Still a relatively new concept to the online space, employee advocacy is the strategy of letting your employees promote your company as a form of marketing and generally improving your brand’s perception.
People are far more likely to trust employees than a CEO or official social media channel, and word-of-mouth is the most important tool people use when making purchasing decisions.
And if you have a large workforce or an employee base that can connect with the customers, you should do everything in your power to make the most of that while also building a better relationship with those employees.
Still curious about the concept? Here are some things to keep in mind:
Keep Employees Engaged and Informed
If your employees are talking about your company, you should hope that the message being spread is a good one.
Engaged employees are the best and most productive employees, and a good workforce is the base of most success for businesses. Therefore, before you start implementing an employee advocacy program, you want to make sure employees believe in what they are doing and are in-tune with what the company’s message is. You don’t want misinformation or misbranding happening by accident, and your excellent company should focus on what employees need in order to make them satisfied with their work.
Have you ever met someone who is extremely happy about where they work? Your goal is to make your entire workforce that enthusiastic.
Let It Occur Naturally, and Mandate Nothing
Some company leaders might consider the concept of employee advocacy and start drawing up plans to make it mandatory that every employee reaches out on social media. There are few worse ways to go about building trust for your brand than this, for the following reasons:
- Eventually, social media contacts are going to be sick of hearing a sales pitch or company message, and soon block them out of their feeds. Relevant and well-timed messages are the key, and mandates don’t allow for that.
- If employees see advocacy as another chore on their to-do list, they aren’t going to put their best foot forward, especially if their job usually doesn’t relate to social media.
- Employees will soon associate negative thoughts of being forced to do something with their social media posts about your company. That will show in posts, and any private conversations that occur about your company will not be so positive.
Instead, you want to create great opportunities for sharing. Reminders to share are great, but an advocacy program should be a voluntary one. If your employees don’t believe in the products and services you’re providing, then you might want to look internally first before doing some types of marketing. Show your employees just how great what they’re doing is, and they’ll be proud to share!
Establish General Guidelines and Policies
That being said, most businesses should have some form of guidelines in place when it comes to employees talking about the company online. While it doesn’t need to be and shouldn’t be a massive document, you should address the following points ahead of time:
- Potential disclosure of confidential or semi-confidential information.
- Language and inappropriate topics in relation to your brand.
- Specific legal issues which might be appropriate to your industry or product niche.
- Misinformation and misrepresentation of products, employees, or the company in general.
The guidelines and common practices document might take some time and expertise to put together for your business, but it is something your company should have in general anyhow for security and HR purposes. If you already have considered these problems, then you might just want to review and tweak them for employee advocacy purposes.
Make It Easy
If you make employee advocacy easy and something that can they do as they generally browse, they’ll be far more likely to do it. Have posts ready to share or achievements to note on the major platforms. Crafting meaningful and long posts takes time, and your best and most engaged employees might have difficulties finding the time for it.
Also, make sure that there are ways that employees can do this on their platforms of choice. Show them easier ways to share your company’s vision and brand. If this means that your company needs to spend a bit of time educating otherwise eager employees as to how to better use social media, then those resources will be well-spent.
There are many ways to go about starting an employee advocacy program, and it is up to your company to find the very best path. Just remember that your employees are the core and that all good strategies stem from that concept. We hope that the above information allows you to get your employees eager to spread the word of your company and that you get the results you deserve.
Do you have an employee advocacy program at your business already? Are you looking into one? What do you think your strategy will be? Please leave a comment below expressing your thoughts, as we would love to hear them.