, you shouldn’t participate in your company’s advocacy program. Don’t pretend to be excited about something that does not interest you. Your followers will see through your feigned enthusiasm.

4. It is not about automation.

Don’t set up your advocacy platform in such a way that it automatically posts content to your employees’ social networks. This defeats the purpose of advocacy. You’re trying to give a more human, less robotic image to your company.

5. It is not about pitching.

Many of your employees’ followers will not be ready to buy your product or services. If your employees only share updates about your products or continuously solicit demo requests, their followers will be annoyed. Trust will be lost, and people will tune out your advocates.

Think about it as adding value. What can your employees share on social that will add value to their followers’ lives?

6. It is not about being on every social media network.

If an employee advocate loves LinkedIn but dislikes Pinterest, she shouldn’t have to be on Pinterest. Advocates are not social media managers. They do not have to be fluent in all social networks. They should pick the ones that feel comfortable for them.

7. It is not a replacement for other forms of marketing.

Companies with advocacy programs still need to run e-mail campaigns, nurture their leads, monitor their corporate social accounts, and write content. Think of your employee marketers as another channel.

8. It is not a solution that only benefits marketing.

Sure, marketing benefits from advocacy. Because of your advocacy program, more people see your marketing messages. But the perks do not stop there. Advocacy can also benefit your sales team, your human resources department, and even your CEO.

9. It is not innate.

We do not live in a sci fi world where babies come out of the womb tweeting. Your employees will need to be trained on social media best practices.

10. It is not magic.

If only you could buy an advocacy platform, then, sit back, relax, and watch the revenue pour in. Employee advocacy requires the right strategy, the right people, the right content, and the right technology. It will take some effort on your part.

Image via Jansos.

Want to learn more about what employee advocacy is?

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