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Empowering Employee Engagement

So you want your team to be engaging with your company’s social content; to be advocates for the brand. That’s a great idea because companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%.

But how do you convince your employees and/or higher-ups that this needs to be implemented?

First, let’s define what we mean by “employee advocacy”:

Employee advocacy” is a term used to describe the exposure that employees generate for brands using their own online assets. While social media is often the main medium for employee advocacy, these ‘online assets’ include email, chat, forums, discussion boards and more.”

Thank you, LinkHumans. In a nutshell, “employee advocacy” is when employees are empowered and encouraged to share brand-related content to promote and support the goals of the company they work for.

Now…

Let’s consider some benefits

Employee advocacy can be great for reach, sale and lead generation, and also recruiting.

Employees are oft-overlooked as “just people who work for you” but really they’re a huge marketing asset. Quite possibly, they are the largest key to success because they 1. love the brand (hopefully, otherwise why are they working for you?), 2. are trustworthy sources, and 3. are not filtered on social channels like corporate messages are. As Jay Baer says, “employee social media advocacy gives you Authenticity, Trustworthiness, and Reach.”

Consider the following:

  • According to Social Media Today, employees of a company have, on average, 10x the connections of the brand’s official social channels (around 850 social connections each). Imagine if you could reach close to 1000 new people with just one post.
  • 84% of people trust recommendations from friends and family
  • 78% of salespeople use social to outsell their peers
  • 67% of B2B buyer’s journey happens online
  • Lead development as a trusted relationship on social is 7x more likely to close

How to ask and implement

To start off, relay all those awesome benefits covered above to both your employees and to corporate!

Next, you’ll need a software platform. Many types of employee advocacy software exist. These allow you to set key success metrics before you begin (we all know data is king). Your success metrics might include the number of shares per employee, popular shares, impressions, top clicks, or cost per impression.

Besides tracking key measurements through metrics, an effective employee advocacy program needs a process that fits into your overall content strategy. Be sure to introduce the process well in advance and thoroughly discuss the roles and responsibilities of those involved. When empowering employees to share brand-related content, address common objections such as:

  • time constraints
  • middle management support
  • privacy and work/life separation
  • lack of social sophistication

One thing that is important to note is that if employees aren’t receptive to the idea, don’t push it. You want people to be enthusiastic about promoting your company and not think of it as a chore. Show employees how easy it is to share content such as blog posts, job descriptions, brand content, e-books/webinars and ensure them they have the support of their managers.

It’s also imperative that you set goals and guidelines for your employees to follow. Answer the question of what it is you want to achieve with employee engagement. Provide employees with verbiage that is appropriate to use or a list of topics they can discuss. But don’t tell them what they “must” do. Encourage them to be brand advocates and provide incentives but don’t forget that it is their time and their personal social accounts. Remember, this is a team effort so make it fun!

Employee advocacy isn’t a new idea. Word of mouth referrals have always been an effective marketing tool but now social media has created a completely different approach. Creating and implementing a program that follows these guidelines will allow your and your team to be successful champions of your brand.

Who are your company’s top advocates? Are you one? And if you’ve used an employee advocacy software program, let us know in the comments if and how it works for your business.

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