As social media continues to grow in importance for businesses, employee advocacy programs have become an increasingly popular strategy for larger companies looking to expand their reach and increase engagement. By encouraging employees to share company messages and content on their personal social media channels, companies can tap into the power of their employees' networks and amplify their brand message.
However, employee advocacy strategies can be tricky to execute effectively. To help you avoid some common pitfalls and get the most out of your employee advocacy plan, we've put together a list of dos and don'ts to keep in mind.
Do: Start with your goals
Before you start building your employee advocacy program, it's important to define what you want to achieve. Are you looking to increase brand awareness? Drive traffic to your website? Generate leads? Once you have a clear understanding of your goals, you can tailor the content you’re going to create and provide to your employees to achieve these specific.
Understanding where you want to go will help you create content that aligns with these goals. Starting from your goals means you’ll also put the right KPIs in place to track how effective your employee advocacy program is.
Don't: Assume your employees have the knowledge or time to craft the content
While your employees may be enthusiastic about sharing company content, they may not have the time or skills to create their own messages, images, graphics, and more. To make it easy for them, provide pre-approved content that they can share on their social media channels. This will ensure that your message is consistent and on-brand, and it won’t make your team feel like they suddenly have a huge new task to take on.
Do: Provide multiple ways for employees to act as advocates
Not all employees will be present on all social media channels or on social media at all. To get the most out of an employee advocacy social media strategy, be sure to provide alternative ways for them to act as advocates and content that is optimized for a variety of social media platforms. Perhaps you also allow more enthusiastic members, or staff members without social media accounts, to write guest blog posts or share content internally with their colleagues.
Don't: Dictate every message with no flexibility
While it's important to have consistent messaging, it's also important to allow and encourage your employees to add their own personal touch. Give them some flexibility to customize the message and make it their own.
A great way to allow for a bit of creative freedom while still having a say in how the business is branded online is to craft a variety of different messages that employees can pick and choose from. Having numerous messages means that there’ll be a lot of variety in the messaging instead of the same template on numerous personal channels, but you don’t have to worry about it being off-brand.
Do: Have a social media policy
To avoid any potential missteps, it's important to have a social media policy in place. This should outline what is and isn't allowed when it comes to sharing company content on social media, as well as any guidelines around appropriate behavior.
Pro tip: have a content team or a content agency write the content that employees can pick and choose from so that you know it follows the social media policy without forcing every department to read and understand the social media policy and social media marketing vision of the brand.
Don't: Allow your employees to freely speak on behalf of the company (online chat forums)
While you want to encourage your employees to share company messages, it's important to ensure that they aren't speaking on behalf of the company in a way that could be damaging to your brand. Make sure that your messaging is consistent and that your employees are aware of any legal or regulatory guidelines that apply. What you want to avoid here is employees feeling compelled to respond on the company's behalf on chat forums such as Quora or Reddit. It’s best to empower your employees to share content while avoiding engaging in online forums and chats as an advocate or representative of the company.
Do: Have measurable KPIs and trackable links
To gauge the success of your program, it's important to have measurable KPIs in place. This could include metrics like website traffic, social media engagement, or lead generation. To track these metrics, use trackable links to see which content is getting the most engagement. This will also help you to reward team members who are rock star advocates!
Don't: Force people to participate (but do reward those that do!)
While you want to encourage as many employees as possible to participate in your program, it's important to remember that participation should be voluntary. However, it's also important to recognize and reward those employees who do participate. With trackable links or online platforms like Oktopost, it’s easy to see who is sharing what and the different KPIs you may be monitoring, such as engagement. If you’re going to reward team members, be sure it’s a reward that works!
Do: Provide content for your team
To make it easy for your employees to participate in your program, provide them with pre-approved content that they can share on their social media channels. This content should be engaging, shareable, and aligned with your brand message.
Your employees don’t want another responsibility added to their plate, they want to promote your awesome business but without the time commitment.
At Ghostit, we understand the importance of employee advocacy and can help you create compelling, engaging, and unique content that employees can easily share on their own social media channels. By working directly with your marketing, PR, or communications team, we can ensure that your messaging is consistent and on-brand. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you create an effective employee advocacy strategy that delivers results.