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Why Your Employee Advocacy Program Needs Storytelling

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Check out Stories Inc.’s newest course for employee advocacy program leaders and ambassadors: Building Your Confidence as an Employee Brand Ambassador.

Years ago I was a recruiter in a large professional services firm. Scrolling through LinkedIn one day, I saw several of my peers posting company updates. And they were all the same update. I was intrigued and a little confused. 

Where were they getting this information and why was it all the same?

I asked around and was introduced to the company’s new employee advocacy tool (the technology behind all those posts.)

Throughout the last decade, employee advocacy programs have become a key strategy to enhance a company’s own marketing and branding efforts by using groups of employee influencers. And for good reason.

Employee advocacy programs have very compelling ROI, helping with:

  • Increased brand visibility
  • Higher levels of engagement with branding efforts
  • Building trust with talent
  • Driving employee engagement

But there is a downside to some of the structure and technology behind employee advocacy programs: They can create social media robots.

When every employee ambassador is sharing the same company post without any of their own story or perspective, the message becomes diluted. Their network may not understand why a post matters, leaving them perplexed at what action they should take. Or even worse, completely scrolling past the post without a second glance. 

Employee advocacy tools alone aren’t enough

It makes sense why an employee ambassador would share a post without adding anything else. 

First, they’re busy. Posting on social media isn’t their full-time job and they’re balancing helping the company with protecting their time to do their real job. 

Second, they probably don’t know how. Crafting a social media message that is relevant to a professional audience is different than creating a fun caption for your latest vacation pictures on Instagram.

These two factors together create an underwhelming, if predictable outcome: well-intentioned ambassadors taking the safe route by re-sharing pre-approved company posts. 

So, employee advocacy program leaders are left scratching their heads to figure out how to create better ROI from the tools they’ve invested in and maintain an effective level of engagement amongst ambassadors. 

The answer to better employee advocacy is employee storytelling

Building a strong employee ambassador group requires training on how to use an employee advocacy tool, but how to also share their stories in a meaningful way. This looks like:

  • Telling ambassadors what’s in it for them and training them on the basics of engaging professionally on social media.
  • Helping a core group of employee influencers craft their stories so there are examples for others to see.
  • Showing ambassadors how to connect company messages to their own work, interests, passions, and experiences. No more robots!
  • Sharing storytelling techniques they can replicate again and again so their posts give real insight into their specific experiences.
  • Providing encouragement and positive reinforcement.

Doing these things can help ambassadors feel more confident on social media and that confidence will turn into more frequent—and better—posts. 

This in turn creates more engagement with their posts, which increases the effectiveness of your employee advocacy program. Win-win.

A year or so after I noticed my peers’ LinkedIn updates, I was in a role where I had the chance to build a social training program for some of our brand ambassadors. And a few years later, I’m now designing a course with my Stories Incorporated teammates to help build confidence on social for any employee brand ambassador.

It’s about building a personal brand but it’s also about:

  • How to tell a meaningful story
  • How to use images and videos to bring your stories to life
  • Learning what makes great content so social media algorithms push it to the right people

We’re putting the finishing touches our Build Your Confidence as an Employee Brand Ambassador course right now and you can be the first to know when it launches in the coming weeks. Join me on the journey to no more employee social robots!