Originally posted on LinkedIn by Kevin Kirby.
Word-of-mouth is still considered to be the most valuable form of marketing, and the prevalence and omnipresence of social media has made word-of-mouth accessible to marketers through a variety of forms of influencer marketing.
Employee advocacy programmes can make up an important component in the overall communication mix of any company but, to get the most out of the programme, it is important to get the basics right. Here are a few thoughts on what to consider when embarking on your programme.
1. Start with a targeted group of passionate employees:
- Find those individuals in your organisation that are already super-invested in your brand. These individuals do not all need to be senior or in sales but can come from anywhere in your organisation.
- Often these employees will already be active on your behalf and some of them may simply be needing your “permission” to start being active advocates.
2. Tailor your programme to be both brand and employee-centric:
- Don’t just force content ideas down the throats of the participants that push a certain type of post. Get a handle on their likes and dislikes and generate themes that support their natural behaviour.
- Constantly remind the participants of the need to post new content and share that of their colleagues.
3. Don’t try and restrict content to company content:
- Allowing a diversity of content keeps the employee engaged and also assists that their platforms are not being viewed as business specific (and perhaps not authentic).
- There is also a lot of content that can be curated that may not be company specific but may be industry specific. News and tips about the industry keeps the feed relevant and interesting to a wider audience. Importantly, ensure that posts such as these give credit where necessary and do not infringe on copyrights.
4. Ensure that activity takes place on an appropriate channel:
- If your business is predominantly B2B, then it is more likely that a channel such as LinkedIn will be better suited for the majority of the team’s activity. If, for example, you are a caterer in a B2C market, Instagram may be a better choice as it will be able to visually highlight your product and services.
- Don’t force employees to engage on platforms that they may deem private. So, if for example an employee requests to keep their Facebook feed restricted to their own personal news, then that should be respected.
5. Put measurable objectives in place, monitor these, and provide feedback:
- Not only is it important to measure the ROI on the programme, but these metrics can also be used to provide guidance and direction to employees on the programme.
- Decide upfront on what the areas that will be covered by the programme. Considerations include: social selling, recruitment, CSI announcements, change management; brand advocacy, and company news.
- Consider creating some friendly competition among participants that will encourage them to keep applying themselves and improve their “results”.
6. Get the right Employee Advocacy partner on board:
- Employee Advocacy efforts will often fail as a result of companies appointing an existing internal resource to drive their programmes. It is then not unusual that focus is lost as these individuals are stretched for time and capacity.
- External partners, such as theIntern-ship, are equipped with both the expertise and the experience to successfully run your Employee Advocacy programme. Your programme partner should be one that: understands the advocacy business and has extensive experience in the field of influencer marketing, takes time to understand your business and the goals that you need to achieve from the programme, trains and coaches the chosen employee advocates, continually prompts the employees on content and the need to post and share, measures the results and provides feedbackto the company and the employee advocates.
The list above is by no means exhaustive, and there may also be many company and industry specific considerations that would need to be factored in to the overall programme to drive its success. It is important that Employee Advocacy programmes are run properly to ensure that they do not lose enthusiasm and impetus. Done well, they can deliver fantastic and meaningful results.