We recently did a training session on social media employee advocacy for a client and thought that it would be a nice idea to share the information in a blog post.
Employee advocacy is where your staff promote your organisation through their personal channels. When using social media, it becomes a huge avenue for increasing your brand’s exposure.
Your employees spend a lot of spare time on social media.
(Source: Pew Research Center)
If an employee shares quality content through their online channels, it has the potential to be seen by everyone in that network. This is a much larger contact base than simply posting to people that are already engaged in your brand.
Personal profiles are also rated higher than company pages by Facebook and so the content has a higher potential to be viewed by users.
Free(ish) – you already have employees on the payroll and so having employees share the content is a free way to promote your content.
Trusted – 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family above all forms of advertising (Nielsen).
Engagement – when an employee distributes content it is shared 8 times more frequently (Social Media Today).
An employee advocate can:
It’s a great idea to get your employees on board with online brand advocacy, but you do need to remember that it can’t be forced. It needs to be completely voluntary. Here are a few ways to encourage your staff members to engage with you online:
Your company culture will have an impact on how your employees engage with your brand and whether they'd want to.
Only employees that are genuine lovers of a brand would bother engaging with the company outside work hours.
You can create a positive company culture by organising social activities, like after work yoga, pub quizzes or subsidised gym membership. This will give your staff an opportunity to think about your company on a social level – they’ll also really appreciate the benefits!
Provide your staff with social media training. Introduce the topic of ‘Brand Advocacy’ to let them know that you’d like them to get involved online.
Employees that have been trained in social media, will have more knowledge about how to optimise content and when to share posts, which will yield more reach and engagement.
Employees trained in social get:
As part of your training, you should introduce guidelines. Let them know exactly what they should and shouldn’t do when referencing the brand. Highlight what is polite online behaviour and discourage online abuse, trolling or abusive language. You should also be aware that these are their personal accounts so there is the potential for your brand to be juxtaposed with potential unsavoury content.
If they mention that they work for your organisation in their Twitter profile, have them mention that ‘All opinions expressed on this profile are my own and do not represent the views of *brand*.’
You shouldn’t have to worry too much about content on LinkedIn because this is a professional networking site and therefore any content that your staff members share should reflect this tone.
Share your social media guidelines to all staff and provide an FAQ section. You also want to nominate a key person that can answer any questions that they may have.
4. Keep them updated
To keep your employees engaging with your content online then you have to keep them informed. If you have a social media manager or key contact that is responsible for the brand advocates then make sure that they regularly contacting employees when content goes live.
This can be done using the following:
Let them know how beneficial their social advocacy is by sharing the metrics with them every month. Show off the most effective posts with the most reach or engagement. They’ll be able to identify what they’ve done, and see what makes good content for the future. You can start making incentives to encourage staff.
We like to offer pizzas to the most productive team on the last Friday of the month.
6. Take suggestions
A good way to demonstrate your appreciation for your employees is by letting them have an opinion. Create a suggestion box for them to come up with their own ideas. It’s also a great way to get their creative juices flowing and get your employees to think about social advocacy.
7. Turn employees into content creators
Are your stuff coming up with great ideas for content creation? Encourage them to begin writing a blog post that they can post online. This could be about relevant industry news or information. Your employees will be the experts in their field so will be able to speak with authority on a subject. Have they been involved with a charity event at work? Encourage them to take a selfie at a work cake sale and post it on Instagram. Even if the social media post isn’t directly related to the brand it will show off the company culture and you’ll show your staff that what matters to them is important to you.
8. Identify Social Champions
Discover who your ‘social champions’ are. These will be the vanguard of your new brand advocate campaign. Ask around to see who would like to get involved, encourage those who attended your training session, or see who is already engaging with you online.
Use the above ideas and start small, to begin with. Once you’ve seen what works and how effective your brand advocates are you can start encouraging other members of staff.
9. Create Goals (KPIs)
Have an idea of what you want your employee advocacy campaign to achieve. Typical measurements that you can track are:
Track the increases in the data and see how many staff members were involved with the campaign. You will begin to create a picture of the impact of brand advocacy.
Do you want some more advice on encouraging your staff to become employee advocates?
Charlie started at Blue Frontier in 2017. He brings with him a passion for creative writing and experience in content and social media - his favourite channels being Twitter and Instagram. Charlie is also developing his knowledge and skills in SEO, hoping to combine these skills to help businesses with their online visibility.