14 June 2022

Social media and employee advocacy 

Social media is a great tool for business messaging and sharing content with an audience. This includes employees too, which is often forgotten about. Encouraging positive use of employees using social media to share your organisation’s content and messaging is a powerful form of advocacy, allowing business messaging to be shared in an authentic way. 

Global research by LinkedIn and Altimeter Group looked at the top 100 of the most socially-engaged companies on LinkedIn with more than 1,000 employees. The results showed that employee social engagement boosts business outcomes.  

The top-line findings were that socially-engaged companies are: 

  • 40% more likely to be perceived as competitive 
  • 57% more likely to get increased sales leads  
  • 58% more likely to attract top talent 


Employee advocacy is an important part of your marketing toolkit. Your people are the authentic, grassroots of your organisation. They can help with building brand awareness, trust with clients and customers, and importantly, forming stronger connections with all employees in the organisation.  

According to research by Nielson, 84% of consumers trust in recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising, and 77% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase after hearing about it from someone they know. Facilitating an authentic employee advocacy programme allows you to build strong messaging and sharing opportunities for new audiences. 

Hootsuite research shows that “employee advocacy also helps to retain and engage employees, especially Millennials who expect a digital connection with their leaders, community, and peers.” 

Understanding best practice for professional social media use is helpful in determining what your business needs and how to deploy it within your strategic communication plan. 

Which platforms? 

With Twitter being on shaky ground with the latest acquisition by Elon Musk, it’s a good time to reassess your social media for business, and audit existing platforms. For example, LinkedIn may be a key platform for your content messaging. It’s like a professional address book – recruitment, job searching and networking are all strong features. If, for instance, Twitter becomes obsolete as is rumoured, would you rely more heavily on LinkedIn, and could your employees benefit from some guidance on sharing business content? 

Key considerations 

Here are three key points to consider, to enable positive and successful social media for your business. 

  1. Have a clear and consistent social media policy – ensure your company’s social media guidelines are up-to-date and accessible to all employees. Include guidance on harassment, legal responsibilities of publishing content on public forums, and posting responsibly. Outline the official company social account handles and if staff are identifying themselves as employees of the company, do you need to encourage them to add a disclaimer to their bio, such as “All opinions are my own” for example? 
  1. Ensure staff have regular social media training – social media platforms and algorithms are continually updating and evolving. If you’re actively encouraging staff to engage and share content, providing basic support and information should be a minimum. Training on using social channels successfully will allow everyone to be supported and on the same page, keep cyber safety and security as a priority, and ensure brand messaging remains consistent.  
  1. Encourage social advocacy – consider setting up a specific programme to encourage employees to take part in social networking, content sharing and thought leadership. Could you incentivise employee advocacy through rewards and benefits? This could be anything from monetary or gift rewards, to recognition and company shoutouts. Employee advocacy programmes benefit both brand and employee: “brands enjoy increased awareness and controlled messaging while employees earn rewards and establish themselves as thought leaders in their field”. 

Hootsuite’s predictions on social media for businesses in 2023 indicate that those who employ a social-first approach towards their brand and customers, will benefit most. Maggie Lower, Hootsuite’s Chief Marketing Officer said: 

“Social media has never played a more central role to businesses. As businesses continue to look for ways to future-proof operations and connect with today’s tech-savvy customers, social media and digital marketing will inevitably play a part in nearly every business strategy. 

“In 2023, businesses that take a social-first approach to their brand and customer care strategy will be the ones to reap the benefits. Stronger brand reputation, greater customer interaction, trust and loyalty – now and in the future – depends on it.” 

Maggie Lower, Hootsuite
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