How To Implement An Effective Employee Advocacy Program
In Three Simple Steps
Research reveals that 1 in 10 employee advocacy programs fail. One of the main reasons for this is that the temptation to dive straight into creating an advocacy strategy is high and many businesses will delve into strategy programs without effective planning and implementation. Without having a clear structure or attractive advocacy program in place, it’s likely to never take off.
So where should your business start? Employee advocacy is the promotion of a brand from within its organization. The challenge of creating a successful advocacy program is getting your employees engaged and onboard with your company’s culture and objectives – you can then encourage your staff to promote your brand across their social platforms. With research showing that 84% of consumers value recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising, it’s financially important to incorporate employee advocacy into an organization’s overall marketing plan.
How To Reinforce Employee Engagement
Ultimately, your content strategy and business objectives need to align. Whether you are looking to hire, grow or boost engagement online, or build your social media following, your employees need to understand what you are looking to achieve and have a clear structure in place so that it can easily be achieved. Once you have a clear strategy, you can then explore and begin to create the types of content that will work for you. For example:
- Job posts
- Brand mentions
- Industry publications
The next step is to encourage your staff to share this content online. To get the best results, you have to ensure that your content is engaging enough to not only be shared by your employees but so that it is also of interest to their social connections.
You should consider a variety of content such as; industry news, internal news, branded content as well as company culture content. This variety will not only allow employees to select the content that they find the most engaging to share but also supports the business in supplying an array of content for customers – increasing brand awareness and brand visibility.
If you’re in a rut creating engaging content, seek the advice of your employees. Encourage them to suggest industry topics that they find relevant, or you could also share department wins to help encourage a culture of thought leadership and inclusion.
Changing the Social Sharing Mindset
In order to maintain and support employee engagement, employers need to have an understanding of the WIFM (what’s in it for me) factor, that many employees will embrace – what will they gain from sharing content online? An employee advocacy strategy has many benefits and personal advantages for your staff. It allows individuals to build their social presence on platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn, which in turn helps employees stand out from the crowd and become credible and sought after individuals in their industry. Tellingly, research has found that 86% of employees involved in employee advocacy say it has had a positive effect on their careers. And, unsurprisingly, further research from LinkedIn found that employees of a company often have up to 10 times more followers than the company itself – this additional reach can provide organizations with a competitive edge.
Maintaining the Flow Of Engagement
The easier it is to engage, the quicker you will see results. Your content has to be relevant, interesting and easy to share.
As an employer, it is important to be conscious that not everyone within your team will have the same level of enthusiasm. Some of your team may be active social media users, constantly sharing and engaging with other people and brands online. Others may not have as regular a presence, however, will likely be on board with ramping up engagement if it’s for the benefit of the company. Either way, both should be encouraged as it will still broaden the opportunities for advocacy on your team.
Content should be kept in one place and shared easily amongst staff, A great way of doing so is by sharing it across your company newsletters or on Slack, for example.
One way of ensuring employee engagement is to introduce a competitive element and be creative with it. For example, if an employee shares 10 posts on Twitter, pop their names on a leaderboard in the communal area of the office, or even introduce a prize incentive.
Employee advocacy can be extremely effective to improve company culture, as it improves employee inclusion. Research highlights the emphasis social impact advocacy has amongst employees; 67% of employees were found to expect their employer to have a ‘greater purpose’ and their jobs to have a ‘meaningful societal impact’. The introduction of an employee advocacy strategy can encourage a greater understanding of these areas.
Businesses need to move out of the dark ages; today’s digital world opens up avenues such as employee advocacy that can truly excel brand awareness and grow a business’s bottom line.
Daniel Ku is Director of Marketing for PostBeyond