Employee engagement and employee advocacy. These buzzwords seem to be coming at you from every direction these days, and you can’t help but think that maybe you should look into implementing an employee advocacy program in your company.
You might still be asking yourself whether an employee advocacy program is the right thing for your company, or perhaps you’ve already found an a good program, but are wondering what it will take to be a success, how to get your employees to engage, and how to keep an overview of the whole process. A good employee advocacy program will make this work much easier, giving you a clear overview of the entire process and the necessary tools to encourage your employees to share content.
With that being said, there are still a few things you need to keep in mind when implementing an employee advocacy program. It’s important to remember that employee advocacy is an ongoing process that needs to be maintained in order to become rooted in the company culture. That maintenance is somewhat the employers’ responsibility and requires them to commit to the program and the employees. One of the most important things to do is to involve your employees and to remember to give feedback. This includes telling them how much you appreciate them advocating for the company online, but also showing them the results of their work: when you gain more followers on social media or experience an increased site traffic, make sure your employees know about it, as it is often a result of their efforts of sharing content. Another aspect that is often underestimated, is the management’s ability to lead by example. The more active the management, the more encouraged the other employees will be as they start to see active advocating as the norm. Keeping this in mind, here are some tips on how to turn your employees into active advocates and how to successfully maintain an employee advocacy program.
How to Turn Employees into Advocates:
Have Clear Objectives: Before you embark on an employee advocacy program, try to get an idea of what outcome you are hoping for. Increased traffic on your site? More brand awareness? Increased visibility? Whatever your objectives, make sure they are clear and make sure that your brand ambassadors are aware of that objective. This will make it easier to measure any success later on. For example, if your biggest objective is to simply see your employees engage with relevant content and share it on their social media, this can be measured through the Newsio leaderboard which show s exactly who is sharing which content. This way you can easily see if employees are sharing as much as you would like them to and monitor any fluctuation in their activity.
Set Direct Guidelines: This way your employees know what is expected of them and know exactly what they should and should not be doing. Often employees feel timid as they’re worried they won’t be doing the right thing, or don’t know where to start. Once you provide them with material to share on a platform that makes it easy to share, they are more likely to advocate through their social media profiles.
Train Your Employees: Teach them how to use social media effectively, i.e. in a way that best benefits your company and themselves. Many people associate social media with funny status updates and family photographs, when in fact, social media is a very effective and professional marketing tool. If training your entire workforce seems like a lot of work, simply train a smaller team to begin with. Pick those employees who already engage with social media or are enthusiastic to learn how to use it. This team will lead by example and encourage others to explore social media in a more professional way.
How to Maintain an Employee Advocacy Program:
Explain the Benefits: Speak to your employees and make sure they know that participating in an employee advocacy program is beneficial to their personal careers, as well as the company. Surveys show that employees who engage in employee advocacy programs experience a positive impact on their careers, stronger online connections and increased business opportunities. Once your employees realise the benefits of participating in an employee advocacy program for their own professional brand, they’re sure to participate more enthusiastically.
Gamify: The most important thing to keep in mind when implementing an employee advocacy program, is that your are asking your employees to use their personal social media profiles, essentially their personal brand, to advocate for your company. Unless your employees are used to using their personal profiles for this purpose, it can feel like a step outside of their comfort zone. Therefore, your employees should never feel forced to participate in the program. On the other hand, there are plenty of ways you can make the activity more attractive to them. One way is to gamify the whole process. The employees can already see on Newsio’s leaderboard who is sharing the the most, and who gets the most clicks. Turn it into a competition! You can even offer a small reward for those who share the most any given week. This turns the whole process into a game and shifts the focus from the concept of sharing, to the concept of friendly competition among employees.
Recognise: More than anything else, employees report that their biggest incentive is not a prize, but simply the recognition of their hard work. Make sure you keep track of your employees, see who’s sharing the most and commend them for it. Also check up on those that share less and try to get to the root of the problem, see if there is a way you can encourage them to share more. When employees feel that their work is valued, they feel appreciated and become more engaged, not just in their online sharing, but in the workplace in general.
Want to hear more about Newsio’s employee advocacy program and how it can benefit your company’s brand? Get in touch, we’d be happy to tell you about how different companies have used Newsio’s program to successfully implement employee advocacy culture!