How to Build a Successful Employee Advocacy Program (When You Don’t Have Time)
Employee advocacy is probably already on your radar. You know that it’s important, but it’s probably on your “nice-to-have” or “someday” list. It might seem like you don’t have the bandwidth to implement a great employee advocacy program with all the other things you’re doing.
But I’m here to tell you that you can do this. It doesn’t have to be difficult, or time-consuming—and I’m going to show you how.
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Why Launch an Employee Advocacy Program
Launching and leading a successful employee advocacy program is a lot of work. It’s not something you can just set and forget. But the benefits of a program make it all worth it.
- Employee advocacy has become an ever-hotter topic for B2B brands.
- With brands using employee advocacy earning 25%-40% more overall engagement over brands that don’t, it’s easy to see why
- In the State of B2B Social Media Marketing Report, we found that on average, nearly half of CMOs said that employee advocacy was their best performing social media initiative.
The statistics around employee advocacy don’t lie—launching an employee advocacy program benefits both the employee and the brand. By launching an employee advocacy program, you’re:
- Amplifying your brand
- Deepening the trust of your audience
- Engaging in social selling
- Improving employer branding
- Positioning your employees as thought leaders
What’s not to love?
Today, I am going to be uncovering how you can launch an employee advocacy program—even if you feel like you don’t have the time.
How to Get Started with a Successful Employee Advocacy Program
It may be a challenge to get started, but once you find a good routine and start seeing the results, you’ll be motivated to keep going!
Once you decide you want to have a program and get a platform that supports employee advocacy, you’ll need to outline a plan of how you’re going to implement this program.
I could probably talk for 3 hours on how to do this, but I’ll give you a brief overview of what you can expect, and what you should plan for.
You might think you have don’t have the time or the bandwidth, but I’m going to show you how you can be balance things. Once you get started, it’s just about maintaining your advocacy program.
#1. Outline who you want to onboard first
Start small with a pilot. Choose employees who are already active to start.
- Who has built their personal brand on social
- Colleagues who are excited about social and growing their personal brand
- Ask your social enthusiasts to participate: Usually, social enthusiasts are employees in customer-facing roles: marketing, sales, customer success. Not only will they be easier to onboard, but they are also your best bet for demonstrating success from the get-go.
#2. Send out a survey & outline your content strategy
In order to stay relevant on social, your content has to be diverse. You don’t want your advocates to sound spammy and push only corporate content—they are not the corporate channel. A good mix is usually 50% company content, 25% industry content, 25% personal interest content.
You are using your advocates as an additional marketing channel, but don’t forget that you’re also helping them build their personal brands. You want them to be able to make connections and build trust within their own community.
Once you’ve outlined who you want in your program, send a survey to best understand what your advocates care about sharing. It’s really hard to create content for other people to share if you do not understand what they actually care about sharing and posting
Allow for open communication with your advocates. I also encourage my team to send me suggestions and allow them to give me feedback on the posts I create.
#3. Host training sessions to deliver up best practices
Invite your advocates to a group call. It doesn’t have to be a stuffy meeting—you want to keep it social and interesting.
The goal is to make sure that your advocates understand the “why” behind the program. If they understand how employee advocacy impacts not only the brand, but their own careers and job performance, it’ll be a lot easier to get buy-in from them.
Talk through social media best practices, share your best do’s and don’t’s. They’re not going to be social media experts, so you’re going to want to make sure you share your knowledge.
Think about going over:
- Ideal number of posts per day/overall publishing frequency
- How to personalize the messages so they’re relevant to your advocates’ networks
- How to create and maintain their personal brands
Be sure to train your advocates on how to use your employee advocacy platform. Allow some time for questions, comments, and feedback. You want this to be a collaborative experience.
Once you’re up and live, it’s all about finding a routine for creating content and keeping the momentum going.
Advocacy shares will slow down from time to time—that’s totally normal. From time to time, you can launch contests, initiatives, and content blitzes to renew excitement about your employee advocacy program.
#4. Find a routine for creating content
Creating the content and encouraging your advocates to post are most likely going to be the most challenging parts of leading an employee advocacy program.
I have found that making sure you have new content on the board every day keeps your advocates happy.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed in this, you are not alone! I, too, feel overwhelmed with the sheer amount of content needed to maintain a healthy program. Sometimes I sit down and batch content for the week. Other times I will create a few posts a day in preparation for the week ahead
Find what works best for you and stick to it. It’s so easy to fall behind—so staying organized and disciplined will do wonders to combat that.
#5. Keep the momentum going
One of the best ways to keep your advocates motivated is to share results. When they see how they’re impacting the company, driving leads, and improving their own social reach, it’s going to fuel the fire.
I like to share weekly updates on our best of the best advocates. With a great employee advocacy platform, your advocates will also be able to track and measure their own metrics.
Another great way to get them motivated is a bit of friendly competition. 😈
Host a contest with some interesting prizes. Turn employee advocacy into a game with raffles, team competitions, anything you can think of to get them interested.
For example, we are currently running an employee advocacy contest at Oktopost.
Instead of giving prizes to the advocates with the most amount of shares, we switched up a little bit, and we are giving prizes to the top three advocates with the most amount of clicks. This way, advocates are more likely to personalize the posts and use best practices in lieu of blindly sharing content from our advocacy board.
Launching and maintaining an employee advocacy program does take a lot of work, but once you get started and set routines, you will find that you probably have the bandwidth to keep your program going.
The key to building a successful employee advocacy program is to stay organized, rely on your colleagues for inspiration and feedback, and stay as excited about advocacy as you were on day 1. While it’s a lot of work, that work has clear benefits to both your colleagues and your company as a whole—and the added time isn’t worth what you’re leaving on the table.
And of course, a great social media management platform that has native employee advocacy features can’t hurt. 😉