Employee Marketing 101: a Deep Dive into Advocacy

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In the world of digital marketing, the concept of employee marketing has emerged as a potent strategy for businesses looking to amplify their brand's reach and authenticity. In this article, we delve into the intricacies of employee marketing, highlighting its significance, strategies, and the symbiotic relationship with employee advocacy.

Unlike traditional marketing tactics, employee marketing leverages a company's workforce as brand ambassadors, utilizing their networks and voices to promote the brand's message, culture, and values. This approach, closely related to employee advocacy, harnesses the power of personal endorsement and social proof to enhance brand visibility and reputation. 

What employee marketing is and why it should be on your company’s radar

Employee marketing transcends the basic principle of employees merely working for a brand; it involves them actively promoting and embodying the brand in their interactions, both online and offline. It hinges on employee advocacy, a strategy that sees your employees as the most undervalued asset in your company and one that can actually change the game for you if leveraged correctly.

At its core, this strategy recognizes employees as the most authentic and trusted source of information about a company. When employees share their genuine experiences and insights, it significantly boosts its appeal to potential customers and employees alike, generating a renewed sense of brand credibility.

The authenticity factor is crucial today — consumers are increasingly skeptical of traditional advertising and corporate messaging, and the younger generations adopt a strict, no-nonsense policy. Which means that they will not accept anything less than a sustainable, authentic, and progressive brand with a strong moral compass and a humanized culture. 

Related read: How to build a culture of sustainability through employee engagement

That’s why authenticity has to reign (and rightly so): a recommendation from a real person, particularly one with firsthand experience of the brand, is inherently more persuasive. It shows that a person is a staunch believer in what they are promoting and is not merely at the mercy of this or that brand (which is where influencer marketing often falls short). 

This is where employee marketing, through advocacy, becomes invaluable. It leverages the collective voice of the workforce to project a transparent, trustworthy image of the brand.

How to implement employee marketing

Implementing an effective employee marketing strategy involves several key components, each designed to maximize the advocacy potential of employees:

  • Cultivating a culture of ambassadorship. At the heart of employee marketing lies the company culture. A culture that celebrates openness, transparency, and employee achievements sets the foundation for effective advocacy and ambassadorship.

    When employees feel valued and engaged, their willingness to speak positively about the brand outside the workplace naturally increases. Companies must invest in creating an environment where employees are not just informed about the company’s goals and achievements but are also motivated to share these stories with their networks.

  • Providing the right tools and training. To empower employees as effective marketers, companies need to provide them with the necessary tools and training. This includes educating them on the best practices for social media, content creation, and networking; providing easy access to shareable company content, such as blog posts, videos, and infographics, to simplify the process for employees and encourage them to share more frequently; and lastly, supplying them with an advocacy platform to automate and facilitate their efforts.

  • Recognizing and rewarding advocacy. Recognition plays a vital role in sustaining employee interest and participation in marketing efforts. Implementing a reward system for employees who actively participate in advocacy can significantly boost their motivation.

    Rewards can range from public acknowledgment in company forums to tangible benefits like bonuses or gift cards. However, the most effective rewards are often those that also contribute to the employee's professional growth, such as opportunities for learning and development or attendance at industry events.

Related read: Let's talk about gamification and rewards

  • Measuring success and impact. Like any marketing strategy, the success of employee marketing hinges on its impact on the brand’s objectives. Measuring this impact can involve a mix of qualitative and quantitative metrics, including social media engagement rates, website traffic from employee-shared links, and changes in brand perception. Surveys and feedback sessions can also provide valuable insights into how employee advocacy is affecting the brand's image and reputation.

  • Ensuring compliance and consistency. As employees become more involved in marketing the brand, ensuring that their messages are compliant with industry regulations and consistent with the brand’s voice becomes crucial. This involves regular training sessions and updates on company messaging, as well as clear guidelines on what employees can and cannot share.

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The future of employee marketing

While employee marketing offers numerous benefits, it also presents challenges. Maintaining a balance between encouraging authentic employee voices and managing the brand’s overall message can be complex. There's also the task of engaging a diverse workforce in advocacy efforts, which requires personalized strategies that cater to different interests and motivations.

As we look to the future, employee marketing is set to become an even more integral part of the marketing mix: the rise of social media and the growing demand for authenticity in brand communications mean that the voices of employees will continue to be a powerful asset for brands. Companies that can effectively mobilize their workforce as brand advocates will not only enhance their market presence but also build stronger, more trusting relationships with their customers.

Why employee marketing should be on your radar

Employee marketing represents a shift towards more authentic, human-centric brand promotion. By tapping into the power of employee advocacy, companies can unlock new levels of brand visibility and credibility, which is crucial to stay relevant in the evolving marketing landscape. 

The journey to implementing a successful employee marketing strategy requires a commitment to culture, training, and recognition, but the rewards—in terms of brand loyalty and reputation—are immeasurable. As businesses continue to navigate the digital marketplace, those that harness the collective power of their employees' voices will find themselves at a significant advantage. The evolution of employee marketing is not just about amplifying a brand's message; it's about fostering genuine connections, both within the organization and with the broader audience.

The potential of employee marketing is immense. By investing in the development of a strong, supportive culture that encourages advocacy, providing the tools and training necessary for success, and building a foundation of trust, companies can unlock the full potential of their workforce as brand ambassadors. This not only enriches the brand's narrative but also contributes to a more engaged, motivated workforce. As businesses continue to explore the benefits of employee marketing, the integration of employee advocacy into marketing strategies will likely become standard practice, leading to more authentic, effective brand communication that resonates with audiences worldwide.

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