A recent report from Altimeter has revealed the top Employee Advocacy challenges that brands face. While there are some huge issues, none are unbeatable. I'm familiar with most challenges of Employee Advocacy programs, so let me give you some advice on how to identify and beat them.
TOP 5 Employee Advocacy Challenges
1. Content challenges
53% of brands have trouble providing the right content to share.
The key here is to remember to use buyer personas when creating content. I would also strongly suggest accepting that not all content has to be the brand’s own. A healthy content mix should contain no less than 2/3 of curated third-party content.
Don't try to do it all by yourself, encourage your employees to create and suggest content too. A self-fueling content system could help you defeat upcoming difficulties too.
2. Difficult to keep employees motivated
49% of companies face difficulties in keeping their employees motivated.
There are many reasons for employees’ lack of motivation. They may for example get conflicting advice about sharing, or no advice at all. They might not necessarily agree with the content they are asked to share, either. They could be afraid that advocating may be a turn-off for their friends and followers. Help them by listening to their needs and giving clear instructions, and let them participate in planning the whole program! Motivation comes from work experiences, and that stems from a good working culture.
If you just throw them into the deep end, it’s no wonder their motivation is lacking. Get to the bottom of the problem and find out what is really holding them back.
3. Low Participation Rate in the Program by Employees
No less than 47% of brands experience a low adoption rate of the program.
One of the biggest Employee Advocacy challenges is that employees prefer to keep their professional and personal lives separate. I strongly recommend that you encourage them (with coaching, obviously) to start from LinkedIn. Provide training of other key platforms too, because sporadic use of social media is another speed bump. Help them understand the values and possible benefits involved.
Also take a look into a mirror. Are you an Employee Advocate? How about the C-level?
4. Leadership Commitment and Alignment
It is slightly alarming that 44% of Employee Advocacy programs lack leadership commitment.
Your Employee Advocacy program needs a clear leader, an executive champion; not only to set an example for employees and other leaders, but to provide input in the planning stage. Along with clear leadership, a clear alignment of the program should also be in place. Altimeter found that the best results derive from collaboration between Marketing and HR, and in my experience, the combination of Communications and HR also works.
What works? Measure and see.
5. Measuring Success (Justifying the Investment)
35% have trouble measuring and therefore justifying the investment that goes into an Employee Advocacy program.
The most common Employee Advocacy goal is to increase reach (54%). An Employee Advocacy platform takes care of measuring that. There are tools to measure the increase of sales (intent of 38%), but I would also recommend simply asking job applicants and clients how they found you or what made them buy from you. Encourage your employees to measure their own actions and accounts too, especially the quality of comments, as driving understanding (goal for 47%) is the biggest performer (31% of consumers say they can better understand the company their friends work for).
Be sure that you have a plan and know what the goals are. Have the necessary tools and procedures in place.
Other Employee Advocacy Challenges
- Budget 29%
- Tools/Technology challenges 26%
- Regulatory compliance (legal restrictions) 23%
- Employees sharing inappropriate content 8%
- Brand detractors hijacking our efforts (e.g. using our hashtags) 5%
To defeat most of these challenges, you really have to implement a proper Employee Advocacy program. With thorough planning, you can see to it that you don’t waste your budget. Get good partners to overcome technology challenges and coach everyone, so that there will be no overreactions or content that turns against your brand or your employees.