Reasons Why an Employee Advocacy Program Fails

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Last updated: January 30, 2018

What does it take for an Employee Advocacy program to take off? If it doesn’t, where is the fault?

Employee Advocacy programs can be wonderful company culture boosters, branding “machines” and stepping stones for individuals becoming thought leaders on social media. By getting all employees on the same page with online branding, companies can build trust and credibility online.

But what if the program doesn’t take off, or the results are simply not what you expected?

Related: When Employee Engagement Turns Into a Company Culture Failure

Here are some possible scenarios you should pay attention to.

Your Content is not Engaging Enough

Content really is the key to Employee Advocacy programs. Without enough content or with just plain bad content, the results won’t be spectacular. There’s also the question of relevancy when posting on feeds for your networks to see.

“There is a price to pay for those brands that ask employees to share content that doesn’t align to their friends’ interests: 20% of consumers report they have cut connections based on such posts,” reveals Altimeter’s report*. And a certain subtlety is also required here – if your employees are simply spamming their networks with whatever branded content they can get their hands regardless of the channel’s style or algorithm, the basic notion of Employee Advocacy has been lost.

*Social Media Employee Advocacy: Tapping into the power of an engaged workforce

You need to first reflect on the quality and quantity of the content you have, before you ask employees to share it. You need to have educational and actionable content available, content your employees will feel engaged with.

Write engaging content

You Don’t Have Enough Guidance in Place

The initiative needs structure to work, especially in the start when employees are wrapping their heads around their roles in it all. Employees may think it is not in their job description to advocate (which is technically true) or they are worried they will actually harm branding efforts by doing the wrong thing. Communicating the overall objectives and the best ways to go about achieving them allows for better results to take place. This can mean trainings, providing a social media policy and other materials.

Remember, don’t think about guidance as being restrictive but rather about enablement. When employees have all the tools they need to speak about their brand in their own voice, they can feel more confident and positive about doing so.

You’re Not Aiming for Specific Goals

For any program to succeed, you need to first define success. What are the big pictures that need sharpening with the help of the initiative, and what are the specific metrics you will look at as the program advances?

Whether it is marketing, sales, recruitment or employer branding, or all of these combined that you wish to set your eyes on, there need to be certain goals in place to measure success by.

Also, never underestimate the importance of C-level acting as role models in Employee Advocacy, for without their participation, it will be much harder to motivate others to dedicate their social media efforts to the company.

The Definitive Guide to Employee Advocacy

Annika Rautakoura
January 30, 2018