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How To Create a LinkedIn Employee Advocacy Program



How To Create a LinkedIn Employee Advocacy Program

People buy from people, not companies. That’s why your brand’s employee advocacy on LinkedIn can be a powerful and effective form of marketing.

The benefits are many for your brand as well as individual employees. Their LinkedIn advocacy can:

  • Help build their personal brands.
  • Drive traffic to your company’s LinkedIn page and website.
  • Establish them as subject matter experts.
  • Lead to invitations for guest appearances on podcasts, LinkedIn Live streams, and other events.
  • Capture customers at the top of the funnel.
  • Drive deals down the pipeline.
  • Win and close deals.

An employee advocacy program on @LinkedIn can be a powerful and effective form of marketing, says Emily Brady of @SweetFishMedia via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

With all those positive outcomes, an employee advocacy program on LinkedIn makes sense for most brands targeting a business-focused audience. Now comes the harder part – organizing the program.

How to structure an employee advocacy program on LinkedIn

Step 1: Get leadership on board

Employee advocacy on LinkedIn is a long play. Secure executive buy-in by encouraging them to do it first-hand. Ask or help them post consistently on LinkedIn for at least 60 days. If they can grow their following, connections, and engagement, they might see the value in implementing an employee advocacy program companywide.

Secure executive support first. Ask them to post for 60 days and see the growth in followers, connections, and engagement, says Emily Brady of @SweetFishMedia via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet


Step 2: Choose a channel champion

You’re going to need someone to oversee this operation. You can hire a social media specialist or assign it to someone on the content marketing team well versed in LinkedIn.

The channel champion creates the strategy and owns the results of the program. Among their possible responsibilities:

  • Onboarding employees through one-on-one personal branding meetings
  • Working with each evangelist to document their personal brand strategy detailing their content pillars
  • Creating written and video training resources to teach employees posting and engagement strategies on LinkedIn
  • Curating an archive of company content categorized by job function
  • Leading monthly training workshops

Every employee advocacy program needs a champion who develops the strategy and helps members implement their own plans, says Emily Brady of @SweetFishMedia via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Step 3: Document program requirements

Outlining the expectations of employees, in the beginning, can help them make an educated decision on whether they should or can participate. Then, when they sign up for the program, they know the commitment.

The requirements for an employee advocacy program on LinkedIn might look like this:

  • Be active for at least one quarter.
  • Post three to five times a week.
  • Engage with people who comment on the post.
  • Actively engage with others on LinkedIn.
  • Agree to promote curated company content.

At this stage, you also should document the do’s and don’ts — the guidelines outlining what is acceptable to post, what is inappropriate to post, and what are the best practices.

Step 4: Onboard employees

The channel champion should invite employees who opted into the program to an onboarding meeting. That conversation should help define their content topics, personal brand, positioning, and LinkedIn workflow. Often, people are overwhelmed at the possibilities and appreciate having someone facilitate the process to help identify their content pillars.

How to motivate employees to post on LinkedIn

Just signing up and having a one-on-one meeting isn’t enough to motivate your employee advocates to start posting and stay involved. They may lack the confidence and/or the capacity to execute. To help, consider these tips:

1. Identify their why

People need internal motivation. “Because it’s good for the company” usually is not a sufficient motivator for a person. By learning their personal reasons for joining the advocacy program, you can better identify the corresponding benefits, such as:

  • Increased awareness of their existence and expertise
  • Recognition as a go-to expert in the industry
  • Participation in a community of thought leaders with whom they can learn and collaborate
  • Portfolio of the content they create

2. Educate them about the benefits for their employer

While helping the company may not be their only motivator, it makes sense that they want their employer to succeed. Share how the company could benefit by detailing how it can increase brand awareness, shorten the sales cycle, and increase talent attraction and retention.

NOTE: This tip intentionally comes after personal motivation. Companies usually struggle to get participation on LinkedIn because they make it about the business, not the employees.

3. Check in frequently

Dedicate a Slack channel or another communication tool in your company just for the employee advocates. Invite them to share their posts, questions, and wins.

Share analytics weekly to show which posts resonate and which might benefit from improvements.

Once a month, have a one-on-one check-in meeting with advocates who may be struggling.

4. Provide assistance resources

When you share videos, articles, or training sessions about how to create good content, employees are more likely to get active on the platform.

In the onboarding, incorporate internal training videos and documents on personal branding and LinkedIn best practices.

Every week, share editorial calendar prompts, curated content, or educational LinkedIn posts in your work dashboard.

Every month, schedule a LinkedIn training workshop, a live brainstorm session, and/or one-on-one meetings to go over their content strategies.

5. Celebrate

A sense of belonging is a huge factor in a successful employee advocacy program. Celebrating wins reinforces that camaraderie. Commend employees individually and highlight their results on your internal communication channel. You also can praise them on LinkedIn.

How to measure success

Success can be difficult to measure. You can look at their profile views, connections, and following. If those numbers are rising, their personal brand is growing – and likely impacting the company’s brand, too.

Also, encourage employees to share things like direct messages and replies, invitations to guest on podcasts, virtual events, etc., and reshares and mentions. You could set up a tracker to record them if you want to compare and contrast with others in the program.

You also can assess individual posts to better understand if they’re having an impact on thought leadership. For example, a post with a large number of comments indicates the employee is giving valuable insight into creating and engaging in meaningful conversations. If the reshare number is high, your employees are saying something that resonates with or helps someone.

You can use a tool like HubSpot to attribute deals won or closed to LinkedIn activity though it’s a lagging indicator.

How others are doing it

Here are a few B2B companies that do employee advocacy really well:

Chili Piper’s company social profiles have seen impressive growth in recent years thanks to their employee social advocacy enablement.

How do they do it? They encourage employees to post about whatever they want. They created a #Chili-Love Slack channel to help amplify each other’s posts, and they do periodic “social takeovers” to promote new content, product launches, company news, and more.

Gong used LinkedIn employee advocacy to grow eight times in a little over two years. They post consistently and focus on providing valuable content over securing marketing-qualified leads.

How do they do it? Gong hires outstanding talent who want to post, their C-suite leads by example, and their social media team makes it easy with internal comms and writing prompts.

Chris Walker and his Refine Labs team of employees are known for the value-added content each provides via their personal accounts on LinkedIn.

How do they do it? All Refine Labs teammates go through a LinkedIn Accelerator training during onboarding. Chris hosts office hours where he helps people dial in their personal strategies. They host competitions around experimenting with new channels like LinkedIn or TikTok and give prizes and awards people actually want.

Here are some other brands sharing details about their employee advocacy programs: Angelpoint, Dreamdata, and our team at Sweet Fish Media.

Get the benefits of employee advocacy

One of, if not the most, efficient and cost-effective ways for companies to build their brands and drive revenue growth is through employee advocacy on social media. Why? Your employees are individuals who are more likely to earn trust and gain credibility from your audience in a way that a brand name never could.

All tools mentioned in the article are identified by the author. If you have a tool to share, please add it in the comments.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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State of Content Marketing in 2023



State of Content Marketing in 2023

I just pressed send on the manuscript for my book to be released in September. It’s called Content Marketing Strategy (snappy, eh?), and Kogan Page will publish it.

Last week, marketing professor Philip Kotler wrote the foreword. I won’t spoil it, but he mentioned the need for a strategic approach to owned media.

He writes, “(T)he company doesn’t carry an account of showing these marketing assets and their value. As a result, the company cannot show the CEO and company board members a return on owned assets or content.”

Luckily, my upcoming book shows exactly how to do that. Funny how that works out.

In any event, all this struck me that now is an opportune time to look at where the beloved practice of content marketing stands today.

First, let’s go back to 1999 when Kotler published Kotler On Marketing, one of his more than 70 books. The latter 1990s – a time of tumultuous change – fueled most of the thinking for the book. But he knew that it was merely the beginning.

Kotler concluded the book with a section called “Transformational Marketing.”  In the next decade, he wrote, “marketing will be re-engineered from A to Z. Marketing will need to rethink fundamentally the processes by which they identify, communicate, and deliver customer value.”

Well, it’s taken over two decades, but it’s finally happening.

Consumers have changed, but marketing operations are just starting to

In case you didn’t notice, almost every marketing conference these days starts with the same four or five requisite slides:

  • Digital technologies, such as search and social media, empower consumers today.
  • Consumers research, engage, buy, and stay loyal to brands in ways that have fundamentally changed.
  • First-party data and privacy are of the utmost importance.
  • Artificial intelligence begins to threaten the idea of the usefulness of search and pressure companies to deliver better and more personalized experiences.

You get it. Consumer expectations in the age of the social, mobile, and AI-driven web are different than they were.

However, the continuing challenge in 2023 is that content and/or marketing operations in enterprise companies are only beginning to evolve. Most marketing departments have remained as they were when Kotler wrote his book — they still work from mid- to late-20th century hierarchies, strategies, and processes.

Most marketing departments still work with mid- to late-20th-century hierarchies, strategies, and processes, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Content marketing isn’t new, but a content marketing strategy is

For hundreds of years, businesses have used content to affect some kind of profitable outcome. But the reality is this: Whether it was John Deere’s The Furrow from the 1800s, Michelin’s guide to car maintenance in the early 1900s, or even Hasbro’s GI-Joe partnership with Marvel in the 1980s, content was not — and is not for the most part now — a scalable, repeatable practice within the function of marketing. In short, companies almost always treat content marketing as a project, not a process.

That fundamental change will finally take hold in 2023. It could happen because of the digital disruption and ease by which you can now publish and distribute content to aggregate your own audiences. It could happen through the natural evolution that the ultimate outcome – more than the marketing – matters more.

As we roll through 2023 and beyond, content — and the exponentially increasing quantities of it produced by every organization — deeply affects not just your marketing strategy, but your business strategy. Content in marketing is now bigger than simply content marketing, and it should be dealt with as a component of that business strategy throughout the enterprise.

#Content in marketing is bigger than #ContentMarketing. Treat it as a component of the business strategy, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

In 2023, the No. 1 focus of my consulting and advisory practice these days: help companies transform content into a repeatable, scalable, and measurable function that drives value through a multi-channel strategy. It’s bigger than publishing a blog, creating a lead-generating resource center, or sending an email newsletter. Today’s content marketing team is being absorbed into marketing because marketing and its various operations are fundamentally transforming into a content-producing machine.

It is not good enough to produce content “like a media company would.” The goal must be to operate as a media company does. Your job is not to change content to fit new marketing goals. Rather, your job in 2023 is to change marketing to fit the new business content goals.

Your job in 2023 is to change #marketing to fit the new business #content goals, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

The unaware builds a case for the aware

The term “content marketing” continues to evolve. Even today, I run across those who still call it “brand publishing,” “custom content,” or “inbound marketing.”

My take matches with what Kotler described in 1999. I always thought the term “content marketing” would become part of “marketing” more broadly. In 2023, that happened. So, returning to the lexiconic debates of 2013, 2014, or 2015 doesn’t seem terribly productive. Content marketing is just good marketing, and marketing is just good content marketing.

That said, two kinds of companies do well at the broader view of content marketing. Some of them, such as Cleveland Clinic, Red Bull, Arrow Electronics, HubSpot, and REI, have purposely devised content marketing strategies as differentiating approaches to their marketing. They are succeeding.

Others, like Amazon, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, and Peloton, backed into a smart content marketing strategy. But executives at those companies probably don’t recognize it as such. If asked (and some have been), they would say acquiring or launching a media company operation was just a smart business strategy to diversify their ability to reach their consumers consistently.

They’re right, of course. Many have yet to read books about content marketing, been influenced by the Content Marketing Institute, or even recognize content marketing as a separate approach (as far as I know). And they are also succeeding.

Consider this proof: As I write this article, six companies have a market capitalization of more than $1 trillion. Four of the six wholly or partially use the business model of media creation to further marketing and business strategies. Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Amazon are all, in part, media companies that also sell products and services.

Why would you not avail yourself of that same model?

The future looks cloudy and bright

As for the overall state of enterprise content marketing, it’s in transition, as all marketing is. As a focused project-based approach, working in ad-hoc ways across a business, content marketing appears to have proven its worth. Hundreds of entries every year to the Content Marketing Awards feature myriad case studies using content marketing techniques in strategic ways to profitably affect business results.

And yet, it remains to be seen whether you can make content marketing a scalable, repeatable, measurable function within marketing.

As to what the discipline’s future holds? At last year’s Content Marketing World, one of my favorite events, the Executive Forum gathered senior leaders from brands succeeding with content marketing. As we talked about the future, one participant said: “The only certainty is change. I can’t tell you where or when, but I do know there will be change, and this is the principle we build on now.”

As for my take, Kotler’s idea of transforming the marketing function seems to have gotten lost along the digital road traveled by marketers. In so many cases, marketing – and especially content – remains just an on-demand service function within the business. Its sole job is to produce ever more voluminous amounts of content that describe the value of the brand (or its products or services) so that sales can sell more efficiently, customer support can serve more effectively, and all manner of customer interfaces are more beneficial to both sides.

However, and maybe because I need to rationalize now that my book is finished, I passionately believe it’s finally time for marketing to reclaim its ability to create value — not just reflect it in the polished shine of your traditional products and services.

Almost 27 years ago today, Microsoft founder Bill Gates wrote an essay called Content is King. In it, he said that “(C)ontent is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”

It certainly was one of his more prescient moments. Nearly three decades later, his words have proven true. The essay title has become the rallying cry for thousands and thousands of entrepreneurs who now make their living on creating, managing, optimizing, and measuring content on the internet. (A Google search for “content is king” nets more than 1.7 million results.)

But it’s the last line of his essay that I find the most visionary: “(T)hose who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products – a marketplace of content.”

That’s what content marketing is for me in 2023. It’s just marketing – optimizing the value of ideas, experiences, and products in a marketplace of content.

Time to get to work.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just five minutes:

Watch previous episodes or read the lightly edited transcripts.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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27 Best About Us and About Me Page Examples [+Templates]



Your about page summarizes your history, values, and mission — all in one place. That’s a tall order for just a few paragraphs. If you’re feeling stuck, turn to these about-page examples for inspiration. 

about us page example: laptop held in palm of hand


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MarTech’s marketing operations experts to follow



MarTech's marketing operations experts to follow

Marketing operations is what makes the magic happen. These are the folks who see that your martech stack doesn’t get stuck. They are the maestros, modelers and makers who make sure the trains run, the data is digestible and that you have the programs you need. Where would we be without them? That’s too scary to think about. Here’s our list of MOps experts who have the ear of the profession.

Darrell Alfonso

Darrell is director of marketing strategy & operations at Indeed and the former global marketing ops leader for AWS. He’s the author of “The Martech Handbook: Build a Technology Stack to Acquire and Retain Customers.” In addition to speaking at many conferences, Darrell was named one of the Top Marketers in the US by Propolis 2022 and among the “Top Martech Marketers to Follow” in 2020 by Martech Alliance. He’s a regular and popular contributor both to MarTech and the MarTech conference; you can find all of his articles at this link.

Eddie Reynolds

Eddie has been in business a long time, starting his first company when he was 14. “A pretty minimal enterprise,” he told one interviewer. “I had a tax ID number, a legal entity, and a company name. I even had the IRS coming after my dad for sales tax that I failed to report properly.” Today he is CEO and revenue operations strategy consultant of Union Square Consulting. He publishes The RevOps Weekly Newsletter and the podcast RevOps Corner. Eddie’s large LinkedIn following attests to the quality of the insights he shares there on  sales, marketing, service, and admin roles. 

Sara McNamara

Sara is an award-winning marketing and sales operations professional whose work has been recognized by awards from the likes of Salesforce (Pardot), Adobe (Marketo), Drift, and LeanData. She is a Senior Manager, Marketing Operations at Slack and a martech stack (+ strategy) solution architect. That and her passion for leveraging technology and processes to improve the experiences of marketers, sales professionals, and prospects, explains why she’s a regular guest on MOps podcasts.

Ali Schwanke

Ali is the CEO and founder of Simple Strat. The firm specializes in helping companies get the most out of HubSpot — from CRM strategy and setup to marketing automation and content creation. She is also host of HubSpot Hacks, “the #1 Unofficial YouTube show for HubSpot Tutorials” and has been a guest speaker at the MarTech conference.

Mike Rizzo

Mike’s career in marketing operations showed him that there is a real and significant MOps community. That’s why he founded MO Pros/, the fast-growing online community for people in marketing operations. He is also co-host of Ops Cast, a weekly podcast. 

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About the author

Constantine von Hoffman

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.

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