Expand Your Reach With Employee Advocacy : Here You Know
It is now a fact that no one knows what marketers do. While this may have been accepted in the pre-internet age and even in the early years of this century, no excuse is valid anymore in the social media age for two reasons:
- First, virtually everyone uses social media daily. Indeed, if you are reading this post, social media brought you here.
- Second, B2B buyers are people, too, so they turn to social networks to get their jobs done. Most marketing teams already harness the potential of social media, using it as a channel to generate demand. Also, if you leverage the potential of your employees outside of the marketing team, your social media reach will be further strengthened. Failing to promote the use of social media among your employees through the use of employee advocacy programs could instead result in a significant loss of opportunity.
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3 Ways To Promote The Use Of Social Media Among Your Employees
Before we get into the concept of employee advocacy specifically, it’s good to remember that while the following three ideas are simple, their application can be challenging. Indeed, any change requires constant efforts, training, communication, and enablement. However, once you gain some level of familiarity, the results you can achieve will blow your mind.
Define Your Goals Clearly
It’s virtually only possible to achieve results by clearly defining your goals. The initial efforts will be greater but pay off in the long run. First, make sure your company has a clear policy in terms of social media. This is not about a formal, legal-sounding policy inviting people to “contact the HR team if you have any other concerns” but a humane and honest environment where employees can express themselves freely and without fear. How your team members behave on social media should be the same as in the office or at a conference.
While it’s impossible to control what your employees post, it’s important to note that their online behavior can have the same consequences as offline behavior. It will therefore be of little use to ask your employees to “promote the next webinar on LinkedIn” and close the matter there. They will likely repost the post without adding anything personal. It would help if you had clear goals to maximize employee engagement and achieve satisfactory results. Are you aiming to increase the number of registrations for your events? To drive traffic to your site? To something else? First, defining what you mean by success and drafting clear and specific guidelines will give you a more precise idea of what to ask your employees, increasing their level of involvement.
Give Your Employees The Tools They Need
Only some join an organization with the same social media knowledge as marketers. Some employees may need to know their enormous potential in promoting the corporate image and mission. Another thing to keep in mind is that not all people are comfortable with social media. And that’s okay. After all, it’s not about getting 100% adherence!
While no one should be forced to participate in social media promotions, you can still entice the undecided into your business by providing them with the tools they need so they can see the benefits first-hand. In this regard, you can include the participation of consultants or provide your team with templates and frameworks to work from. Once these tools are implemented within your organization, it is important to enhance their effectiveness by:
- Internal communication: Use any company collaboration tools you have, such as the company intranet, communication channels, internal newsletters, and any other format that your employees feel comfortable with.
- Learning: Always ask for employee feedback. You can only expect to improve by knowing or ignoring existing problems.
- Reflection: not all feedback is the same and should not be evaluated similarly. Be sure to consider several factors, such as where the feedback comes from, how many people report the same issue, etc.
Like in an always-on marketing campaign, enabling your employees to use social media to advance their careers, share their successes, and build connections is critical.
Encourage Your Employees
Anyone who believes it is enough to give a one-time direction to a group of people to expect tasks to be completed without a hitch is either extremely optimistic or has never worked in a team. Suppose you intend to involve your whole company in your social media marketing strategy. In that case, you will not only have to specify your objectives, but you will also have to leverage the behavior of your employees, providing examples to be taken as a model and rewarding your team’s efforts.
Making social media a corporate strategy will go much further if executives are also involved: the latter are active on social media, and commenting on other people’s posts will indicate your initiative’s seriousness. Internal competition is also an effective method to increase the level of engagement. Adopting a gamification strategy for social media will allow you to achieve your goals and make the whole process fun. For example, let’s say your company is trying to promote registrations for an upcoming event.
You can give each employee a unique attendee registration link, a generic idea of what to say, and then give them free paper. Using marketing attribution software or a web analytics tool, you can easily track the activity of your employees and reward the best performers. You’ll find out how far some of them are willing to go, even if it’s just to brag to their colleagues. You can also provide rewards through holidays, gift cards, awards, or any other prize that motivates participation. However, remember that it is very unlikely that you will achieve 100% adherence, but rewarding those who make the extra effort is still essential.
Integrate Employee Advocacy Into Your Promotional Plans
This point applies to any campaign planning. However, it is important to remember that whenever you add a promotional channel to your business strategy, you must integrate it into your plans and articulate its meaning in detail. It will, therefore, not be sufficient to add the item “social media promotion” to your project management software and consider the operation concluded. Instead, you should break the project into smaller parts and tasks to have a complete and detailed picture of who is doing what, when, and why.
This means knowing in detail what your marketing team is doing, what actions will be taken to enable sales, and how closely the rest of the organization will be involved. Remember that while it may initially feel like you can move forward, you probably won’t (and won’t) be able to and will need some good planning beforehand. It’s worth investing the time upfront to avoid last-minute changes.
Recruit With Employee Advocacy In Mind
Another way to integrate employee advocacy company-wide is to identify the skills of your current and incoming employees. Did your company hire an employee with ties to an existing brand who can complement your efforts? Are there people in your team with respectable followings on social networks? These are all important aspects to consider when launching or improving an employee advocacy program.
Whether it’s cybersecurity, healthcare, or insurance, there are people in authority you can turn to for advice, best practices, or advice. Even with employee advocacy marketing, you can do the same thing. You will only have to try to identify the person (or people) inside or outside your reference organization to expand your range of action. Suppose it’s a high-level executive, great! But it’s even better if someone with extensive knowledge in the field or involved on the front lines of the industry is involved. The impact and resonance of their advice will be even greater!
Everyone Working On Social Media
Employee advocacy marketing should represent the entire team’s efforts and involve everyone, not just the company’s social media marketing manager. To do this, you will need the following:
- Define goals in advance and integrate them into your action plans
- Identify existing employees in your company who can help you
- Provide your team members with the tools and training they need
- Promote ongoing support
- Social media marketing is certainly not a one-time operation. Every network changes, every team evolves, and your brand is certainly no less. It follows that your efforts will also have to go hand in hand.