For a large business, an employee advocacy program might feel daunting. Sure, it’s easy to get four employees on board, but an entire company across cities, offices, departments, time zones, and maybe even countries?! You’re dreaming. Except… Employee advocacy programs actually work best when they’re run on a large scale. They require critical mass to make the most impact.
Whether you’re just tapping into the marketing power of an employee advocacy program or are looking to expand yours after seeing excellent results, these are the absolute best ways to scale your employee advocacy program.
Why Employee Advocacy
First things first, why are so many companies making the choice to initiate employee advocacy programs?
- You get more engagement (about 8x more in fact!) and brand awareness
- It’s cheaper than most large marketing campaigns
- You build a more trustworthy image, increasing brand lift
- Employee buy-in indicates a better employee experience and a more educated employee (hello, better customer experience!)
- You build and show off a positive workplace culture
There are plenty more reasons where those come from. At its skinniest, an employee advocacy program is a cheaper way to get your messaging out to a broader audience. If you have 500 employees each with 1,000 connections and they post about your business, that has a potential reach of half a million people. While 80% of businesses have had to reduce their marketing budget, more people than ever are using social media. Combine the two and you have one effective program at a reduced cost.
So, How Do I Scale?
1. Go Big or Go Home
We know that in advertising and marketing, you often want to start small, do some A/B testing, and determine if something has legs before you ramp it up. With employee advocacy programs, starting small will not help you scale. Here’s why:
- You’ll lose upper management buy-in
- You won’t have enough resources or content teed up for your team
- It will be poorly managed
All of the above are crucial components of getting your program to take off, especially at a large, maybe even global scale. Get at least one senior executive to buy into the program from the get-go. Do what it takes to build resources and content for your team that is easy for them to access and share. Hire someone to help you run the program and use an employee advocacy tool or platform for peak organization. The easier and more organized the program is from launch, the better, smoother uptake you’ll see.
2. Get Into the Mindset
With the way social media is embedded in our everyday lives, employee advocacy shouldn’t be a new program, it should just be the way you do things. Shift your business’s mindset into using social media in a positive way and embed it in the culture. Of course, you’ll need to establish a social media policy and so on, but if your employees feel that advocacy is just kind of what you do in your business, it’ll be easier to get on board.
3. Prepare Your Content
We’re not talking about a couple social media posts here or there. An employee advocacy program requires a lot of easily accessible content! Ensure you have tons of current, good content available for your employees to pull from. It can be a lot of work. That’s why many places opt to hire teams like Ghostit to ensure you’ve got everything you need set up in advance to scale your employee advocacy program appropriately.
Another important note when it comes to content is this: You do not want your employees to sound like a corporation. In fact, that’s exactly what you’re trying to avoid by having employees be the voice of your brand.
4. Think About (and Manage) the Global Variables
If you’re a company that spans offices, regions, or even countries, and want your employee advocacy program to be all departments on deck, you have a lot of variables to think about. Mitigating them will ensure a successful scale of your program. What are these variables?
- Cultural differences
- Time zones
- Language barriers
If you want to scale globally, the crucial piece is to communicate and understand the differences between regions and then tailoring the content to fit.
5. Educate Your Employees
As we mention in this blog, “education and employee advocacy go hand-in-hand.” Educate your employees not just on how the advocacy program itself works, but also how to talk about their work, the nuance of their roles, and the company itself.
Education within the employee advocacy program also looks like sharing best practices. Share and celebrate successful posts and advocates and share why they were so successful.
6. Measure Your Results
Chances are, you won’t nail the program right out of the gates. Every business is different, so no matter how many YouTube videos you watch or blog posts you read about building the ultimate employee advocacy program, your business will have nuances that require different tactics! Just like with an advertising campaign, an employee advocacy program needs KPIs so that you know you’re on track. The more data you have, the faster you’ll be able to adjust your efforts and the better results you will get. Measure your results. Share them. Make adjustments. Do it again.
From day one, you should have built-in mechanisms to test and learn from the different ways you add content to your program (or platform!).
Another way to measure your results is to build a feedback loop with your employees about how the program is going and what they hear from their audience. Why have boots on the ground if you don’t listen to them? What your advocates tell you will be way more powerful than any analytics and will allow you to do more of what actually works.
What Do I Measure?
If the whole employee advocacy program relies on KPIs being measured, we’ll assume your next question is going to be, “What do I measure for success?” Here are some of things you want to track:
- Your employees’ appetites for sharing the content you provide (indicates the content resonates with them and is true to your brand)
- How shared content resonates with the audience (look for positive interactions such as likes, comments, shares, or clicks from the people you care about)
- Conversions from social content to your desired webpages
For a more comprehensive list, check out this handy video on YouTube.
TLDR: If you want to scale your employee advocacy program, you need to go big, get organized, provide lots of excellent content, manage the global logistics, educate your team, and constantly monitor and measure your results to make changes as needed. For content that will get results without you lifting a finger, don’t forget to contact us at Ghostit and see how we can help you out with all your content and employee advocacy program needs.