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26 September 2018

How to make your employee advocacy program successful

Employees have become highly valuable actors in terms of social media and their impact on companies. Indeed, they can increasingly boost marketing, communication, sales and HR business results. Knowing the benefits companies can obtain by having their employees engaged on social media, they are highly recommended to develop employee advocacy programs that provide a focus point for all social media brand ambassadors. 

How to run a successful social media advocacy program

After following the specific steps to launch this kind of program, companies should also consider several tips to ensure their program goes as smoothly as possible. 

1. Provide the best content to share

The content manager must create content that employees can share by taking into account employees’ interests. Indeed, the content should bring value not only for targeted consumers but also for employees, otherwise they would not want to be involved. The topics should be varied and not only focused on the company. In general, a great employee advocacy mix consists of 25% company-related content and 75% value-added content that is not directly related to the company. Don’t hesitate to ask them what kinds of content they prefer to adjust your content strategy.

“One of the things we wanted in an employee advocacy platform was a tool that could bring in information, articles, and content that people were personally interested in, and not just a tool that would help them push Dell content.”  —  Amy Heiss from Dell

2. Encourage employees to share

Even if employees say they are motivated to participate in your program, don’t wait for them to act, push them to do so.  You can do it by sending them newsletters with post suggestions they might share, or even reminder emails. Additionally, encourage them to do so face-to-face. Never stop encouraging them; otherwise they will stop doing it. The program supervisor should not be the only one supporting them in being socially engaged. The whole company has to do it.

At Coolblue, the CEO, Pieter Zwart, is leading by example on social media by being quite active with his company.

A share with a personal comment is always more valued than a simple share without any personalized message. Therefore, encourage them to put a comment with their shares to boost your results. Messages coming directly from social connections are always received much better than messages from companies and get better results. Hence, don’t hesitate to suggest to your employees to directly post your company’s posts on their own profile.

>Producing personal company-related content is the best action you can get from your ambassadors. Don’t hesitate to also encourage them to do so if they are already quite active on social media. Always have in mind that you have to go step by step. Don’t ask too much of them at the start to let them evolve at their own pace in your program.

3. Measure the result and adjust your strategy 

Regularly review the results of your posts and your employees’ engagement according to your goals and KPIs, to adjust your program’s strategy if needed. To easily track what your employees are writing about you, have them use a specific hashtag created for your ambassadors program.

Reebok’s ambassadors are highly encouraged to share their passion for fitness on social media by also using a provocative hashtag #FitAssCompany. Starbucks considers its ambassadors as its partners and created the hashtag #tobepartner.

To facilitate your employee advocacy management and to track results, various tools exist to support you such as LinkedIn Elevate, Ambassify, Trapit, <span">Sociabble, Hootsuite Amplify. Take the time to review them to see which one could suit you best.

4. Thank your ambassadors

Celebrating your employees for their contribution in your advocacy program is crucial to boost their engagement. In general, employees appreciate knowing that the work they do is worthwhile, so don’t hesitate to tell them that their efforts positively impact the business. Celebration can come in different ways, such as formal or informal discussions, during a meeting and through an internal company newsletter. You can also organize activities like an ambassadors’ lunch and offer them goodies or ‘schwag’ to thank them. Don’t hesitate to spoil them — it will make others eager to join the program as well.

Follow the tips above and develop your employee advocacy program in the way that best suits your employees. To go further, if your program works well, don’t hesitate to push your advocacy program out of social media and encourage employees to be your online — and offline — ambassadors.

For more information about employee advocacy, read the article 
Your employees, your best brand ambassadors.

References
BambuHootsuite and LinkedIn.

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