Employee advocacy is more than a buzzword. It’s an increasingly powerful strategy for communicating your organization’s key messages through your greatest asset – your people.
A recent study found that over 73% of people find posts from personal accounts to be more persuasive than posts from brand accounts. Not just organizations benefit from an employee advocacy program. A Hinge Research Institute study shows 86% of employees involved in a formal advocacy program said their involvement in social media had a positive impact on their career.
Whether your team shares updates on company news or culture, through an employee advocacy program, your organization’s content will be catapulted in front of new audiences who may otherwise be unfamiliar with your brand, with third-party validation already built-in.
Follow these four steps to launch a successful employee advocacy program:
#1: Define Your “Why”
Before implementing any new program, you must outline key KPIs to accurately measure success. Remember, these KPIs should support other communications efforts.
Common metrics when launching a social media employee advocacy program includes:
- Improve organic reach and engagement
- Increase social media referral traffic to your website
- Strengthen brand awareness
- Support recruitment efforts
- Reduce marketing costs
#2: Tools and Resources
A successful program requires thoughtful planning and consideration upfront. Employee advocacy software makes it simple for employees to like and share company posts directly to their personal pages, oftentimes without leaving the platform.
Investing in employee advocacy software (such as GaggleAMP, Sprout Social, Bambu or Hootsuite Amplify) is crucial to keep things organized, consistent and simple. After determining your organization’s unique needs related to the number of employees and budgetary considerations, plot each platform’s features and compare them side-by-side before choosing a tool.
After choosing your platform, consider creating easy-to-reference training videos and guidelines for employees to use as needed. Outlining best practices, content and participation expectations and formal policies/restrictions upfront will eliminate guesswork and confusion down the road.
#3: Launch the Program
Once everything is in place to launch the program, consider doing a “soft launch” with a small group of beta testers. This will allow you to gain early feedback to modify and improve the program before it’s time to roll the program out to the larger group.
Driving consistent employee participation requires a steady cadence of high-quality content. Utilizing content from your organic social calendar as “shares” is a great place to start, helping boost engagement and reach on your brand’s social channels.
Frequent communication is another key factor for success. Consider creating a Slack or a Microsoft Teams channel for those enrolled in the program. This will allow participants to stay connected and aware of new opportunities. Assign a program liaison to answer questions, sort through employee-generated content (bring on the company culture!) and provide regular program updates.
#4: Refine and Incentivize
Launching anything new requires time to refine. Keep track of which content is resonating best with participants and their audiences, participation trends and progress on all KPIs to enhance the program before onboarding anyone new.
In addition to the many personal and professional benefits, the advocacy program will provide employees, offering other incentives can generate excitement and overall performance. Spark some friendly competition between co-workers by initiating a leaderboard and quarterly prizes (gift cards, shout outs from leadership, etc.).
At the end of the day, employees should participate because they want to, not because they have to. When done well, an employee advocacy program benefits both parties.
Not only is it a great way to boost your business goals, and employee advocacy program provides an opportunity to each individual team member to contribute to your organization’s success (while also boosting their own credibility and authority).