You've taken a pretty big step - you're starting an employee advocacy program.
Employee advocacy is a powerful way to get your employees engaged and your message out on social media. It increases your organic reach while engaging your team and workforce, but getting people involved in an employee advocacy program does require some work and education on your part.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is Employee Advocacy?
The general purpose of employee advocacy is to motivate and make it easy for your employees to participate in your organization's marketing efforts. They do this by performing activities containing company-provided messages on their personal social networks.
Employee advocacy is a method used to promote your brand and initiatives through people who work for your organization in an authentic and trusted way, typically on social media or other digital channels.
Employees who choose to participate in an employee advocacy program, in essence, become spokespersons or advocates for your company and its mission. Anyone in an organization can participate in an employee advocacy program and those who participate do so voluntarily.
Why is Employee Advocacy Important?
From an employer's perspective, employee advocacy can help:
Attract new business
Charm stronger talent for your open positions
Get your brand in front of people that you typically would not reach
Improve reach at a cost that is typically less than traditional advertising
But it can only be successful if your organization has a strong membership. In fact, Members often report better engagement on their social networks, elevating their own personal engagements and opportunities, when they participate in an employee advocacy program.
Members also feel more engaged with their workplace. According to Trade Press Services, 74% of employees feel they are missing out on company information and news. Participation in an employee advocacy program helps mitigate that. Employee advocacy helps develop a stronger culture while benefiting the Member and their visibility within their network. The sharing of activities results in better communication of company initiatives, new angles for products and services, more opportunities for gamification and competition with fellow participants, and more.
7 Tips to Engage Your Team
1. Define Your Outcomes
Before you launch your employee advocacy program, it’s paramount that you define your outcomes. What are the outcomes you are looking to achieve with your employee advocacy program? Oftentimes your outcomes are tied to the corporate direction and initiatives, but the implementation of this varies by department or group.
When thinking about your outcomes, some important points to consider include:
Whatever your outcomes might be, they will drive the content that is elevated with your employee advocacy efforts. The activities delivered to members of your HR or Communications team will likely vary from that of your developers or sales folks. But, all activities should be driving towards your goals. It’s important that all Members of your program know the outcome they are looking to achieve and how their participation helps achieve it.
Where GaggleAMP Helps
Outcomes are highly specific to each and every organization, but there are a number of playbooks your Customer Success Manager can help you run. For example, say your organization has a revenue goal of 5% YoY. To meet this, the sales funnel needs to be fattened through additional lead generation efforts.
To help achieve this goal, the marketing department recognizes they need to drive more traffic to their paid and gated assets, so a three-step approach can be taken:
- Have your employees share content that includes a link to the gated asset as if they wrote the post themselves. Good activities to serve here would be LinkedIn Share, Tweet, and Share Link to Facebook.
- Select key social media posts to have your employees engage with. This can be best supported through the Like or ReShare on LinkedIn, Retweet on Twitter, or Comment on LinkedIn to create conversation activities.
- Have your employees engage with your paid efforts that include a gated asset using the same activities above.
2. Share Your Social Media Guidelines and Start a Discussion
Simply having an employee advocacy program is not permission for your employees to post on social media. Your social media policy and brand guidelines are - your program is simply the means of delivery.
Over 42% of marketers say that some employees are scared of saying something they shouldn't on social media. This is why it's important to educate your Members on your social media policy and brand guidelines.
This helps your employees feel empowered. The policy gives the guidelines behind what is and is not okay in the eyes of the employer, and the brand guidelines reinforce verbal branding opportunities.
The trouble is that many companies have a policy that is restrictive on social media. Even more, many companies don't have a policy at all.
According to a Pew Research Center survey, 63% of respondents said their employer does not have a policy on how they can represent themselves online. This doesn't empower the employee much - they need direction. So before diving into an employee advocacy program, be sure your social media policy is present and up-to-date.
Where GaggleAMP Helps
GaggleAMP has a social media policy template you’re welcome to start with. Keep in mind that your culture and your company should supersede any template, but it’s a good framework to get you started.
3. Give Opportunities for Mentorship & Education
Every organization has power users that are already active on social media and are early adopters. They serve as the first influencers, champions, and often mentors of your program. Newer Members often turn to this group for questions, help, and insight, and they can relay potential training opportunities back to you and other Gaggle Managers.
One of the most common opportunities for training is the basics of social media. It might seem as if everyone is on social media these days, but the familiarity with each platform is likely different for everyone. It’s often helpful to start with the basics - what are the social networks and what are the best practices of each. This helps define Activities created for your Members with their comfort level.
Where GaggleAMP Helps
In conjunction with you, your Gaggle Manager will conduct Member onboarding training with your team. This gets everyone familiar with the platform and how to engage with Activities, but it’s also an excellent time to talk about social media best practices.
Our best practices documents are a great way to empower your Members to take control of their social media accounts. Feel free to use ours - Best Practices for LinkedIn and Best Practices for Twitter.
4. Be Transparent About Why Their Engagement Matters
Participation in an employee advocacy program should always be 100% opt-in and it is never seen as a requirement or mandatory. Remember, it's the employee's personal social media network, and they ultimately decide if they want to participate or share an activity, with their network.
Yes, participating in employee advocacy efforts helps the brand, but it also has big benefits for the employee.
By having your Members show off their industry expertise, they’ll build new connections on social media with industry peers while elevating their credibility. It can, and has, resulted in new opportunities such as speaking engagements, teaching opportunities, and more.
Where GaggleAMP Helps
GaggleAMP has over 50 different activities that you can request Members carry out. Some of the most common Activities are designed to drive engagement from sources that are outside your organization.
LinkedIn Re-share Activity - This allows the Member to prepend the Activity with their own commentary before a link is shared on LinkedIn. It adds the employee voice and makes the Activity more authentic, just as if the Member shared the link on LinkedIn themselves.
Retweet From a Hashtag Search - Any hashtag search can be turned into an Activity using the 'Search by Hashtag' feature.
Create a Channel Feed From Any Google Search - Generate Activities from third-party resources right from within your GaggleAMP platform.
5. Be Repetitive
New habits take time to develop. Your message is better remembered when it is repeated often throughout a variety of communications.
For example, when you onboarded as a Gaggle Manager, your customer implementation manager took you through a Manager onboarding. Manager onboarding covered everything from creating your first Activity to inviting other Members to your program.
Since then, you likely received emails from us with the same information. There is a knowledge base to revisit these discussions and your customer success manager will discuss this again in future quarterly meetings. Repetition builds a strong social muscle.
As new Members come on board and you’re training them, you’ll also be more attuned with some of the common questions asked and can incorporate that into your future training opportunities.
Where GaggleAMP Helps
Your customer success manager will help with this transition by conducting both Manager and Member training ad hoc. In addition, the GaggleAMP Knowledge Base is always available. One way you can help with regular, repetitive Member communications is by leveraging a weekly or bi-weekly email newsletter for your team.
Here’s a great resource you can use to build your Gaggle newsletter.
6. Vary the Content
According to a report on Building the Case for Employee Advocacy, the majority (62%) of employees think that promoting branded content will result in spamming their followers. A solid employee advocacy program will vary the content.
Not every Activity will have a direct correlation to the brand. In fact, it’s important to mix the branded content with third-party content so that you’re also sharing content about trends and challenges the industry is facing.
Your content curation strategy should be a balance between important branded content, third-party content, and even content that humanizes your brand. Share your employee milestones, company outings, and highlight your big wins.
Don’t be afraid to show personality and heart in the content your employees share, too. They’re a vital part of what makes up the culture of your company and many want to share that type of content.
Source: How to make your company’s culture go viral; #LinkedInLife
Where GaggleAMP Helps
We make it easy for curators to both pull in content from third-party sources, serve original branded content, and discover content already posted to social media. Most GaggleAMP activities are going to help you vary your content, but some of the most impactful are:
LinkedIn Share, LinkedIn Re-Share, and LinkedIn Re-Share Post (Link) Activities
7. Make Employee Advocacy Fun and Rewarding
Have you heard the term ‘What’s in it for me?’ Of course, you have, and so have your employees, so it’s only fair to offer a little incentive in return.
Yes, they are benefiting from the increased visibility and engagement on their social networks, but then need to hear the thanks. Over 65% of marketers who manage an employee advocacy program believe that the best way to get employees active is by acknowledging them for good performance. But the benefits go well beyond your employee advocacy program.
According to a survey by OGO, 85% of American professionals feel that they aren’t adequately recognized for their contributions, which can lead to turnover. Interestingly enough, 40% of employed Americans said they would put more energy and effort into their work if they were recognized more often.
Where GaggleAMP Helps
When you add a gamification strategy to your employee advocacy program, it keeps the Members of your program active and more engaged over a longer period of time.
To aid in this process, GaggleAMP offers two ways to implement gamification for your employee advocacy program: Leaderboards and Rewards. Both of these methods are based on assigning points to Activities you want your Members to perform.
With a leaderboard, you can track which Members are the most active in your program, thus earning the most points through your suggested Activities.
Likewise, using rewards in your employee advocacy gamification strategy is another method of redemption for your teams. When employees carry out activities that you suggest to them in your employee advocacy program, they earn points that can be accrued and redeemed for rewards.
Some resources that can be helpful in thinking about building and expanding your gamification strategy include:
What is Gamification? And How to Gamify Your Employee Advocacy Program
- How to Create and Redeem Rewards
Tap into the power of your employee advocacy platform with GaggleAMP. Keep your teams engaged, increase your reach, and analyze measurable results through the power of the GaggleAMP employee advocacy platform.
Contact your Customer Success Manager today for help or assistance in building and scaling your employee advocacy program.