Are you harnessing employee social media advocacy?
What if I were to tell you that you had free access to an untapped goldmine. There’s a group of individuals dedicated to your products or services, experts in their use and with the connections to see your communications extend their reach by maybe 30 times their current limit.
Who are they and where are they?
Your employees on social media
Companies often focus on the potential risks of social media use (or misuse) by employees. In this post we look at how effective training and planning can turn your employees into a significant social media asset.
By establishing an employee social media advocacy programme, you could join the likes of Adobe, Cisco, Dell and IBM. All of those companies are taking advantage of the marketing potential of their staff. Referrals are a recognised source of reliable leads. Employees are credible spokespeople for your brand.
Some of your best advocates
While taking advantage of a free and available resource is one thing, it’s quite another to exploit your employees’ personal networks through a heavy, over-preached regime of guilt-tripping ‘encouragement’. A successful advocacy program encourages voluntary participation in sharing content as they see fit.
Not only do your staff know your company, they may also have insider knowledge of their customers and your industry. This is the kind of data that many marketing departments would spend serious money to get their hands on.
Encouraging employee social media advocacy
While your employees’ activity shouldn’t be coerced, it can be encouraged and directed. Trust as much a key to social media advocacy as simple guidelines. Some great areas to highlight as options for employees to get involved with are:
- awareness of company activities and events
- discussion of present issues facing your organisation or industry
- helping your search for talent
- Promoting the key content and guides that they’re interested in – in their own words
Imagine how much farther your reputation for expertise and customer service could spread through your employees sharing your key content. Or how many more potential candidates you might reach during a recruitment drive.
4 key steps for fostering advocacy in your company
The companies that do employee social media advocacy best are the ones that have strong cultures of trust. You need to trust your employees to use social media responsibly.
However, it isn’t just a case of leaving them to it and hoping for the best. Structure the programme and communicate expectations and the process can be managed and supported. Employees also need to know that they’ll be held accountable for what they post.
Step 1: Create some simple social media guidelines. Set out the objectives and be clear about what’s expected. People are more likely to participate if they know what’s expected of them. It can be helpful to involve employees in the creation of guidelines so there is a core of people ‘bought-in’ to help explain and sell the scheme.
Step 2: Supply employees with content and links that they can share. Position it as suggestions and resources for them to use as they see fit.
Step 3: Plan your measurement before you begin. What are you going to measure and report and how are you going to do it? Is it more engagement activity on social media? Is it more traffic driven to your website from social media? More followers? Share the results and give the company evidence that what they’re doing is being noticed and having a positive impact.
Step 4: Roll out gradually and support your advocates. Begin with a core group – find people who are already active in social media. Getting them on board will create a model and also give you a group of people who are available to train and support others as participation grows.