At it’s essence, employee advocacy is about motivating and making it easy for your employees to participate in your organization’s marketing efforts by performing activities and sharing company messages with their personal social networks.
Employee advocacy is a fairly old concept that has been revamped thanks to the rise of social media in the workplace. Traditional one-to-one conversations have given way to one-to-many conversations and to some extent, digital word of mouth has become the new norm.
In the past, companies have taken a cautious approach to employee social activity due to compliance and legal concerns. Times have now changed and organizations are beginning to understand the marketing potential of the advocates within their companies. Now is the time to leverage the networks your employee advocates have built out and expand your social reach.
Launching an employee advocacy program involves planning and a strategic rollout. The very first thing you want to determine are the goals and key performance indicators (KPIs). Breakdown your goals for the program as well as KPIs, as these are what will help focus your efforts and drive your successes.
One of the most important factors to the success of your employee advocacy program is getting buy-in from your C-suite. In order to ensure that company culture is conducive to employee engagement, ensure that leaders within your company are on board with the program before you start. It’s of the utmost importance to first get C-level employees, leaders, and managers on board with social media because they can drastically affect the conduciveness of your efforts to acquire employee advocates. Even more so, their support can boost the employee advocacy program as a whole.
In order to get your C-level employees on board with employee engagement, you’ll need to explain advocacy in terms that are pertinent to their position. For instance, CEOs aren’t necessarily concerned with the finer details of engagement; rather, be concise in your explanation, and focus on the results. CEOs are focused on the results, and they entrust their management teams whom they’ve hired to get those results.
Your next task will be to get your employees onboard. It’s important to relate to your employees exactly how they will be impacted and how they will experience engagement on an individual level. Delve deeper into the feelings that go along with engagement, such as what an employee may feel that could cause them to become more engaged, such as loyalty, ambition, satisfaction, and happiness. The manifestation of prideful or loyal feelings and ambitious behaviors may result in advocacy! In order to onboard your employees to reach this point, one needs to foster the growth of these positive attributes. Allow self expression (within boundaries, of course), provide meaningful work, show your appreciation, include them in your marketing efforts, and provide consistent feedback. Building a highly-engaged workforce takes consistent effort and delegated time.
Finally, content will play a huge role in your program. An engaged workforce is more likely to share your content, but the efficacy of these efforts will pivot on your ability to create shareable content in the first place. Many times, employees value the networks they’ve created on social media and can find it difficult to share sales posts on a constant basis, knowing that they’ll likely lose their hard-earned following. Make it easy for your employees to share posts by making your posts more shareable. Utilize photos, post infographics, and choose from a wide variety of topic types in order to make your employees actually want to share your company posts. It all boils down to creating engaging content in the first place. Part of understanding shareable content is also understanding what type of content is best for certain social media platforms. There are a variety of factors that go into creating a good Tweet or post. For instance, don’t rely solely on text. In fact, just posting text can hinder your efforts to reach more audience members, as users are typically very visual.