Social platforms are one of the most powerful ways to reach customers, employers, and buyers who might be researching you. 60% of prospective employees research a potential employer on LinkedIn before applying for a role, source.
People also research executives to find out who they are and what they stand for, using what they find out about executives and their values to inform their decisions.
As the power in business shifts from organisations to individuals, social is increasingly becoming a great place to promote, and improve, your employer brand.
In a recent LinkedIn Live, hosted by Tim Williams, CEO at Onalytica, we spoke to Jeff Abbott, CEO at Ivanti, about social media and employee advocacy.
You can watch the full interview here, or check out the summary of what we discussed below.
Giving Employees A Voice On Social Media
When it comes to employee advocacy, it’s important to be deliberate about it and have a strategy. Businesses also need to provide a structure for employees to follow. This includes tools to make it easier for them to amplify company messages and publish their own.
One technique Jeff uses to motivate and inspire employees to get involved is gamification. This includes running contests, where the winner is the person who gets the highest reach on social.
Gamification has been really helpful, creating contests on who can amplify messages the most and how far and wide their reach can get through social. Because we’re so remote-centric, these contests, and this amplification strategy contributes to a unique culture for us.
Ivanti also works with influencers to get the message out. These experts in social media share whitepapers, videos, and other media to help employees understand how valuable social media can be and what it can do for them.
Employee vs Employer Brand
For an employee advocacy program to work, it’s important to put a governance model in place. At Ivanti, communications and social teams, executives, and employees work together to decide on the right messaging for this.
For example, during Pride Month in June, Ivanti provided employees with the opportunity to create videos on why Pride Month is important to them. Videos were reviewed before being published to LinkedIn.
Employees can be strong advocates, especially when it comes to things like sharing business wins. They become amplification tools for a published statement or victory, dramatically increasing the reach of that announcement.
The Importance Of CEOs On Social
Senior executives can often be concerned about what they say on the internet out of fear that a past comment could be held against them. It’s a risk, but Jeff believes the reward and value of aligning against authentic values is greater than any downside. It’s about being consistent in how you do it and how you project yourself.
It’s also important for CEOs to set examples. Jeff, who’s an active social media user himself, often welcomes new team members on social, something which makes them feel valued and respected from the start.
When he replies to comments, it comes from him, not someone from his team, too. Getting a like or a comment from someone in senior leadership can be a huge morale boost for an employee. It’s a clear sign that they’re a valued team member.
Proactive outreach, and showing Ivanti’s culture on social, is also important to Jeff. Employees and candidates get to watch and engage, seeing what bosses do, what they contribute, and the value they bring. This also shows outsiders what the company is like helping them make an informed decision about if they’d be a good fit for its culture before they apply.
Why You Should Be More Authentic On Social
Jeff hires based on people’s core values as well as their experience and competence. It’s about giving people a chance to be authentic and learn as they go.
However, it can be intimidating for people to project their personal persona on social media. Jeff advised giving it a go, working to actively lift the brand by using a social voice that recognises individual employees for their victories as well as celebrating company and customer wins. You could even advocate for charities, personal interests, and social initiatives that align with company values.
Need some help encouraging your employees to get involved? Check out Justyna’s recent blog post on how to persuade employees to be active on social media.
To be authentic, you need to be who you are. ‘And we're getting there. It's a journey, but we're being pulled into the contemporary social world,’ said Jeff.
When leaders see the value in this, the engagement it brings, and the joy it inspires, they really get to see how advocacy works and why it’s such a powerful tool.
Employee advocacy can be a powerful initiative that drives talent acquisition and retention.
80% of people look up the social media profiles of current staff when applying for, or even considering, a position. Source. This makes it more important than ever for businesses to have a presence that aligns with their values. When they have this, they attract the right types of employees and customers.
Social media can also show employees they’re appreciated and valued within the business. Something as simple as a like or a comment from an executive can go a long way to representing this.
You can watch the full interview here.