OPINION: Why employee advocacy is critical to your digital communications strategy

Katherine Mills

Katherine Mills is account director at international communications firm Infinite Global.

What does it take to truly get engagement from your target audience?

In the saturated domain of financial services content and marketing,  employee advocacy is a much overlooked yet incredibly powerful part of the communications toolkit. While financial services as a sector struggles to maintain customer trust, humanizing communications can serve as a differentiating factor. Indeed,  9 in 10 customers trust social media recommendations from people they know over branded content.

By empowering employees to share their own experiences and insights with their networks, financial services brands  can leverage existing relationship capital to build credibility or spark interest with potential customers in a way that is both authentic and engaging. Done well, employee advocacy can help to amplify the reach of a company’s marketing messages by as much as 200% through additional shares and engagement, which in turn can shorten the sales cycle and attract new talent.


What can employee advocacy achieve?

Community access

Thankfully, financial services professionals come with their own network of peers and potential customers, accrued over years of conferences, colleagues, and courses, who are ‘fit for purpose’ to engage with the kind of content financial service firms are distributing.

When employees share company content on their social media channels, they are essentially amplifying the reach of that content to their own followers, increasing brand awareness and driving traffic to the company’s website which can be a valuable source of new leads and customers.

When it comes to amplifying B2B marketing materials or branded content via employee channels, LinkedIn is a natural place to start. As a professional networking tool, every employee is equipped with their own targeted audience who are more familiar with or trusting of the content the employee posts than that of the employer.


Content efficiency

Whether executed through marketing materials or client relationships, the goals of business development remain the same.

Because integrated marketing campaigns in a financial services setting often err towards the informative – offering sector forecasts, expert advice, and data-led insights – they can easily be repurposed as a consultative resource for client-facing teams.

Equipping your employees with the materials housed in the report is another lever to extract value from the resource, whether as a sales tool or thought leadership campaign. When launching an integrated marketing campaign, consider hosting an internal launch that familiarises relevant teams with the content and how they can use it in their own role. Follow this up with links to the materials and tailored speaking points to assist with uptake and usage.


Message amplification

This may be preaching to the choir, but it is worth reiterating that when it comes to establishing brand awareness and share of voice, volume plays a role in value creation.

Employee advocacy creates more surface area for lightning to strike. Whether it is a new product launch, a blog, a campaign or a job opening – establishing a steady stream of material to be shared by a wide network of employees can meaningfully move the dial on key metrics of brand awareness and social share of voice.

At the same time, when employees share their expertise and insights, they are helping to establish the company as a trusted source of information – moving beyond the transactional to the consultative.


Talent attraction

In today’s competitive job market, employee advocacy can be a powerful tool for attracting new candidates and showcasing the company’s culture.

Be it a restaurant, a song, or a workplace, recommending something to a peer puts a little bit of the recommender’s reputation on the line. So, when an employee advocates on behalf of their employer, there is an assumed level of authenticity in their endorsement. Put another way – unhappy employees wouldn’t encourage their friends to join them in the trenches.

When employees share positive experiences about working for the company, or proactively associates themselves with employer by sharing branded materials, they are publicly putting their skin in the game – which is a powerful endorsement.


How to do it?

If you are new to employee advocacy, there are a few things you can do to get started:


Map out your strategy

Employee advocacy should be treated as a channel like any other strand of a marketing program. By its nature, employee advocacy lends itself to ‘talent acquisition’, ‘brand awareness’, and/or ‘lead generation’ goals, but regardless of firm-specific objectives, aligning on stakeholders, timeline, assets and KPIs is key to a sustained and impactful execution.


Choose your platform

There are a number of social employee advocacy sharing tools that employees can link their social networks to in order to share branded content, many of which are an extension of existing social scheduling platforms that the firm may already use. These can also be used to track performance metrics, discussed below.


Provide your employee advocates with content to share

This content could include blog posts, articles, infographics, and social media posts, all of which can and should be repurposed from existing brand-level assets to ensure consistency and efficiency.


Ensure every post has the option for personalisation via captions, and has an ‘action’ attached to it, most likely a link back to the relevant company webpage.  Consider hosting content appropriate for multiple channels, for instance LinkedIn, X (Twitter) and email, or any other platforms to your brand.


Train your employee advocates

Firstly, educate and activate the wider employee base. Consider hosting training sessions to introduce staff to the employee advocacy program including social sharing tools available, best practise, and most importantly, what it offers back to the individual in terms of reach, expertise, and personal brand. Incentivising uptake can be a helpful way to build momentum in the early days.

Secondly, find your influencers: these are employees who are passionate about the company and its products or services, are active on social media, and have a strong network of followers. Closely partner with this cohort to ensure they embrace and advocate for the program. Not only are their posts likely to wield the most influence and returns, but they’ll also act as role models for the wider team.


Measure and report

By tracking metrics generated from employee shares, you can see the real-world impact of your program. Common employee advocacy KPIs include: participation rate, share rate, reach, engagement, clicks, and conversions. This data can be used to improve the efficacy of your strategy overtime, both by addressing weaknesses and playing into successes.

In order to effectively track and measure the outcome of employee-shared content for lead generation, ensure every post links back to the company website or tack on a UTM tracker to monitor clicks, shares, and conversions. Many employee advocacy sharing tools will generate their own metrics around reach and engagement which can complement these insights.

Previous article

Former Santander retail marketing head joins Tandem

Next article

Schroders Personal Wealth poaches Barclays exec for transformation role

Get access to valuable thought leadership from the financial services marketing industry

Keep up-to-date with current trends and changes across marketing and financial services is vital in this fast-moving business environment.