Gaining a competitive edge on social media is becoming increasingly complex. Companies attempting to boost their online presence are running up against evolving competition, while minimum bid prices for paid online advertising are continually on the rise. In order to maintain meaningful contact with target audiences, many companies are turning to employee advocacy, which is an incredibly effective way to build your employer brand and increase global reach.
Employee advocacy allows companies to expand their marketing team by engaging all employees in social media communication. Content shared by an individual is more trusted than that coming from official brand channels. Employee advocates share company posts, user-generated content, and third-party content that is relevant to their industry, on their own social networks. This content is viewed by audiences that are far more receptive and trusting to what is being shared than content coming from brand channels. Furthermore, the reach of employees is often far greater than that of company pages alone.
However, employee advocacy is about much more than having employees follow company social network accounts and simply share what is given to them. It involves establishing organizational roles, educating employees about best practices and personal branding, creating engagement incentives and, of course, defining and tracking both qualitative and quantitative KPIs.
When launching an employee advocacy initiative one thing needs to be decided before anything else – who will steer the project? Whatever your company’s advocacy engagement strategy, organizational roles need to be assigned in order to streamline communication, balance task management and ensure the longevity of the employee advocacy initiative. Having organization in place from the get-go allows for a clear vision and a successful program.
Certain questions need to be addressed when implementing an employee advocacy initiative. What are the ground rules for communication? What type of content and/or language should be avoided? How will any bad buzz be managed? How do employees know what they can and cannot share?
Questions such as these, as well as others, can be covered in training sessions, which can be done on both formal and informal levels, to provide information that is tailored to individual departments and addresses any and all concerns.
It is important to remember that if your employees do not feel secure in their understanding of how your program works and its benefits they will fail to engage. Implementing regular check-in and updated training sessions allow your employees to grow and feel comfortable in their role as brand ambassadors.
The success of an employee advocacy initiative lies in advocates’ ongoing engagement. This, in turn, depends on project leads’ ability to animate the employee advocacy platform and provide regular sharing incentives. From a well-prepared launch to gamification initiatives and the incorporation of both curated and user-generated content, creating an engaging employee advocacy platform is key to success.
An integral aspect of any employee advocacy initiative involves linking advocates’ sharing activity to the diffusion of company content, lead generation and ultimately conversion rates. It is important to aggregate data on the engagement of end-user audiences as well as advocates themselves, to help firmly demonstrate the impact employee advocacy is having on your bottom line and overall objectives.
Employee Advocacy: A Comprehensive Guide
Implementing a successful employee advocacy initiative goes beyond simply inviting employees to share company content. It involves building a structured program that is ready to teach and engage your employees, track their success, and evaluate the impact of your initiative. Combing these elements will allow you to tap into the tremendous potential of a truly successful employee advocacy program.