Tapping into the power of employee advocacy offers tremendous benefits for your B2B brand and employees alike. Cost-effective and ROI-positive, employee advocacy allows the marketing team to amplify the company’s message on social media, increasing brand awareness and generating more sales leads.
Likewise, a strong employee advocacy program benefits employees as well, positioning them as thought leaders, expanding their professional networks, and making them feel more engaged with the brand.
But how do you go about setting up an employee advocacy program? How do you make sure it’s effective in achieving all its initial goals? This is the definitive employee advocacy checklist for B2B marketers – every step you need to take to execute a program strategy, engage employees, and measure success.
Before Employee Advocacy Program Launch:
- Establish your program goals: Establishing your program goals is the single most important component of an employee advocacy program. Some examples include: reach more of your target audience, garner more qualified leads for increased sales, recruit new talent for the company. For each goal, define the metrics you’ll use to measure success. E.g. If brand awareness is your goal, then reach or impressions should be your metrics.
- Identify your content strategy: Above all, you need to identify content that is snackable, professional, and aligned with what your employees are interested in sharing. Strive for the 4-1-1 rule: for every 6 pieces of content you provide employees, 4 should be third-party/curated, 1 should be company-related, and 1 should be promotional. It’s also important to properly segment your content by “topics” so employees can easily discover and share relevant materials. For more content best-practices, read this.
- Choose your initial advocates: Ideally, you’d want every employee to participate. But to hit the ground running, focus your efforts on existing social stars – employees who are already comfortable communicating on social media and have the most appetite for sharing. Your senior managers and c-level executives should also be a priority as they can set an example for others! Check out these onboarding best-practices.
- Pick a launch date: It’s time to set a timeline. Depending on the size of your program, you can send a personal message or organize an offsite event, announcing the exciting news and informing employees of the date at which you plan to onboard and train them.
- Demonstrate the value to employees: Let your advocates know what’s in it for them! Everything from thought leadership to increased sales growth, clearly outline these personal benefits. Some companies like to run a pilot program with a small focus group of up to 10 advocates where they can immediately prove results. Without employee buy-in, adoption will become costly and time-consuming.
- Onboard selected employees: Now that you have all the essentials prepared, it’s time to kickstart your program by onboarding the initial group of advocates whom you’ve picked in step 3. These individuals will be able to champion your social presence!
- Hold social media training: From newbies to pros, make sure everyone is equipped with the right tools and skills to become top employee advocates. Your training should include a tour of the company’s social networks, practical tips for building a top-notch profile, review of company guidelines and policy, on-demand videos of employee advocacy tool. Here’s a more in-depth employee advocacy training guide.
Throughout the Employee Advocacy Program:
- Drive employee engagement: Once you’ve launched the program, you need to keep the momentum going. Achieve this through tangible rewards, employee recognition, improved-content relevance, winner announcements, and more! If advocates demonstrate a pattern of disengagement, it’s best to send them reminders or replace them with new members. For more employee engagement ideas, read this.
- Measure program performance: Remember those goals you set at the beginning? Now you can track how your employee advocacy program is performing against those key metrics. It’s best to monitor results on a bi-weekly or monthly basis so you can accurately identify trends and evaluate success.
- Gather employee feedback: Run regular surveys or meetings where employee input can be used to tailor relevant content, build a better rewards system, and improve the overall experience of the advocacy program. Keeping an open-door policy will ensure that your employees remain confident and enthusiastic about sharing content that benefits them and the company.
- Optimize content strategy: Based on your program analytics and the feedback collected from employees, look for ways to improve your messaging, content topics, and posting frequency. If you see that employees are posting a lot of content around Topic A on LinkedIn, give them more of the same!
- Keep advocates informed: Employee advocacy is not a one-off exercise; it’s an ongoing initiative that involves keeping employees engaged and educated. With every industry announcement, social media update, or program insight, inform your employees of the changes to drive their personal commitment.
- Look to expand: Employee advocacy is for everyone! As your program matures and yields positive ROI, you can include additional members and departments. Meanwhile, keep empowering your first ambassadors so they can set the stage for those who aren’t as socially savvy.
Now that you have this handy employee advocacy checklist, discover how Oktopost’s employee advocacy platform can give you the tools to launch, measure, and grow a fruitful program!