At the moment, one of the hottest topics in social business is Employee Advocacy. And no, it's not that thing that companies do to strong-arm its employees to share the company's content.
Sorry to say but, if they do that, those companies have missed the mark on the trust and openness that Employee Advocacy is all about. To get you started the right way, I’ve gathered seven points that will guide you towards inspiring Employee Advocacy. Let's get started.
You Need The Right Culture
Employee Advocacy requires companies to rethink their corporate culture completely. And this time around, the culture must be rooted in the employees’ wants and needs. Forget about the company and its shareholders for a second.
See, Employee Advocacy is all about individuals. It's all about finding the individual's motivators. For example, experts are often driven by status or recognition, and so they should be given the platform to educate others in the field. When someone’s natural behaviour or need is rewarded, they have no problem doing it long term.
You Need Guidelines
Rules shouldn’t make your life harder. Rules should guide you to do your job better. With Employee Advocacy, some guidelines are required, but too many of them can ruin a good thing. Time after time, companies make the rules and guidelines so complicated that you need a degree in astrophysics to decode them. WRONG!
The guidelines need to be simple so that they encourage participation. The guidelines should be inviting the employees to share. They should say that “Hey, we trust you, and we want you to gain advantages from all this”. Allow employees to share profession related articles to their profiles without micromanaging the whole process.
Some guideline tips to get you started:
- Differentiate opinion from fact
- You alone are responsible for what you publish
- Respect copyrights
- Respect others and their opinions
- Do right by your audience
- Add value
You Need Options and Roles
Employee Advocacy is one thing that can’t be forced on someone. That said, you have to create the opportunity for your employees to perform in roles that suit them. Let’s think about this a bit further.
If we look at how the Internet and social media works, we can identify a few key groups. Some users just like to listen, some want to curate and share content, and others like to comment and discuss. Finally, the minority group likes to create original content.
Trusting your employees to know their own engagement practices will allow employees to choose their own method of advocacy.
Secondly, it is the company's task to create various types of content. Remember, if you want people to share your content, you have to give them something that interests them as well as their network.
Not many employees are willing to share your company's ads. If you thought that’s how it works, think again!
You Need Metrics
Metrics creates the foundation for measurable and repeatable action.
Whenever I deal with Employee Advocacy, I always ask: Why are you doing this? That’s not a metric question, but it sheds light on the deeper goals. Once we know the goals, we can start pinpointing the right metrics.
For example, a company employee creates a great piece of professional content. Not a product demo, but an excellent article that paints a vision for the future. It's so good that multiple employees share it.
To measure its effectiveness, we can first put a tactical measure to it and measure the likes, shares, or comments.
Then we'll set the revenue metric. In this case, it could be the number of leads or the amount of people in our pipeline. Other examples include reach vs. closed deals or share of voice vs. social connections.
What you want to achieve determines what you measure.
You Need Shining Stars
Leaders lead by example. If the leader doesn't do something, the employees are more likely to ignore whatever is being sold to them.
When starting to implement Employee Advocacy, it's critical to have a lead-in group that acts as an example. I'm talking about a few good social media savvy content creators that bring on the first wave of results.
The next step is harder; You have to communicate the value across various departments to be able to build up your team of advocates.
Remember: Don't try to do everything at once. Don't attempt to get the whole company to participate from the start, you'll just drive yourself mad. Start small and build upon the successes. Be patient and you'll get there!
You Need Mentors
Many successful entrepreneurs and business owners advise having a mentor. The same advice applies well to Employee Advocacy: Pair the social media savvy employees with employees who have less experience in content creation or social media.
Also, allow internal workshops to happen where speech is free and honest - Good advice can come from literally anyone, and it’s a real boost to morale when peer support is openly given and rewarded.
Support is critical since social media, blogging, content creation and curation all require a new set of skills. To be successful, you have to make sure that you have a support system in place that makes your employees feel safe with the changing environment.
There you have it, seven points to consider before jumping neck high into it. If you have any comments, please, connect with me on Twitter @JoonasAleksi. Until the next time guys!
I see myself as a young blood; the new generation of marketing strategists and content creators. I have the required skills to produce all of the necessary elements of a successful and results-oriented campaign: Strategy, automation, social media, copywriting, video, and photography - I execute each of these elements from start to finish. I am, what they call, a Full-Stack Marketer.
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