A step-by-step guide for creating an employee advocacy program
We’ve talked about the importance of creating an employee advocacy program that will help your business raise awareness, get more leads, and close more deals. Now, let’s review a step-by-step process for creating an advocacy plan today.
What is employee advocacy?
First, let’s circle back to what is employee advocacy. In today’s online world, it is the activity of your employees promoting your company’s message via social channels.
Now to building your plan.
Step 1: Outline Your Strategy
The first part of your strategy involves deciding what the program’s goals and KPIs are, and how they will be measured. There are two types of metrics important to track:
Tactical metrics: include tracking each individual post, employee and social network through clicks, engagement, and reach
Revenue metrics: involve measuring the program’s true ROI by understanding how the social advocacy affects leads, cost per lead, and closed deals
You’ll need to understand who will be participating in the program. Customer-facing roles, such as sales, marketing, and customer success should be prioritized. This will help you reach the most relevant audience, and in turn increase the advocates’ thought-leadership status.
While the type of content will vary according to each group; in general, it should include: original content created by the company, curated content, content suggested by employees, as well as promotional and informative content.
Step 2: Gain Traction Within the Organization
The second step is to proactively, carefully choose the top employees for the program and provide them with background on what they’ll gain from participating. Look for your articulate spokespeople in every department across your company. Note that some employees will already be social media savvy while others will require training. Focus on the ones that are already savvy, as they are more likely to demonstrate success.
Step 3: Reinforce Value to Advocates
The third step focuses on getting this first group of selected employees to sign up to the advocacy platform.
This group and all subsequent groups to join the advocacy program should be sold on the benefits of participating. For example, Hinge Research reports that sales reps are 51% more likely to attract and develop new business, while marketing and customer success personnel will gain thought leadership opportunities. No matter the role, about 69% of employees say social media helped their career.
Communicate clearly, so they fully understand what is expected of them, the advantages of being an advocate, and what the rewards will be if they do it well. Use emails, slideshows, a short video or animation, whatever it takes to gain their attention and communicate.
Providing employees with social media training – such as setting up a profile and showing them how to build their networks – will help drive the program forward. Using a proper employee advocacy platform will make things much easier, eliminating the need for employees to post on each individual network.
Step 4: Evaluate Employee Advocate Performance
Once the advocacy program is in full swing, it’s critical to measure the performance of the program every step of the way. The three most common KPIs for measuring the success of social media advocacy are:
Leads – the number of leads generated from social channels
Follower growth – growth in the number of social followers
Website traffic – impact on website traffic
With a proper social media management platform, it’s much easier to track and measure the success of employee performance and accurately report those findings to the people who need them most. Using such a platform, it’s also possible to measure the analytics gathered from the social advocacy program in the ecosystem of the social media marketing as a whole.
Step 5: Gamification
The key to a successful advocacy program is to make it fun and engaging for the employees. There are several ways to incentivize your employees in order to motivate them and drive higher results. Some ideas include rewarding employees with real cash, identifying top employee advocates, or perhaps creating some friendly competitions by splitting advocates into teams.
Step 6: Land and Expand
Once you’ve achieved success with the initial advocate group, the final step involves expanding the program to include as many people from the company for even greater reach. Expanding can follow several strategies:
Incorporate specific departments and onboard them in small focus groups.
In case the first option was met with resistance, stick to small guided groups, which makes it easier to transfer knowledge and value.
Depending on the size and social savviness of the workforce, the final option is to launch the advocacy program company-wide, which means training all employees at the same level. Take into consideration that it would be much harder to teach larger groups and avoid negative feelings.
Social media marketing is incomplete (and much less successful) without employee advocacy. Having a well-designed social advocacy program creates a transparent work culture, in which every team member – marketers and employees alike – gets exposed to the clicks, shares and conversations generated by each individual. Most importantly, it positions your brand as one its employees are proud to work for, which makes it trustworthy. And that’s great branding – and great marketing.