Employee advocacy blurs the boundaries between organic and paid social media. Everyone Social’s recent employee advocacy and paid social data shows that the average employee has 1,000 connections and that just 100 employees sharing can conservatively net 650 brand clicks per month.
And as your employees - especially those in sales or key account service roles - are likely to be connected to relevant prospects and buyer - and even influential peers -, employee advocacy helps put your brand message in front of the right audience.
The customer experience
Promote quality content
Reach a larger audience
Target best-fit customers
Drive targeted leads and conversions
Suddenly, there’s another option for driving targeted leads or KPIs at scale. While we don’t believe that employee advocacy should ever replace paid social media ads - both serve a purpose as you’ll see in this post - it can be an ideal tool to help support your paid social ads efforts.
Here’s the five best ways to utilise employee advocacy’s power to do so.
5 ways to use employee advocacy to support paid social
Increase brand awareness in a positive way with ideal buyers
Paid ads can help you build brand awareness with your ideal buyers but it’s not without its drawbacks. First, as we’ve seen, there’s the cost. Then there’s the problem that social media ads can be intrusive and annoying and the average CTRs for social ads are down globally by 30%, year-on-year. Employee advocacy can help overcome some of these issues. Everyone Social’s recent employee advocacy and paid social data estimates that:
- 100 employees sharing can conservatively net 650 brand clicks per month
- The average CPC of paid social is $3.15
- To get 650 branded clicks will cost $2,047 conservatively on paid social ads
It’s therefore not surprising to find that in 2020 Hootsuite & Altimeter found that 28% of organisations report that employee advocacy increases the reach of their messages without having to use social media ads. (Source: The Social Transformation Report 2020, Hootsuite & Altimeter)
Optimise with split testing - reduce ad spend
With paid ads being so costly, the best-practice advice is to test different ads versions on a smaller audience to see if it works before you go all-in. But testing different versions requires an hypothesis of what you believe may work best.
Your organic social posts can help you understand what copy and visuals work best for your audience before you put them to a split test. This works particularly well when promoting content offers and events. But - and it’s a big but - you need a large enough reach to use your organic posts to help optimise your paid ads.
That’s where employee advocacy - and its much higher reach - can help. With the right UTM parameters in place, you can track which posts perform best and use this to build paid ad variations to test.
Boost your quality content
Boosting top-performing posts and content is a common paid social ads strategy. After all, you know that the content performs well - now you just need to get it in front of more people, or a more targeted audience of key accounts or prospects.
As we mentioned above, your employees are likely to have highly relevant connections - and top-performing content is likely to be reshared past their immediate network. Employee advocacy can therefore help you boost your best performing content in a similar way to paid ads.
Create better-fit lookalike audiences
Lookalike audiences are a great way of boosting your paid ad success but sometimes we have limited data to work from. Employee advocacy can help you uncover more demographic and behavioural information about your buyer personas as you have access to a much wider audience.
Which means that you can often uncover (sometimes unexpected) factors that can help make your ads a resounding success (or dry up your paid social ad spend.)
Generate leads that convert
And last, but most certainly not least, paid social ads are often seen as the best medium for lead generation - with organic social often left flying the flag for brand awareness and relationship building.
Yet the data paints a very different picture. Demand Gen 2019 Content Preferences Report shows that the most trusted source (46%) for researching B2B buying decisions is “Peers or Colleagues” and nowadays those word-of-mouth recommendations take place online.
Which explains why leads generated by employee advocacy convert 7x higher than any other source. So while you wouldn’t want to stop paid social ads completely for lead generation - after all, there will be buyers not in your employee’s extended network - employee advocacy can help you drive higher-converting leads.
As we’ve said, employee advocacy can never replace paid social entirely. It’s a powerful complement. But with the increase in costs and buyers tuning out to paid social ads, launching or optimising your employee advocacy strategy should be at the forefront of your mind. (And that’s not the only benefit as these 50 recent employee advocacy statistics show.)