Harnessing the Power: Employee Advocacy and Social Selling Unveiled

by Jess Wood
  |  August 7, 2023  |  
August 7, 2023

Harnessing the Power: Employee Advocacy and Social Selling Unveiled | Smartphone with megaphone and social media "like" icons

The age of the internet has transformed the way B2B Companies interact with their customers, and now social media platforms are teeming with potential leads ready to be engaged. In this new digital landscape, two strategies have emerged as vital tools for businesses — social selling and employee advocacy. They may seem similar at first glance, but in reality, each brings a unique set of advantages to the table. Understanding their nuances can help you to learn how to harness them effectively for your organization.

The Age of Social Selling

Social selling refers to using social media networks to find, connect with, understand, and nurture sales prospects. Rather than pushing a product, it’s about leveraging the power of social networks to build relationships and ultimately drive sales. Its focus is predominantly personal, accentuating one-to-one interactions throughout the sales journey.

Imagine this scenario: you’re a salesperson who has cultivated a solid social media presence. You’re constantly sharing insightful articles, participating in relevant discussions, and subtly introducing your product’s features into conversations. You’re not just a salesperson but a thought leader, a consultant who can be trusted. That’s the power of social selling. It’s not about instant gratification but fostering long-term relationships which lead to sales opportunities over time.

The approach is rooted in understanding the client’s needs, interests, and friction points. For instance, sales representatives involved in social selling strategically share insightful industry-specific content, actively participate in online discussions, and respond to inquiries or comments. This personalized engagement fosters a sense of trust and establishes the salesperson as a reliable consultant rather than just a faceless corporate entity.

Moreover, social selling is heavily dependent on the art of listening.SDR’s and Account Executives pay attention to their prospects’ online activities, gleaning valuable insights to guide their engagement strategy. This interactive communication assists in building a foundation of trust, paving the way for a meaningful relationship that can evolve into a fruitful business partnership.

The Strength of Employee Advocacy

Employee advocacy is harnessing the collective power of your employee’s social media presence to boost your brand’s visibility. It is an exercise in brand promotion. Employees sharing posts about your company, its culture, its products, or its services can significantly increase your brand’s reach.

Every one of your employees has a unique network on social media, a network that trusts their opinions. As a result, the potential reach of this strategy is massive, given that each employee can connect with their exclusive network of contacts. When these employees advocate for your brand, their network sees your company not as a faceless corporation but as a humanized entity with which they share a connection, creating a more approachable and engaging image leading to stronger customer loyalty.

In essence, employee advocacy can boost demand for your business through the most powerful word-of-mouth brand ambassadors a company can have – your employees. The strength of this approach lies in the fact that people tend to trust recommendations from their connections, making employee-shared content more influential than traditional corporate advertising.

Exploring the Differences: Social Selling vs. Employee Advocacy

While social selling and employee advocacy both leverage the power of social media, their core objectives differ. Social selling is predominantly a sales technique individuals (often salespeople) use to build relationships with prospects over social networks. It’s personal, targeted, and primarily driven by individuals.

Employee advocacy, on the other hand, is a branding exercise. It amplifies your brand’s message through your employees. It’s collective, wide-reaching, and mainly driven by the organization.

A Dual Strategy: Harnessing Both Social Selling and Employee Advocacy

The divergence between social selling and employee advocacy gives businesses an opportunity for a two-pronged approach. Both strategies can coexist harmoniously and contribute to a comprehensive, dynamic social media strategy.

How Can an Organization Effectively Utilize Social Selling and Employee Advocacy?

Combining social selling and employee advocacy allows for a comprehensive and dynamic social media strategy that extends reach, builds relationships, and fosters a culture of brand pride among employees.

Social Selling Strategy: Empowering Sales

To maximize the benefits of social selling, organizations need to empower their sales teams to take up the mantle of thought leadership in their industry. Comprehensive training programs can equip sales representatives with the knowledge and tools they need to effectively engage with leads on social platforms.

Follow this checklist and encourage your salespeople to share valuable, engaging content establishes their expertise and adds value to their network. Regularly participating in relevant discussions can position themselves as active, informed professionals in their field, fostering a stronger rapport with potential customers. The key here is to engage authentically, listening carefully to prospects and providing thoughtful, personalized responses.

Employee Advocacy Strategy: Amplifying Brand Voice

For employee advocacy, the first step is to foster a company culture where employees are proud to represent your brand. The process involves transparent communication, recognizing and rewarding achievements, and promoting a positive work environment.

Next, ensure you equip employees with the tools and guidelines to advocate for your brand effectively. It can involve creating an easy-to-use content library, providing guidelines on what can and cannot be shared, or offering training on engaging professionally on social media.

Recognizing and celebrating employees who go above and beyond in advocating for your brand can motivate more team members to participate. Doing so could be as simple as a shout-out in a company meeting or as substantial as a bonus or other incentive. The goal is to create a culture of advocacy where employees feel valued and are excited to share their positive experiences.

In the grand scheme, harnessing social selling and employee advocacy can lead to a powerful, cohesive, and high-impact social media strategy. The dual approach allows organizations to extend their reach, build stronger relationships with potential leads, and foster a culture of pride and advocacy among their employees.

It’s a synergistic approach, where the personalized relationships developed through social selling feed into the broader, more far-reaching scope of employee advocacy, creating a compelling brand narrative that resonates both individually and collectively.

Finding the Balance

Social selling and employee advocacy offer promising avenues to engage potential customers in a world dominated by digital interactions. While they may seem similar on the surface, understanding their differences is crucial in utilizing them effectively. Through a blended integration of both strategies, businesses can create a comprehensive approach using the strengths of each, fostering stronger relationships with customers and amplifying their brand’s reach.

Remember, the key to success lies not just in implementing these strategies but also in balancing them. So, strike that balance, harness their collective power, and watch your business reach new heights in the digital landscape.

With careful planning and strategic execution, you’re not just selling a product or a service but engaging in a dialogue with your customers, which leads to stronger relationships and, ultimately, business success.

The Depth of Social Selling

Delving deeper into social selling, it is important to understand it is a multifaceted approach that requires blending various skills and strategies. To truly master the art of social selling, sales representatives need to foster digital fluency, personal branding, active listening, and relationship building.

1. The Need for Digital Fluency

In social selling, digital fluency implies those well-versed in different social media platforms and their functionalities. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and many others have unique features and userbases. Understanding these platforms’ dynamics can significantly enhance sales representatives’ ability to connect with and engage their prospects.

Being digitally fluent also means staying updated with the latest trends and tools in digital selling. From social listening tools to customer relationship management (CRM) software, the digital landscape is full of resources to augment the effectiveness of social selling efforts.

2. Personal Branding as a Trust-Building Tool

Personal branding is a cornerstone of social selling. As the lines between personal and professional lives blur on social media, sales representatives with a well-crafted personal brand can stand out because the key to effective personal branding is authenticity. Sales representatives should showcase their experience, expertise, and personality without being overly promotional. By sharing relevant content, engaging in industry discussions, and offering value to their network, they can position themselves as trusted advisors in their field.

3. Active Listening and Engagement

Active listening on social media involves keeping a close eye on industry trends, prospect challenges, and conversations. By doing so, sales representatives can gain valuable insights into their potential client’s needs and friction points. They can then participate in these conversations, offering solutions and advice which subtly highlight the value of what they are offering.

On top of that, engaging with existing customers can also boost social selling efforts. Happy customers are likely to become brand advocates, and their positive testimonials can influence potential customers in the network.

4. Building and Nurturing Relationships

At its core, social selling is about relationship building. It’s about moving away from the old idea of sales as a transactional approach instead of embracing a more relational, customer-centric one. This involves nurturing relationships with prospects over time, offering consistent value, and fostering trust. It is not a one-and-done strategy.

By adopting a long-term view, sales representatives can build a loyal customer base that brings repeat business and expands their network through referrals. In essence, social selling transforms the sales process into a cycle of value creation and relationship building, leading to sustainable growth.

5. Developing a Social Selling Program

For businesses looking to implement social selling, developing a structured program that provides their sales team with the necessary training and resources is crucial. It could involve training sessions on personal branding, workshops on using social media tools, or guidelines on engaging with prospects online.

Furthermore, setting clear goals and tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) can help assess the effectiveness of the social selling program and help businesses make necessary adjustments. For instance, LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index (SSI) provides a valuable metric for measuring the impact of social selling efforts.

Social Selling: A Revolutionary Approach

Ultimately, social selling marks a significant shift in the sales world. By leveraging the power of social media, it transforms sales from the old elevator pitch into a two-way conversation. It empowers sales representatives to be more than just sellers; they become trusted advisors, thought leaders, and relationship builders. As digital interactions dominate the business landscape, mastering the art of social selling becomes ever more crucial.

Organizations can employ a more targeted approach by differentiating social selling from employee advocacy. Each strategy has its benefits and strengths, which can help businesses formulate a more effective and comprehensive digital marketing strategy.

Empowering Employee Advocacy on Social Media

Employee advocacy can be an extremely potent marketing tool when harnessed correctly. It gives your brand a more authentic voice, expands your reach, and strengthens your online presence. However, employee advocacy isn’t something that can be forced. It must be cultivated with care, fostering a genuine desire in your employees to advocate for your brand. There are some very effective strategies to achieve this:

1. Foster a Positive Company Culture

The most important thing to remember is employees are more likely to advocate for a brand they are proud to be a part of. Creating a positive and inclusive company culture is essential to success. This includes transparent communication, fair compensation, providing opportunities for professional growth, recognizing and appreciating employees’ contributions, and fostering a sense of belonging.

2. Communicate the Importance of Advocacy

It’s crucial to clearly articulate why employee advocacy matters. Show your team how their contribution on social media can positively impact the brand’s growth and professional stature. Use examples of successful employee advocacy to illustrate your point and encourage employees to join in the effort to elevate the brand.

3. Provide Relevant Content and Guidelines

It is crucial to equip your employees with various shareable content they can quickly post on their social media profiles. This can be done through a content library, regular newsletters, or a dedicated internal platform. The content should be informative, engaging, and aligned with your brand’s voice and values.

Make sure you provide clear guidelines on what content is appropriate to share and what is not. This will give them the confidence to share without worrying about crossing any lines.

4. Encourage Personal Branding

Support your employees in developing their personal brand online. This benefits them professionally and boosts the authenticity of their posts about your brand. Host workshops on personal branding and provide resources to help them manage their online presence effectively.

5. Recognize and Reward Advocacy

Regularly acknowledge and appreciate the employees who actively advocate for your brand. This could be a shout-out in a team meeting, a company newsletter feature, or tangible rewards like bonuses and other incentives. The goal is to make them feel valued for their contributions and motivate others to join in advocating for the brand.

6. Use Advocacy Platforms

Numerous employee advocacy platforms are available designed to simplify content sharing for employees. These platforms can help create, manage, and track employee advocacy campaigns, making it easier for your team to participate.

7. Lead by Example

Lastly, business leaders should lead by example. When the management actively shares and advocates the brand on social media, it sends a powerful message to the rest of the team.

Inspiring Employee Advocacy: Beyond the Basics

After establishing a solid foundation for employee advocacy, businesses can take additional steps to maintain this momentum and continuously encourage their employees to become more engaged and committed advocates. Here’s how:

1. Open Up Channels for Feedback

Encourage your employees to share their ideas and insights about your brand’s social media activities. This can be done through regular meetings, online surveys, or a dedicated feedback channel on your internal communication platform. Doing so not only gives your employees a sense of ownership but also provides you with valuable insights from those who know your company best.

2. Continuous Training and Development

Regular training sessions can keep your employees updated on social media trends, online etiquette, and effective communication techniques. Provide resources on creating engaging posts, using hashtags effectively, and maintaining a professional online presence. Furthermore, consider offering training on digital literacy and online security to ensure your employees feel confident and safe online.

3. Build a Community of Advocates

Foster a sense of camaraderie among your employees by creating a community where they can share their successes, challenges, and best practices in advocacy. It can be a dedicated group on your internal communication platform or even regular meetups. Encourage peer-to-peer learning and celebrate the collective achievements of this community.

4. Ensure a Seamless Sharing Process

Make it easy for your employees to share your brand’s content. Doing so could involve integrating your employee advocacy platform with their social media accounts, providing pre-made social media posts, or even creating a mobile app for advocacy. The less time and effort it takes to share content, the more likely your employees will do it consistently.

5. Include Employee Voices in Your Content

Featuring your employees in your brand’s content, such as blog posts, videos, and social media posts, can make them feel more connected to your brand and more likely to share the content. It can also humanize your brand, making it more relatable to your audience.

6. Monitor and Evolve Your Advocacy Program

Regularly evaluate the performance of your employee advocacy program to identify what’s working and what’s not. Use social media analytics to measure your employees’ advocacy efforts’ reach, engagement, and impact. Based on these insights, continuously update and refine your program to ensure it remains effective and engaging for your employees.

Fostering an effective employee advocacy program is an ongoing process that requires commitment, creativity, and continuous adaptation. By implementing these strategies, businesses can nurture an environment that promotes active employee advocacy. This amplifies their brand presence on social media and strengthens the sense of community within the team, leading to increased employee engagement and satisfaction. Effective employee advocacy is about fostering a culture where employees feel genuinely enthusiastic about representing and promoting their brand.

Strategies like social selling and employee advocacy are becoming increasingly important as the digital landscape evolves. They each provide unique ways to connect and engage with audiences, foster meaningful relationships, and amplify a brand’s presence online. These strategies represent a more human and relationship-driven approach to sales and marketing, reflecting the shift in customer expectations in the digital age.

By understanding and effectively implementing social selling and employee advocacy, organizations will stay ahead of the competition in this new, fast-paced digital world and create a more trustworthy, relatable, and engaging brand image. Remember – these tips are not meant to be a quick fix to your business but rather a long-term commitment requiring you to constantly put in the extra effort while remaining authentic and adaptable. 

It is not all about selling your product or promoting your brand but, more importantly, creating value, nurturing relationships, and making a positive impact in your customers’ lives. These human connections truly drive business success in the digital age.

Remember, the key to success lies not just in implementing these strategies but also in balancing them. So, strike a balance, harness their collective power, and watch your business reach new heights in the digital landscape.

Embrace the change, harness the power of social selling and employee advocacy, and step into a future of limitless possibilities.

Key Takeaways for Employee Advocacy: How to Boost Your Company’s Social Media Presence

These key takeaways highlight the importance of understanding and leveraging the power of social selling and employee advocacy in the digital landscape to drive sales, amplify brand presence, and foster meaningful relationships with customers and employees.

Here are key points to remember:

  • Social selling is about leveraging social media networks to build relationships and drive sales by focusing on personal, one-to-one interactions throughout the sales journey.
  • Employee advocacy harnesses the power of employees’ social media presence to boost brand visibility and create a more approachable and engaging image.
  • To effectively utilize social selling, empower sales teams through training programs, encouraging them to share valuable content, participate in relevant discussions, and engage authentically with prospects.
  • Empower employee advocacy by fostering positive company culture, communicating its importance, providing relevant content and guidelines, encouraging personal branding, and recognizing and rewarding advocacy efforts.

How Can We Help?

Finding the time to build and execute a paid B2B social media strategy can be daunting. At Vende Digital we help B2B organizations like you to develop sound strategies to grow on social media.

Tired of struggling on your own?

Schedule a complimentary discovery call with our team to see how we can amplify your social media advertising campaigns to win more customers.

UX Checklist 2024

B2B UX Checklist for 2024

B2B Topics

Demand Generation

AI for Marketing

Content Marketing

Analytics & Attribution


Social Marketing

Online Advertising

Digital Strategy

Email Marketing

Marketing Automation

Paid Social

PPC / SEM Marketing

Website UX