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Tips for Using Incentive Gifts to Boost Employee Advocacy

  • author

    Heather Munro

  • posted

    Feb 21, 2023

  • topic

    Digital Marketing, Employee Rewards

Tips for Using Incentive Gifts to Boost Employee Advocacy

Employee advocacy programs can be a highly effective marketing tool for extending your brand’s reach. Potential customers and employees are often introduced to your company through positive online word of mouth, not advertising. And they’re more likely to trust non-sponsored social media posts, too.

These days, asking your employees to share company content on their personal social media accounts is a no-brainer. LinkedIn is a great place to start — your company’s job listings, new blog posts, and new product launches are low-hanging fruit.

To offer more insight into your company’s culture, Facebook and Instagram are ideal. Snapshots from a team-building event, the free lunch spread you brought in last Friday, or just an average day on the job can show the world what you’re all about. They’re also a strong recruiting tool for potential job candidates.

Incentive gifts can move the needle on employee engagement, something your program will need to be successful. Here are five steps to creating an effective employee advocacy program, plus how to use rewards to ensure maximum engagement.

Get Executive Buy-In

Employee participation is often a matter of leadership sanctioning your program. So your first order of business is to get your executive team onboard.

To prove the value of this program, be sure to include compelling stats, such as:

  • Content shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than content shared by brand channels and can increase brand reach by 561%. (Source: MSL Group via Forbes)
  • On average, employees have 10 times more first-degree connections on LinkedIn than companies. (Source: LinkedIn)
  • An employee advocacy program boosts a brand’s total social engagement by at least 25% to 40%. (Source: Oktopost)

How to maximize your incentive gifts: Your executive team usually has large social audiences. Offer an incentive to employees who comment on their posts about the company.

Identify Brand Advocates Across Departments

While brand advocacy content may originate in the marketing department, that doesn’t mean it’s the marketing team’s job to do all the posting. In fact, the opposite is true — you need brand advocates from all parts of your company to participate in the program.

Cultivate relationships with employees in sales, product development, customer service, human resources, operations, etc. Each department will have a different social audience, and each time they share a post, your content will reach a larger variety of people.

How to maximize your incentive gifts: Offer multiple opportunities to get involved. Create campaigns each month that reward employees for different actions across different content.

Set Goals and Measure Progress

It’s a good idea to start small when launching your employee advocacy program. Make sure you can measure it along the way to gauge how it’s doing, too.

Typical metrics to build into your program include:

  • Shares
  • Likes
  • Followers
  • Impressions
  • Earned media value
  • Return on investment (ROI)

Consider Upwork, a freelancing platform that uses BHN Rewards for employee advocacy and, as a result, sees over one-third of its workforce participate in its social sharing program every month. (That’s above benchmark standards for a program of their size and industry.) Team members share more than 29,000 posts monthly, generating 38,000 impressions and an earned media value of over $531,000!

How to maximize your incentive gifts: Celebrate every milestone of your growing employee advocacy program with rewards for reaching a certain number of followers or impressions.

READ MORE: Empower Every Department to Reward Employees With Gift Card Incentives

Share Content Regularly

As with any marketing program, consistency is key. Sharing your content on a regular cadence will lead to more engagement. Aim for a mix of company-specific and trending industry content three to five times a week.

It’s also critical that your employees know when and where to access (and share!) your brand’s content. Consider setting up a specified Slack or Microsoft Teams channel to announce the posts you want employees to share — be sure to mention the reward they earn for doing so, too!

How to maximize your incentive gifts: Promote available rewards across every employee communication channel — emails, newsletters, intranets, benefits portals, town hall meetings, onboarding for new employees … you get the idea.

Reward Your Top Advocates and New Participants

The last thing you want your employees to do is tune out your advocacy program because they don’t think they can earn any incentives.

Mix up your regular rewards with special contests around the holidays or industry happenings to pique their interest and keep them participating.

How to maximize your incentive gifts: Run special incentive programs for larger campaigns. For example, award six gift cards worth $50-$100 in a random drawing each month. Each social share equals one chance to win a gift card.

It’s worth noting that employee advocacy programs come with a side benefit: The increase in employee engagement not only widens your brand’s reach, it also deepens the connection between employee and employer.

In fact, the Altimeter Group found employee advocacy to be an investment in “relationship economics.” Its report found that “socially engaged employees are more optimistic, inspired, connected, and tenured.” All of which makes your advocacy program and incentives a valuable retention tool, too.

Did you know you can give instant rewards to your employee advocates directly in Microsoft Teams? Learn more about our Teams integration!

about the author
Heather Munro

Based near Boulder, Colorado, Heather is a copywriter who has been writing in the retail and B2B space for more than 20 years.

Based near Boulder, Colorado, Heather is a copywriter who has been writing in the retail and B2B space for more than 20 years.