Strengthen Your B2B Brand: The Essential Guide to LinkedIn Employee Advocacy

Author's avatar Marketing UPDATED Jun 21, 2023 PUBLISHED Jun 29, 2023 20 minutes read

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    Peter Caputa

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    The digital world is an ever-changing battlefield, and attention is one of the most important objectives. 

    The constant evolution of social media means that companies must continually seek ways to capture their audience’s attention. They must strive to expand their reach and build their brand presence. 

    One effective and powerful strategy to draw attention to themselves and keep it is employee advocacy. LinkedIn, as the premier social platform for businesses, allows them to harness the power of their employees’ networks to create trust, increase brand awareness, and boost engagement. 

    By encouraging employees to share company news, updates, and thought leadership content, organizations can tap into new markets and maximize their credibility. After all, do you trust a faceless company account or someone you might even know who’s sharing a relatable story?

    To help you with your branding efforts, we’ve examined this topic, and we’ll discuss its benefits and offer practical tips for structuring and executing a successful LinkedIn employee advocacy program.

    Let’s dig in!

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    LinkedIn Company Page Benchmarks for B2B Companies

    In a recent survey, we gathered responses from 36 professionals working in marketing, digital media, or as consultants for B2B companies. The majority (58.33%) were from marketing, digital, or media agencies working with B2B clients, while 41.67% represented B2B services or product companies. With the valuable insights provided by these respondents combined with Databox Benchmarks data, we can better understand the effectiveness and impact of LinkedIn employee advocacy programs for B2B organizations.

    Our research shows that few companies have a large number of home page views or new followers. In fact, the top quartile dwarfs the first and second by a significant margin.

    According to LinkedIn Company Page Benchmarks for B2B Companies, the number of Company Home Page Views during May 2023 was 350. The disparity between top-performing companies and the median suggests that there is considerable variation in the visibility and engagement levels of B2B companies on LinkedIn.

    company home page views on Linkedin

    The data from the LinkedIn Company Page Benchmarks for B2B Companies, which consists of 150 contributors, shows that the number of New Followers a Company Page got during May 2023 was 59, while the bottom quartile gained 15 or fewer new followers. However, the top quartile managed to attract 161 new followers during the same period. This wide gulf highlights the varying success of B2B companies in expanding their audience on the platform.

    New Followers linkedin benchmarks

    If you are a B2B company and want to compare your company’s LinkedIn page performance against competitors and peers, join our benchmark group for free.

    What is Employee Advocacy on LinkedIn? 

    Employee advocacy on LinkedIn refers to the process of employees promoting their company’s brand, products, or services through their personal LinkedIn profiles. By sharing company-related content, engaging with other users, and participating in discussions, employees can help increase brand awareness, drive organic social traffic, and connect with new prospects. Employee advocacy is a powerful marketing strategy that leverages the trust and credibility of individual employees to amplify a brand’s reach and message on LinkedIn.

    Why Is Employee Advocacy Important for B2Bs

    Employee advocacy is particularly important for B2B companies, as they often face unique challenges in marketing their products and services. Unlike B2C businesses, B2Bs must target a more niche audience and establish trust and credibility in a highly competitive landscape. Employee advocacy on LinkedIn can help B2B organizations overcome these challenges and unlock numerous benefits:

    • Expanding reach: B2B companies often have a smaller target audience than B2C companies, making it crucial to reach as many potential clients as possible. By leveraging employee networks on LinkedIn, B2Bs can tap into new markets and expand their reach beyond what their company page alone could achieve.
    • Building trust and credibility: Establishing trust is critical for B2B organizations, as their customers typically make high-stakes purchasing decisions that can have a significant impact on their businesses. When employees share their expertise, insights, and company-related content on LinkedIn, they contribute to building trust and credibility for the organization.
    • Driving high-quality leads: B2B sales cycles are often longer and more complex than B2C sales cycles, so generating high-quality leads is essential. Employee advocacy can help attract better-qualified leads by showcasing the company’s thought leadership, industry expertise, and unique selling points through content shared by employees.
    • Strengthening company culture: An employee advocacy program can foster a sense of unity and pride among employees, leading to a stronger company culture. As employees become more engaged with their company’s brand and values, they’re likely to become more invested in the organization’s success.
    • Attracting and retaining top talent: A successful employee advocacy program not only boosts the company’s image externally but also helps attract and retain top talent. Showcasing the expertise and achievements of employees on LinkedIn can make the company more appealing to potential hires and help retain current employees who feel valued and recognized for their contributions.
    • Cost-effective marketing: B2B marketing can be expensive, especially when using traditional advertising methods or sponsored content on platforms like LinkedIn. Employee advocacy allows companies to increase their visibility and reach with minimal financial investment, leveraging the organic reach of their employees’ networks.

    Types of Employee Advocacy

    Employee advocacy can be utilized in various ways to support a company’s objectives. While there are many potential applications, two primary types of employee advocacy are commonly employed by B2B organizations: attracting new business and attracting new talent.

    Attracting New Business

    Employee advocacy can play a crucial role in generating leads and attracting new business for B2B companies. By sharing company-related content, industry insights, and thought leadership pieces, employees can showcase their organization’s expertise and credibility, making it more appealing to potential clients. Here are some ways employee advocacy can be leveraged to attract new business:

    Sharing company news and updates: Employees can share news about product launches, company milestones, or industry awards, demonstrating the organization’s growth and accomplishments.

    Sharing thought leadership content: Employees can position themselves as industry experts by sharing insightful articles, blog posts, or whitepapers that address common pain points or offer valuable solutions for potential clients.

    Participating in online discussions: By engaging in conversations on LinkedIn groups or commenting on relevant posts, employees can showcase their knowledge and contribute to the larger industry dialogue, which can lead to new business opportunities.

    Connecting with prospects: Employees can leverage their networks to connect with potential clients, creating a warmer introduction than a cold outreach attempt.

    Attracting New Talent

    Another key aspect of employee advocacy is its potential to help companies attract and retain top talent. As employees share their experiences, achievements, and knowledge on LinkedIn, they help create a positive image of the company as a desirable workplace. Here are some ways employee advocacy can be used to attract new talent:

    Sharing company culture and values: Employees can showcase the company’s culture and values by sharing behind-the-scenes content, such as team events, community involvement initiatives, or internal celebrations.

    Highlighting professional development opportunities: By sharing their own professional growth stories or spotlighting training programs, employees can demonstrate the company’s commitment to supporting employee development and growth.

    Showcasing employee achievements: Employees can celebrate their colleagues’ accomplishments, such as promotions, awards, or successful project completions, illustrating the company’s recognition and appreciation of its team members.

    Participating in industry events and discussions: By attending industry events, engaging in online discussions, and sharing their expertise, employees can help position the company as a thought leader and an attractive employer in their respective fields.

    Related: The Most Effective Way of Marketing a Company on Linkedin: 7 Tried & True Tips from Experts

    What are the Benefits of Employee Advocacy for B2B Companies?

    Employee advocacy offers a wide range of benefits for B2B companies across various aspects of their business, from marketing and sales to recruiting. By encouraging employees to engage with and share content related to their company, B2B organizations can leverage the power of their employees’ networks to drive better results in these areas.

    Marketing

    • Increased brand awareness: When employees share company-related content on LinkedIn, they help increase the visibility of the brand. This expands the company’s reach and helps create a stronger brand presence in the industry.
    • Improved brand perception: Employee advocacy can contribute to a more positive brand image, as content shared by employees often feels more genuine and authentic compared to traditional advertising.
    • Amplified content reach: Employees have unique connections and networks on LinkedIn, which means that when they share content, they expose the company to a wider audience than it could achieve through its official channels alone.

    Related: The Most Effective Linkedin Marketing Strategies According to 30 Marketers

    Sales

    • Shortened sales cycle: Employee advocacy can help build trust with prospects, making it easier for sales teams to move leads through the sales funnel more quickly.
    • Enhanced credibility: By sharing thought leadership content and engaging in industry discussions, employees can position themselves and their company as experts in the field, which can lead to more qualified leads and closed deals.
    • Warm introductions: Employees can use their networks to connect with potential clients, creating a more personal introduction and increasing the likelihood of a successful sales conversation.

    Related: 11 Tips for Using LinkedIn Sales Navigator to Improve Your Prospecting

    Recruiting

    • Improved talent attraction: Employee advocacy can help showcase the company’s culture, values, and growth opportunities, making it more appealing to potential job candidates.
    • Increased employee referrals: Employees who are engaged in advocacy efforts are more likely to recommend their company to others in their network, leading to an influx of high-quality candidates.
    • Enhanced employer brand: By sharing their positive experiences and achievements, employees can help create a more attractive employer brand, which can ultimately result in reduced recruitment costs and higher employee retention rates.

    How Many B2Bs Have a LinkedIn Employee Advocacy Program in Place?

    A significant number of B2B companies recognize the value of having a LinkedIn employee advocacy program in place. According to our survey, 86.11% of respondents indicated that their company has a LinkedIn advocacy program, while only 11.11% stated they do not have one. A small percentage, 2.78%, were unsure about the existence of such a program within their organization.

    This demonstrates not only that the majority of B2B companies have recognized the importance of employee advocacy on LinkedIn but that they’re also actively leveraging their employees’ networks to improve their marketing, sales, and recruiting efforts.

    How Many B2Bs Have a LinkedIn Employee Advocacy Program in Place?

    In terms of the duration of their LinkedIn advocacy programs, 48% of respondents have been running their programs for a couple of years (between 2 and 5 years), while 40% have been doing it for about one year or less. A smaller percentage, 12%, has been at it for more than five years.

    duration of LinkedIn advocacy programs in the B2B space

    This graphic shows that LinkedIn employee advocacy has gained considerable traction among B2B companies in recent years, with many having implemented such programs within the last five years. It suggests that organizations are increasingly recognizing the value of employee advocacy on LinkedIn and investing resources into developing and maintaining these programs.

    How to Create a Successful LinkedIn Advocacy Program for B2B

    Creating a successful LinkedIn advocacy program for your B2B company involves several key steps. Here are some guidelines to help you build an effective program that benefits both your company and employees:

    Define Your Goals

    Before launching a LinkedIn employee advocacy program, it’s essential to define your company’s primary goals for the initiative. Understanding your goals will help you shape the program’s structure and measure its success.

    LinkedIn Advocacy Program Goals for B2B

    For our respondents, awareness is the most common goal, with almost half of them saying it’s their primary goal. The runner-up is lead generation at 20%, followed by positioning at 15% and reputation management at 11%. Sales ranks surprisingly low at 8%.

    Gather the Necessary Resources 

    To create an effective LinkedIn advocacy program, you need to establish the right channels for communication and gain buy-in from leaders. Encourage executives to actively participate in the program, as this will set a positive example for other employees and demonstrate the importance of the initiative.

    Build Your Content Curation Team

    Creating a content curation team is crucial for ensuring that employees have access to high-quality content to share on LinkedIn. This team should be responsible for selecting relevant articles, updates, and thought leadership pieces that align with the company’s objectives and branding.

    practices companies incorporate into their LinkedIn advocacy programs

    According to our survey, companies incorporate a variety of practices into their LinkedIn advocacy programs. The most important points include encouraging employees to actively engage with others on LinkedIn, interact with people who comment on their posts, and share curated company content to ensure consistent brand messaging.

    Requirements like having an active account for a certain period of time and a minimum number of followers, ensure that participants have a well-established presence and a wider reach. Providing employees with content and guidelines on posting frequency also promotes regular content sharing and engagement with their network.

    Launch the Employee Advocacy Program

    Once you’ve defined your goals, gathered the necessary resources, and built a content curation team, you can launch your LinkedIn employee advocacy program. Onboard employees by providing them with clear guidelines and expectations, and offer resources to help them create engaging content. Regularly monitor the program’s progress, analyze its success, and adjust your strategy as needed to optimize results.

    Should You Make Your LinkedIn Advocacy Program Mandatory?

    Deciding whether to make your LinkedIn advocacy program mandatory for employees is a significant consideration for companies. The decision should take into account company culture, employee engagement, and the overall goals of the program.

    Should You Make Your LinkedIn Advocacy Program Mandatory?

    Over a third of our respondents (38.46%) say their LinkedIn advocacy programs are mandatory for their employees. While that approach is seeing a widespread adoption rate, it’s still not too common, with over half saying the program is not mandatory.

    Additionally, out of all surveyed companies, only 45% of employees participate in their LinkedIn advocacy programs.

    what % of employees participate in LinkedIn advocacy programs?

    Pros of Making the Program Mandatory

    Making employee advocacy programs mandatory ensures a consistent level of participation, which can lead to a more significant impact on the company’s LinkedIn presence. 

    It also promotes a unified company image and message, as more employees will be sharing and engaging with the curated content. 

    The structured approach can be an additional boon, as employees will be able to follow clear guidelines and expectations without worrying they’ll make a mistake.

    Cons of Making the Program Mandatory

    Of course, it’s not all fun and games. Making this type of program mandatory may create resistance among employees who feel pressured to participate, which could negatively impact their engagement and enthusiasm. 

    The risk of inauthentic engagement is also a factor. Some employees may share content without genuine interest or understanding, potentially diluting the company’s message. 

    Another issue is that it the program could end up with the same content and perspectives, as employees may feel constrained by the mandatory requirements.

    4 Expert Tips for Running a Successful B2B LinkedIn Advocacy Program

    After creating the initial plan, you just have to ensure it’s sustainable. Easy right? Well, not quite. 

    Implementing and sustaining a successful B2B LinkedIn advocacy program requires a well-thought-out strategy and continuous improvement. To help you with this, we’ve gathered some expert tips from industry professionals.

    1. Provide training and support for employees participating in the program

    Chris Wilks from BrandExtract emphasizes the importance of letting the advocacy program happen organically, while still providing some basic training for employees. “We convey the importance and the benefits of being active on LinkedIn and align that with employee goals and outcomes.”

    Similarly, Andre Oentoro from Breadnbeyond explains that their digital marketing team organizes the LinkedIn advocacy program and provides training and support to help employees become effective advocates for their brand.

    2. Establish a feedback loop with advocates

    Andrew Ruditser from Maxburst highlights the importance of fostering open communication and collaboration with advocates to continually refine the strategy and content. Ruditser regularly monitors the performance of the advocacy program, analyzing key metrics to measure its impact and identify areas for improvement.

    “By fostering a supportive environment, providing valuable content, and maintaining open communication with my advocates, I was able to create a successful LinkedIn advocacy program that contributed positively to our brand’s online presence and overall marketing goals.”

    Andrew Ruditser

    Andrew Ruditser

    Co-Founder & Lead Technology Coordinator at MAXBURST

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    3. Dedicate time to training and discussing strategies

    Hannah Lydford from Headley Media shares that they dedicate a portion of their weekly sales meeting to training and discussing their LinkedIn advocacy strategy for the week ahead. This helps the team gain confidence and understand different engagement strategies, such as commenting and connecting.

    4. Identify key employees with a strong personal brand

    Michael Maximoff from Belkins believes that LinkedIn Advocacy works well when businesses engage with employees who are actively part of their online brand. “Everyone has the ability to foster company growth by leveraging nothing but their own personal brand, which is why LinkedIn Advocacy works so well.”

    Damian Sałkowski from Senuto also suggests making the first step identifying employees who are active on LinkedIn and have a strong personal brand that aligns with the company values. Salkowski also emphasizes the importance of training and support. The company provides clear guidelines on content, brand voice, and tone, as well as offers incentives and recognition for employees who consistently engage in the advocacy program and produce high-quality content that resonates with the audience.

    “We provide ongoing support through regular check-ins and feedback sessions to ensure that our employees feel supported and have the resources they need to succeed. We also offer incentives and recognition for employees who consistently engage in the advocacy program and produce high-quality content that resonates with our audience. Overall, by providing clear guidelines, training, and support, we are able to effectively organize our LinkedIn advocacy program and empower our employees to become effective brand ambassadors for our company. This not only helps us increase our reach and engagement on LinkedIn but also helps to build our overall brand awareness and reputation.”

    Damian Sałkowski

    Damian Sałkowski

    CEO & Founder at Senuto

    Want to get highlighted in our next report? Become a contributor now

    How to Measure the Success of Your LinkedIn Advocacy Program?

    Measuring the success of your LinkedIn advocacy program is crucial to ensure its effectiveness and making necessary adjustments for continuous improvement. Here are some methods and insights shared by industry experts on how they measure the success of their LinkedIn advocacy programs:

    Leads and Sales

    Jeremy Dawes from Jezweb mentions that the company measures the success of its advocacy program by tracking the number of leads generated and the impact on the bottom line. Monitoring the number of sales generated through the program provides valuable insights into its effectiveness.

    Related: How to Measure the Success of Your LinkedIn Company Page: Best Practices from 50 Marketing Pros

    Newsletter Subscribers and InMail Messages

    Moses Gomes shares that DocMode Health Technologies measures success by monitoring the increase in subscribers for their LinkedIn newsletter and the number of InMail messages received from customers interested in their services.

    Connection Request Acceptance and Message Reply Rates

    Hannah Lydford from Headley Media states that their primary metrics for measuring success are connection request acceptance and message reply rates. As their program is primarily used by their Sales team, they find these metrics tend to increase the more active their Sales team is on LinkedIn, particularly when it comes to posting and commenting on other people’s posts.

    Social Shares and Conversion Rates

    Donnie Rand from the American Association of Owner Operators highlights the importance of tracking social shares and conversion rates. The company has gained a considerable following and seen an increase in engagement rates after implementing its advocacy program.

    Page Follower Growth

    Ryan Cassidy from Triangle House Hunter keeps track of the number of followers their page gains over time. This helps the company measure the effectiveness of its advocacy efforts and understand how its content resonates with the target audience.

    Employee Engagement and Page Views

    Troy Shaffer from Blu Corporate Housing measures success by determining the percentage of employees actively engaged and regularly sharing their content. The company has seen positive results, with page views doubling due to the advocacy program.

    LinkedIn Marketing Dashboard Template by Databox

    Enhance Your LinkedIn Employee Advocacy Strategy with Databox

    In the competitive B2B landscape, leveraging platforms like LinkedIn and strategies like employee advocacy is essential for brand awareness, lead generation, and talent acquisition. 

    By implementing a well-structured advocacy program, your company can amplify its online presence, nurture relationships, and drive business growth. Measuring the success of your advocacy program is just as important as its execution to ensure you’re consistently making improvements and maximizing its effectiveness.

    Of course, measuring said success is when things get tricky. You need to decide which metrics are relevant to you, track them effectively, and ensure you’re not confusing correlation and causation.

    Databox can help you take your LinkedIn employee advocacy to the next level. As a powerful analytics and data visualization platform, it allows you to track and measure the success of your strategy by consolidating essential metrics from various sources into one centralized dashboard.

    With its user-friendly interface, you’ll be able to monitor your progress, gain insights, and make data-driven decisions to optimize the performance of your program.

    Ready to unlock the full potential of your LinkedIn advocacy program? Sign up for a forever-free program today and start making informed decisions for better results!

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    Article by
    Davor Štefanović

    Davor is an English literature graduate and an avid reader with a passion for languages. Working as a translator, editor, and writer has allowed him to learn about a wide range of topics — making him something of a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to content. In his spare time, he reads, plays video games and boardgames, and runs/plays tabletop RPGs.

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