Building an Employee Advocacy Program for Social Media
Learn how to build a Brand Advocacy program and how creating one can help you achieve your social media goals.
When it comes to brand advocacy, no one is more trusted to speak about your business than employees. Employee Advocacy programs build on this trust by empowering employees to showcase their company’s culture and initiatives with their networks.
Done right, the information shared becomes amplified, as employees’ acquaintances, friends, family, and professional contacts see it. This amplification can give a welcome boost to content marketing efforts on social channels. For example, if an average employee has 200 Facebook friends and 61 Twitter followers, and 20 employees participate in an advocacy program, you could potentially reach an additional 5,000 people. The number of potential impressions goes up exponentially as employee advocate participation grows.
Moreover, social networks’ algorithms generally prioritize organic messages from individuals in the Newsfeed over those sent by organizations. Which is all the more reason to get your colleagues sharing!
An employee advocacy program should include a Mission, Executive Buy In, identifying Internal Influencers, plan for Rewards, and a Data Tracking method.
Your employee advocacy mission should outline what you hope to achieve, the benefits to both your organization and its employees as well as the steps you can take to get there. Your advocacy mission should also align with your organization's business objectives, so think through organizational KPIs the Mission can tie into.
The organization’s Executive Team and leadership do a lot to set the tone for an advocacy program. If the Marketing Director or CEO isn’t already sharing content on behalf of the organization, it’ll be harder to persuade more junior colleagues to do so. Make sure you’ve got buy-in from senior leadership and that they are setting a great example by actively sharing company content on their personal channels. Get senior leadership to weigh in on an official branded hashtag that all employees can use when making social posts relevant to the organization.
A best practice for advocacy programs is to start with a smaller trial involving your organization’s most engaged and socially sophisticated employees. In other words, your Internal Influencers. A quick easy way to identify these people is to note who is using the branded hashtag most frequently and effectively. Internal influencers can help your program gain traction in the early stages.
Make sure Advocates are thoroughly acquainted with Social Media Policy and Guidelines, so they represent the organization well on social. Guidance on profile settings, photos, engaging with other social media users, and tips for sharing content should all be covered.
Once employee advocates are regularly sharing company relevant content on their personal channels, it’s a good idea to find ways to reward them for their support. For example, for an important news release, have a contest where any employees who share the news are entered to win a special prize. We recommend using a tool or spreadsheet to keep track of who has shared.
It’s also important to reinforce why sharing content on behalf of an employer is in the employee’s own interest. Employee advocates can showcase their engagement, thereby differentiating themselves as a dedicated performer within the organization. Sharing well produced branded content is also good for building up a reputable personal brand on social media, especially on channels like LinkedIn and Twitter.
Eventually, you’ll need to measure the effectiveness of the program. To do this, look back to your advocacy mission and determine what data should be tracked. Common metrics that program managers will look at are advocate engagement, which is measured by weekly and monthly active participants; Social Reach, which is a measure of the volume of content being shared to all different social networks; and website traffic resulting from employee shares, which can be measured through the use of UTM links. Other data you might look at includes social share of voice, sales leads generated, or new employee recruitment.
Tools, like Hootsuite Amplify, make it simple for employees to be advocates for their organizations on their social channels. Updates from your organization appear in the app, where employees can read, save for later, or share to their social networks with one tap.