Brands always rely on ‘word of mouth marketing’ and customer referrals to increase their market share. With the advent of social media and digital technologies, your employees are becoming the marketing engine of your business. They hang out in different social media channels and share updates to build their personal brand. Organizations today shouldn’t miss out this incredible opportunity to transform their employees into trusted brand advocates. In today’s digital world, employee advocacy is becoming an important component of online marketing strategy. Modern marketers are embracing this new marketing communication channel to improve their earned media presence online.
Employees are the most trusted of all other key stakeholders in the company. Here are 5 best practices to nurture your employee advocacy program:
1. Make Employee Engagement a Priority
During the planning phase of implementing employee advocacy program, involve human resources professionals to devise an actionable internal communication strategy. The primary goal of this campaign is to highlight the importance of employee engagement and how advocacy can play a pivotal role in improving overall employee engagement. The role of human resources is very critical. They make sure that employees are aware of the potential of leveraging employee advocacy during onboarding sessions. The bottom-line is to make employee advocacy a part of your company culture. Explain WIFME (what’s in it for me) in detail to your potential employee brand advocates.
2.Create a Social Media Policy
There are risks involved in engaging employees to evangelize your brand online. Go ahead and create a social media policy. Outline a few protocols that provide clear directions in regards to social media etiquette and the acceptable online behaviors of employee brand advocates. Make it a live document and keep updating it based on the way employees’ communication online. Embed your employee advocacy guidelines into your organization’s social media policy as well. In a nutshell, this policy empowers and enables your employee brand advocates to be mindful while acting on the behalf of your company brand and gently remind them to be good social citizens overall.
3.Select the Right Employee Advocacy Platform
There are an ample number of employee advocacy solutions available in today’s marketplace. The onus lies with business leaders across the line of business (LOBs) to choose the right tool for their business needs. Just remember, an actionable employee advocacy plan and the right tool play an important role in determining the success of your employee advocacy program.
4.Test and Learn Approach (Pilot program)
Today, employees are empowered with many digital communication tools within an organization. It is a challenging task for business leaders to introduce one more communication tool and ask employees to hop on to it. When introducing your employee advocacy program, don’t make participation mandatory. It’s always better to launch a pilot program among a small group of employees. Try to drive real business use cases using the test and learn approach for garnering more attention for your new employee advocacy program. This instills confidence in the minds of your potential brand advocates and enables them to build their personal brand and employer brand online.
5.Offer Diverse and Good Quality Content
Develop a curated content strategy that addresses the different content needs of your employees. Apart from sharing brand content, feel free to organize and group content by product, sales, communication, human resources, marketing and so on. Ask your employee brand advocates to share curated content that enables them to become an industry thought leader. They’ll also build their personal brand on social media. Some of the content types you can use are e-books, videos, images, blogs, case studies, industry trends, infographics, podcasts and more.
In a nutshell, your employees are the most untapped marketing resource within your organization. Make it easy for your employees. Let them volunteer to participate and you will guarantee the success of your employee advocacy program in the long run. Your employees represent the human face of your online brand. Leverage their valuable social connections across LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. The onus lies with modern marketers and HR professionals to make employee advocacy a company-wide social engagement activity. HR must then move the employee advocacy program across all departments in the entire organization.
Implementing an employee advocacy program is a Herculean task. But organizations that follow the best practices above can expect a successful implementation of this program. Unleash the power of employee brand advocates to build your earned media presence digitally!
Have you implemented an employee advocacy program for your company? What were your successes? What were your fails? Join the conversation.
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