You’ve read the studies, you know the stats. People trust other people more than they trust brands. Engaged employees are more productive than their disengaged counterparts. You know that employee advocacy, when done right, can improve sales, boost your brand image, increase loyalty, and create a more engaging workplace for your employees. So you decided to launch an employee advocacy program. The problem is, it isn’t working. Here are a few reasons why so many fail to get off the ground, as well as some best employee advocacy practices for success.
1. You Don’t Know How to Get People Involved.
An employee advocacy program that can’t attract and engage employees clearly won’t work. You need employees to get onboard with your initiative. Yet, bringing employees into the fold can be a challenging task. For them to invest in your program, they need to understand the importance of the initiative and the vital role that they play.
Start by explaining why employee advocacy is a powerful business initiative, as well as how they, as employees, are essential for the program’s success, and how participating in advocacy can bring them benefits as well. Show them how the reach of their personal networks can amplify a message, and how developing a following will help them professionally. In doing so you demonstrate their value outside of everyday roles, and transform your program from a simple leadership initiative, into a community project. Employees invest more in a program if they understand the value it provides.
In addition, it’s important to animate the communicate and bring tangible rewards. Adding a simple monthly gamification challenge in which employees can participate, create content, as well as winning prizes can increase the stickiness of your program and make it fun for your employees. And when there’s fun involved, they’ll obviously be more motivated and engaged.
2. You’re Not Curating Your Content
Your employees are continually bombarded with company content. Most employees spend a quarter of the workday reading and responding to company emails alone, a lot of which may or may not be relevant to that specific employee. An important part of an employee advocacy program is to provide content that is engaging, relevant and brings value. This requires incorporating a variety of perspectives, formats, and types of content. Variety is the spice of life.
Many employee advocacy programs suffer because of content problems. Employees do not want to share brand only perspectives and messages to their network connections everyday. A way to solve this is including 3rd party content curation into your strategy. Done manually or with a content curation platform, the trick is to properly build the topic list for curated content. This may include industry developments, external thought leaders in your industry, complementary products/services, new trends, etc. Introducing this content variety will appeal to employees (because it will be interesting for them to consume) and will remove any hesitations to sharing content to their connections. At the end of the day, sharing content that resonates with your brand messages, or indirectly supports your service or product is powerful and has an impact on sharing branded content.
3. You’re Not Giving Your Employees a Voice
Allowing your employees to post as a representative of your organization is daunting. The urge to regulate both what they say, and how they say it, can be overwhelming. Over-regulating employee sharing, however, is detrimental to your program. The intent of your program is to empower your employees by giving them a platform to share important information, while also positioning themselves as a trusted expert in their industry. Regulating every aspect of their sharing capabilities undermines that intent, and makes employees feel voiceless. If your employees don’t feel heard, it is unlikely that they will continue investing time and energy into your program.
Rather than trying to regulate all aspects of employee sharing, try moderating content. Have employees submit and create fresh, authentic content that can be moderated by administrators. This also gives employees the chance to be heard. In addition, you ensure that the messages that are shared across their social networks are on brand and in line with your company values.
Additionally, moderation within an advocacy platform helps employees feel secure in what they are sharing. They know content has been reviewed and approved. This then allows them to participate in the initiative without the fear of negative consequences.
Building a Successful Employee Advocacy Program
While companies are beginning to understand the importance of employee advocacy, as well as employee advocacy best practices, the road to a successful program isn’t always smooth. By avoiding the above mistakes you can therefore increase the chances of creating a successful employee advocacy program. The right strategy can make all the difference. And making employee advocacy a crucial component of your communications strategy can help ensure it achieves the desired results.