In a world where everyone is making noise on social media, it’s a constant battle to rise above it and try and make yourself heard.
This is especially true in the business space, where it’s harder than ever for enterprises to get consumers engaged with content.
But there is a new way, one that adds a touch of personality to social, positively engages your workforce, and can give your brand greater influence, trust and reach at the same time.
It’s called employee advocacy.
What is employee advocacy, then?
Also commonly referred to as social advocacy, it’s the act of using the professional social media accounts of your employees to send out corporate messaging. The core reason for doing this is because it adds a human touch to your social media presence that consumers can more readily connect with.
Think about it this way: it’s far better for someone to read a post or tweet that looks as if it’s come from a real person rather than a faceless corporate account.
That’s a compelling enough reason to deploy an advocacy programme in itself. But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll quickly realise that employee advocacy brings a host of knock-on benefits, too:
Extended reach: there are likely to be lots of people that follow individuals on social media that don’t follow business accounts. So the more people you have sharing content, the larger the potential audience that content could be reaching.
Added authenticity: not only do people connect better with posts that are sent out from employee accounts, but there’s an extra element of trust involved, too.
Communications made on a person-to-person basis feel more honest and conversational, whereas there’s often an assumption made by readers that a corporate account is just trying to sell you something.
Empowered employees: through sharing relevant, interesting content, the employees themselves can give their professional social media profile a real boost. Indeed, many have found themselves becoming respected influencers within their industries, which gives both them and your business extra respect and gravitas with your audiences.
The more proactive among them will go on to generate their own content and messaging ideas that can be implemented within the wider advocacy programme.
So how can I make this happen?
There are four really important things that you need to do to successfully execute an employee advocacy campaign. You can have the best advocacy plans in the world, but that won’t matter if you can’t get employees motivated, proactive and posting in the right way.
1: set clear guidelines for employees. Advocacy works when everyone is working according to a well-defined structure, because it makes the engagement results clearer and more relevant when measured.
So at the outset, it’s critical to explain to everyone taking part how things are going to work. That includes the type of content you’re sharing, who to contact if any problems or queries arise, and the objectives of the programme to bear in mind when posting.
2: ensure everyone has the right skill set. If you’re reading this, then the chances are that you’re probably a bit of a wizard with social media. But that doesn’t mean that every single person in your advocacy programme will be, too.
It’s important to remember that some people will be more proficient than others with various social platforms. So make sure you’re aware of those who need a little help, and try not to over-complicate things too quickly.
3: use consistent, safe messaging. The posts and messaging employees send out should come across as personal. But they should still carry a consistent tone of voice that’s in line with the rest of your company’s marketing campaigns and branding.
These two things don’t have to be mutually exclusive, but there is a certain balance to be struck between personal and professional tones.
4: offer incentives. It’s not uncommon for employee advocates to feel demotivated and start wondering: “Well, what’s in it for me?”. To counter this, it’s worth considering setting up an incentive scheme that rewards success within the advocacy programme.
You could reward the person who got the most likes on a single post, the person who generated the most leads, or the person who has been the most creative with their advocacy. The kind of incentives you offer are, of course, up to you!
This all sounds complicated. Are there any tools or expertise that can help me with this?
There certainly are! All of the considerations mentioned above can be easily managed and controlled using specialist software, and there are plenty of applications available to do this.
As it’s one of the more popular ones around, we’ll use GaggleAMP as an example to explain what these applications can do.
With GaggleAMP, the process of taking part in an employee advocacy programme is made as simple as possible from their perspective. Finding relevant content to share is simplified as it can be filtered by group or department, meaning employees never have to sift through giant content libraries.
There are also mechanisms in place to ensure content intended for one platform doesn’t end up on another, like tweets on LinkedIn, for example.
The software can also be used on mobile as well as desktop, so agile workers or those away for business trips and meetings can still actively advocate. And the results, and as a consequence the incentive schemes too, can easily be monitored and compared using real-time leaderboards.
But what if I need help with content, too?
That’s where seeking the assistance and expertise of a marketing agency really comes into its own. They can provide help with getting employees trained and set up, support with content creation and curation, and ongoing strategic advice.
That way, you can run an employee advocacy programme that starts strong, stays strong and delivers the results your business is looking for.
If you’d like to find out more on running employee advocacy, Creation Agency has the tools and the team to help. Get in touch to learn more about what we do and how we do it.