Employees make the best advocates. Who better to upvote your company or product than those who are already intimately involved and positively acquainted? Creating an employee advocacy program can help lead generation, positive name recognition, and more, all from people who can put a genuine, real message out to their personal networks.
What is Employee Advocacy?
Employee advocacy can look slightly different, depending on what part of the organization you’re coming from. In general, however, employee advocacy is using your employees as part of a company or product’s digital marketing efforts. This could mean many things. One example is having them create and share their own content on their personal accounts, like as snapping a photo at a company picnic or employee appreciation event, or exciting work projects. An even more effective idea is having your employees be a part of the overall engagement strategy, by engaging with their own personal network about the organization or product. At the end of the day, it’s engagement that builds relationships, not just the sharing of content.
Establishing Employee Advocacy:
Employee advocacy sounds great in theory, but getting your employees to come on board may be difficult if you don’t have the right strategy. In order to get your employees involved, it’s best to think of things in terms of a win-win scenario. You know that employee advocacy will be great for you as a leader or marketer because you’re getting more engagement for your project or brand. But what’s in it for the employee? Thinking about it from that perspective is the first step. A few ways to incentivize people to get engaged include a rewards program and leadership boards. Whatever you do, it should be beneficial to the employees and have some sort of reward component to encourage their participation.
Impacts of Successful Employee Advocacy:
One of the most significant benefits of a successful employee advocacy program is lead generation. You’re getting the message out there in a way that is subtle, non-evasive, genuine and cuts through the noise. There’s also the awareness factor because even if there’s no engagement, you’re making others familiar with your business or product. This creates an affinity for the brand through conversation and engagement.
Keeping the Evolution:
The program that you plan for is going to be different after 30 days, 60 days, 3 months, etc. You’re going to see successes and failures, your employees are going to report back on the things that they’re doing versus what they don’t want to do, and the employee advocacy program is going to be ever-evolving as things continue. It’s important for leaders to take the feedback of their employees, and make adaptations as needed for the betterment of the program as a whole, and for the employees who are doing the advocating.
Overseeing Employee Advocacy:
Employees have a lot of autonomy in their advocacy, which can lead to concern about the quality of the content they’re putting out and the conversations that they’re having. There are a few things that leaders can do in order to shape the actions of their employees. Social media policies are the go-to for many companies, but many of these policies explore the things that are prohibited. One additional tip is to add positive things that employees can do and traits that employers want to encourage. It teaches the employees what is appropriate and how they can have the most impact and value. Don’t just tell your advocates what they can’t do, tell them what they can do! This is one of the best ways to be involved in the process while still letting the employees be autonomous in their engagement and interactions.