How Employee Advocacy Can Build a Larger Audience for Your Events

employee advocacy and event marketing
employee advocacy and event marketing

The Covid health crisis has completely changed the way people work, making remote scenarios the norm, limiting travel options, and eliminating many traditional business gatherings and events. But around the world, people are slowly starting to make their way back to the office and regaining some sense of normality.

This is also the likely path for events as well. Meetings, seminars, expos, conferences—they’ve always been a crucial component of business life, and in-person events will almost certainly return in some form or another. One figure says that 82% of planners surveyed will hold live meetings this year, which is a dramatic increase.

Given the current popularity of hybrid work scenarios that combine remote and in-office work, what is the best way to build an audience for in-person events, regardless of whether some of the attendees will physically be present, or attend remotely? One effective solution is Employee Advocacy.

The Challenge: Convincing the Old and Attracting the New

As businesses adjust to this new hybrid style of working, and as they begin to bring back live, in-person events with the option of remote attendance, two obvious challenges crop up when it comes to building an audience.

The first is to bring back their target audience and get them once again accustomed to the notion of attending in-person business events after a couple of years of total, remote work. Essentially, re-establishing the familiar routines of the past after a rather long break. This might include employees, clients, or partner organizations. Sometimes, it’s simply a question of letting them know that events are back.

The other is to attract new prospects to attend events, individuals and organizations who are totally new to the arena. This can include any of the above but can often involve potential clients or partners who can be developed as prospective future stakeholders.

Obviously, the hosting of events can pose a major budget expense. Events can have a heavy impact on finances, so it is important to ensure that your costs are optimized. Additionally, it pays to identify the tools that will generate the maximum ROI to meet your bottom-line.

In doing so, several questions will arise:

  • How do we get people to register & participate during our event?
  • Who do we want to target to participate?
  • How do we get our message out to the appropriate people?

The answer to all of these questions, as it turns out, can be found in effective Employee Advocacy.

The Solution to building an audience? Employee Advocacy.

Employee Advocacy is the practice of encouraging employees to share content about the company or organization to their own social networks, in order to spread brand awareness, build prospects and leads, and ultimately recruit followers and attendees. Why does it work so well? Because people trust individuals more than corporations, and they use social media to help make educated decisions.

  • 71% of Americans get their news & events from social media (Social Media Today)
  • 91% of B2B buyers are active on social media (SuperOffice) and 75% of B2B buyers use social media to support purchase decisions (Linkedin)
  • 76% of individuals surveyed say that they’re more likely to trust content shared by individuals over content shared by brands (AdWeek)

And using Employee Advocacy via social media can help in the following ways:

Drive brand awareness to grow awareness of events, and reach. If your company is hosting an event, getting employees to talk about it online will obviously boost awareness, of both the brand and the event itself. And employees will generally have exactly the kind of targeted connections you’re seeking in their professional networks.

Attract new leads through trusted employees. This will expand your network, but also potentially increase revenue.

Reduce paid media expenses. With employees sharing content and spreading awareness of events and campaigns, less money is needed for traditional paid media to promote an event.

Allow you to measure results. With the right tools and platform, it’s easy to gauge how well your EA campaign is working, and directly track the results of their shares and the source of their leads. This way, you can fine-tune your event promotion strategy based on what works, and what doesn’t.

The 3 key tips to building an event audience with EA.

Using Employee Advocacy to build awareness and an audience for an upcoming event may appear daunting, but there are steps you can take to make it easier. These three tips will help ensure that you build an audience effectively via social networks for your event:

You need to provide minimum guidelines on how teams can support your events. Don’t just hand off content, explain why it is important and how to use it. Include specific information about the event, the intended audience, and how to register.

You can provide different types of content to promote the event, by using a library of inspiring pictures, video, gifs, etc. Visual content is most effective, and don’t be afraid to include audio and video content as well. Remember, you want to grab people’s attention to generate interest in the event.

You need to engage them not just at the beginning but also during the event. Gamification is a great way through Surveys or even Challenges, but also showcasing posts created during the event. Before, during, and after—it’s all important for generating interest.

Conclusion: Employee Advocacy can build your event audience in an authentic, organic way.

If employees are provided with the proper content and promotional materials, and if they’re given the guidance and incentives to share, their online advocacy can build a new audience for you event, whether it’s completely in-person, held remotely, or, more likely still, some sort of hybrid of the two. Either way, by utilizing their own professional network, they will naturally connect with people who are in the same general business sphere, and who share the same interests and motivations. And with the right platform and digital tools to back you up and empower social sharing—at Sociabble, that’s our specialty—you can ensure your current and future events are a success.

Jean-Louis Bénard is the CEO and co-founder of Sociabble. In 1994, he co-founded the digital agency FRA, acquired by Digitas in 2001. With more than 100 people dedicated to e-commerce, FRA implemented all the e-commerce platforms of Carrefour, including OOSHOP. In 2003, he founded Brainsonic, a leading digital communications agency with over 120 people, where he still serves as chairman.  In 2014, he launched Sociabble, a software company dedicated to delivering top-of-the-line, mobile-first enterprise solutions for internal communication, employee advocacy, and employee engagement. Jean-Louis Bénard is the main shareholder of Sociabble.