Do Brands Really Understand What Employee Advocacy Is?

photo credit: amortize via photopin cc
photo credit: amortize via photopin cc

If you’ve been following me on social media you know that I’m a big fan of employee advocacy and have been for quite some time. It seems like employee advocacy has been gaining momentum recently, with brands starting to encourage their employees to get on social media and help spread their messaging. While I applaud brands for doing this and taking that first step, there needs to be a better understanding of employee advocacy for it to continue to be effective.

In a recent post titled, “8 Signs a Company Is Doing Employee Advocacy Wrong”, Brian Fanzo points out a number of things where brands don’t get it wrong when it comes to employee advocacy. I have to say that I’ve seen and experienced all of the points that Brian highlights, and I’m not surprised. I’m not surprised because I think that there is a big misunderstanding as to what employee advocacy is.

I don’t believe employee advocacy is only tied to social media, but that seems to be what brands think. It’s probably because of the value leadership gives to vanity metrics (as Brian points out). Everyone is looking to add social media to their performance reviews, and it seems as if you don’t have that buzzword on your resume, you will end up going nowhere fast. What this has done is prompted most people to sign up for a social media account without any understanding of how to use effectively use it. I’m sorry but creating an account on Twitter does not make you a social media brand ambassador. Furthermore, having your social media account mirror your companies PR newsfeed doesn’t make you an effective employee advocate.

Employee advocacy is not turning your workforce into automated, impersonal news feeds. Employee advocacy is encouraging your workforce to build relationships with people to create a lasting, positive impression of your brand.

You are an employee brand advocate every day, whether you are on social media or not. The reason why people will connect with the brand you represent is because they will connect with you. They will connect with you as a person, not as an advertisement. Brands should look at employee advocates as a way to build relationships, instead of as banner ads.

5 thoughts on “Do Brands Really Understand What Employee Advocacy Is?

  1. I personally believe that the best brand ambassadors just are fun people to be around and that translates to being social and more able to identify with the brand. If you add twitter or facebook to that it is a winner. Too often I see companies putting anyone at the helm of their social media and they don’t have that much of a personality. That translates and they wonder why it fails.

    1. Hey Ted, thanks for commenting! I agree, not everyone is equipped to run a brand’s social media program. Social media is a powerful tool for employee advocacy and it should be treated with respect. That being said, I believe that you can be a great employee advocate and not be on social media too.

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