How to Create a Social Media Employee Advocacy Program
You’ve created great social media content that tells your brand’s story through a mix of video, blog posts and infographics—but how do you get it in front of your target audience without paying to sponsor your posts? Through the people who know your brand best—your employees.
Creating an employee advocacy program is a win-win for your brand and your employees. Brands can increase the reach and engagement of their messages by leveraging their employees’ social media contacts, while employees gain access to their company’s social media content library to share with their networks. This, in turn, helps employees become perceived as industry experts and can expand their professional networks.
Studies have shown the effectiveness of social sharing. Consider these facts:
- 77% of consumers are likely to buy a product after hearing about it from someone they know and trust
- Employees are connected to 10 times more people on social media than brands
- Content shared by employees receives eight times more engagement than content shared by brands
- Social media content is re-shared 24 times more when posted by employees than brands
You can develop an employee social media advocacy program, even if you have little to no budget. It could be as easy as sending emails a few days per week to your employees with links to your social media content or using special software such as Bambu, LinkedIn Elevate or GaggleAmp.
Here are a few tips that can help you develop a successful employee advocacy program:
Get Buy-In Across Your Company
Your program will be more successful if your company’s leadership understands the value of employee advocacy, so work to educate them and get their support. Other departments throughout your company, such as human resources and your IT team, should also know how you plan to implement the project. Getting these groups on board early will help you get their input and support as you create the program. You’ll want human resources input on creating employee social media policies and guidelines. You may also need help from your IT department in implementing social media sharing software, if you choose to use it.
Prepare Before You Share
Before your employees start sharing content, help them create professional looking social media profiles that will reflect positively on them and your brand. Provide workshops that educate your employees on to how create good profiles. Employee profiles should include headlines that get visitor’s attention, summaries that include value propositions and call people to action as well as showcase your employees has leaders in your industry. And don’t forget to stress the importance of a professional profile photo to set the tone for your brand. Photofeeler can help your employees choose the right photo for their profile by getting feedback from other people.
It’s a good idea recruit a small number of employee to test the program before you roll it out to all of your employees. Ask 5 to 10 of your close team members to go through the training and test the program, then add another 10 to 15 employees who are already engaged with your company on social media or are actively involved in other employee programs, such as volunteer opportunities. Starting off small will allow you to identify any gaps in training, process or technical problems before you roll the program out to all employees.
Offer Training in a Variety of Formats
People learn in different ways at different speeds. Since some people learn better by watching and doing, while others can learn quickly by following instructions on their own, it’s a good idea to offer your training program in a variety of formats.
You should offer your training in person for employees working in your immediate office and through conference calls for remote workers. It’s also good to create a self-directed training curriculum, such as videos and printed materials and instructions that employees can access and complete at their own pace.
Track and Share Progress
Track important metrics such as the number of content posts shared by your employees and the combined audience reach of the employees participating in the program. To show the impact of your employee advocacy program, track the amount of reach and engagement that can be attributed to employee advocacy and share it with stakeholders throughout your company.
Showing the impact of employee advocacy is important, so if you have the budget, use an employee advocacy software program, such as Bambu, LinkedIn Elevate or GaggleAmp, that can track the number of employee shares and reach.
Keep Your Employees Involved
It can be difficult to keep the momentum of any new program going after the initial excitement wears off. Sending monthly email updates to participants that show the impact that their participation is having, can help keep your employees engaged in the program.
These emails could include shout outs to employees sharing the most content each month, key metrics such as content shares and audience reach and previews of the next month’s content. This will create a sense of ownership among participants and a feeling that they are company “insiders” that receive information that only a small group of employees have access to.
Some companies also offer participants incentives such as gift cards, branded company merchandise, such as t-shirts, or other perks. You may run into tax issues with incentive programs, depending on the size of the incentives, so recognizing employees with public praise or thanking them with a breakfast or lunch may be easier ways to recognize them.
I hope these tips help you create a successful employee advocacy program. Please share your comments and suggestions for creating employee brand advocates.