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Social Employee Advocacy - FACTS Every Employer Should Know

letters.png October 15, 2014 / Logan Nathan

I’m assuming you already have a Social Media presence and acknowledge that you really cannot escape sharing valuable content through LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and other channels to reach a wider target base. If you’ve been using social media in your business for some time, you may have a substantial following on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other platforms.

Despite diligently posting valuable content on social media channels of your choice:

  • Why isn’t your audience engaging with you at a level you expect?
  • Why do you get just a few likes or shares despite putting your heart and soul into sharing valuable content?
  • Do you have the right analytics in place to measure the outcome for a social selling campaign…whether it is generating enquiries, referrals or clicks to a website?

Let’s look at the flip side of the coin. When your employees return home after a hard day’s work start interacting with their relatives, friends and peers they find others commenting, liking and sharing posts. Some ask questions and even start a debate. Some mundane like what they had for lunch generate a flurry of comments.

So why can’t your organization generate the same level of engagement?

You may argue that social media is just an avenue for regular people to interact with each other about events in their day to day existence. While you’re quite correct in your thinking, how would you like to drip feed content about your products, services and offers to these very same people in a way they would gladly consume, like, share and comment on?

Now that I’ve got your attention you’re probably asking how this is possible. Let me explain. Your employees are your best advocates for your Social Selling. When they write about the joy they get from working in your organization, your products and offers, the excitement is infectious. Their connections believe them because the distrust they generally have for a message originating from a faceless company is cast aside.

solomo-facts

This is exactly what social media Employee Advocacy is all about. Before you dive in, I would like to carefully explain you some FACTS about social media employee advocacy, to help you get the most value from your efforts. So, here are the social selling Employee Advocacy FACTS you should know:

Focus

With a number of key social selling channels available to promote your company’s products and service, it’s easy to try one channel and jump to another in the hope of achieving success. I have found many of my clients fall victim to this fundamental mistake. If you are implementing a social selling Employee Advocacy program, choose your platforms carefully. Otherwise employees will be confused and wonder exactly what you want to achieve if you want them to share content on Twitter one day, Facebook the next day and LinkedIn on the third day.

What I have found works best in a Business to Business environment (B2B) is sharing content on LinkedIn and Facebook for the Business to Consumer (B2C) environment. Twitter is suitable for both B2B and B2C as is Google+.

Activity

If you observe my activity on LinkedIn, you will notice that I post content at least two to three times a week. An effective social media Employee Advocacy campaign needs to be consistent to create a lasting impact. A good idea would be to create several posts in advance and organize to feed them out at regular intervals.

This way you will not only get employees into the habit of sharing content regularly with their personal network but also build a content asset online which is invaluable for search engine optimization and credibility.

When content is shared by multiple people from the organization you can extend the reach to far more individuals and generate a much higher engagement level compared to paid forms of advertising.

When posting content, employees need to be consistent as they are the voice of the organization. Without the right technology in place this can be difficult. Of course you can get your I.T. team to develop social selling advocacy software, a cost-effective solution is to invest in available technology to automate the process and also save time.

Communication

When crafting content for social selling remember to craft your content carefully. Employees will get disheartened if the content is predominantly of a sales nature as they wouldn’t want to be seen as blatantly pitching content to their family and friends. In my experience of consulting with clients I have found this to be one of the biggest mistakes made by business owners eager to get the sale.

Content should be educational, relevant, interesting and visually appealing and keywords driven. While promotional content and offers can be introduced into the mix, use such content sparingly, which we have practiced in this article as well.

For each post, article, video or infographic it is important to have four to five prewritten messages. All employees has to do is select one of the messages and share the content.

Now the messages don’t all look the same when the content is shared by employees. Other advantages are that the messages have brand consistency and are pre-approved eliminating the risk of adverse communication being sent out into the ether.

To keep your employees motivated, why not encourage them to contribute content they feel could interest your target market. If the content is valuable you can approve it to be broadcast and reward them for their efforts.

Team

The success of your social selling Employee Advocacy program will hinge upon the willingness of your staff members to actively participate and regularly share the posts created by respective departmental heads. This is why it’s important to get employees to “buy-in” to the program.

To make it easier, automated tools can simplify the process to the single click of a button. A reward system will add to the excitement and keep the interest level high.

While this may sound difficult to orchestrate, there are specifically designed software solutions like SmarpShare which make it easy and affordable to implement a social selling Employee Advocacy program.

Strategy

When consulting with businesses, I often find them using a tactical approach to social selling instead of a strategic approach. They try one tactic then another without a clear strategy in place. This approach is doomed for failure. I always advocate that organizations need an overall social selling strategy with clear goals in place. This way it’s easier to measure the outcome, instead of investing time and money in activities and complain about poor results.

Ask questions like:

  • Is the purpose to get more visibility for the company brand name and/or products/services?
  • Is it to get more likes and shares for a particular campaign?
  • Is the purpose of the social selling Employee Advocacy program to build a prospect list?
  • How long should you run a particular social selling advocacy campaign before moving to the next one?
  • What are the Visuals (images/videos), Auditory messages (keywords) and Kinesthetic impact that you want to create via your employees?
  • How should you measure the response to a social selling advocacy campaign?
  • How do you want to reward the employees so that it creates a positive energy within the organisation?

Here is a snapshot of the SmarpShare weekly analytics report that we use to measure the effectiveness of our own social selling advocacy campaigns.

“We were keen to have our employees participate in our company’s Social Media campaigns that we have embarked for the past 12 months, however, our biggest issues were how do we make it transparent within our day to day work activities and something that we can measure and reward without impacting the daily productivity of our employees. I find SmarpShare has the answer for all of our requirements" says Michael Jones, Managing Partner at Jones Partners, a leading Australian Insolvency and Business Recovery Company based in Sydney.

Once the purpose is clear it will be easier to create a meaningful social selling advocacy program which employees understand and are willing to participate in without impacting the productivity of their daily work activities.

I have provided you with clarity on the FACTS about social selling Employee Advocacy and hope you now have a clear picture of what is required to implement an effective social selling employee advocacy program. In a previous article, I explained why you cannot afford not to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to grow your business. If you need expert help in setting up your social selling Employee Advocacy program using SmarpShare, feel free to get in touch with us and/or start using the free trial version now.

This is a guest post by solomoIT‘s Logan Nathan.

Logan Nathan
October 15, 2014

by Logan Nathan