I am a big believer in online employee advocacy for a company or brand. The main thing about social channels is people trust people more than they trust brands. When I’m sharing info about the industry, people in my network will listen more closely than they would if it were coming from my company’s brand handles.
The real challenge of getting a good employee advocacy program moving is using an authentic voice. That is to say, an employee who tweets a link to every blog you post with just the title of the blog and a link isn’t doing anything wrong, but the action is not authentic. Your employee advocacy group needs content of its own, and that doesn’t just mean sending out links to the blog and a reminder to share at every company meeting.
Instead, think of what some of the most influential social media players do – they curate content and provide applicable insights. Employee advocacy tools like Voicestorm (one of my favorites) makes this process much simpler. What Voicestorm and other programs do is allow people to see recent posts, updates and content then choose which ones they want to share. And advanced features make the largest impact.
You can create groups based on employee titles or job descriptions. They will only see content that applies to them. A network engineer may not be interested in, or have the same audience as, a regional sales director. Several Raidious B2B clients have many different service lines across a wide variety of industries. The filtering and subset options become vital to their execution of their employee advocacy program.
This doesn’t just have to be your own content too. In fact, it shouldn’t be. You can also share links about the industry that are relevant, earned media content about your company and more. You are basically creating a stash of links and content that will benefit your employees by giving them something to share as well as benefitting your brand.
Common Questions About Employee Advocacy Tools
I have encountered many questions while implementing these for tools clients. Here are a few of the most common ones:
Is a structured advocacy program forcing employees to share? How is that authentic?
Forcing anyone to do anything makes it difficult to be authentic; if you’re providing a useful tool and informative content you’re likely to get better engagement.
What about our global services? We are in over 30 countries with different languages and cultures.
There are enterprise-ready tools that can put content in multiple languages as well as have human review of cultural taboos (e.g. having an image in India of people shaking with their left hands).
We are a highly regulated industry. Can we have employees creating content that may run afoul of regulations?
You can set up guard rails for compliance. This includes tagging for certain keywords that cannot be used as well as approval layers.
We’re a not-for-profit, how can we benefit?
It’s not just employees who can be a part of these tools. Board members, volunteers, alumni and others are just as (if not more) important advocates as employees. You are always asking them to share upcoming events; now you can make that even easier!
What are best practices for posting?
The same best practices apply, that means images, good use of hashtags and good links. Ultimately, by using one of these tools you are making sharing easier for employees to meet best practice standards every time they share.
What does starting an advocacy program look like?
However you want. You can do it yourself or we can handle the setup, the monitoring and assign a workflow. Each instance can be designed to meet your needs. We can even create and curate the content that appears every time a user logs in.
It may sound like a lot, but effective employee advocacy programs increase impressions, authenticity and brand validity. Getting your brand message through the side door of employee networks isn’t just another channel, it’s a whole new platform.