With more than two billion people now using social media worldwide – a figure which is set to grow at 25% a year – can you afford to miss out on one of the greatest assets your company has: Your employees?
Nine out of 10 companies are now active on social media networks according to Ryan Holmes, CEO at Hootsuite, and it is estimated between 40 and 50% of staff are already promoting the brand they work for without their employer knowing how to best utilise employee advocacy.
In today’s digital age, social media plays a huge role in marketing and promotion of a company’s brand and using digital communication wisely is paramount to reaching the largest market possible. Content shared from a company’s official accounts is effective to a degree but it can sometimes be thought to be lacking in sincerity and purely marketing driven.
Using employee advocacy is one method of getting around this idea of “official communications” as it demonstrates that the people working for your business have pride and confidence in the brand – enough to share it around their friends and other connections.
According to Jay Baer, President of Convince & Convert, employee social media advocacy gives you Authenticity, Trustworthiness, and Reach. He has seven key guidelines for a successful employee advocacy program:
- You Need Culture – Only corporate cultures rooted in trust can do employee advocacy well.
- You Need Guidelines – Social media participation guidelines encourage participation, they don’t squelch it. (contrary to popular belief, in many cases).
- You Need Options – Social media advocacy doesn’t work at bayonet point. You need to allow your employees to choose the role that fits their skills and interests.
- You Need a Platform – Software that helps the company share content with employees (and vice-versa) is an important part of these programs.
- You Need Metrics – Like anything else in communications, at some point you need to know whether this is working.
- You Need Champions – A big error in employee social advocacy programs is rolling it out all at once. You need to start with the motivated few, get them loving it, and then use their success to bring new employees on board in waves.
- You Need Coaches – This is critical. You must have a system where employees can get honest, private advice and counsel about social media on a day-to-day basis.
By embracing employee advocacy, you are able to increase your engagement goals and social reach, especially if you cross-collateralise that with your existing external marketing efforts. In the longer term, it’s about preparing your brand and employees for the future of how communications will function.
If you’re looking for a tool, or if you’re interested to see what an employee advocacy tool can do for you, here are a few to get you started:
- Circulate.it, which also integrates with Hootsuite
- Command Post
- Dynamic Signal
- Everyone Social
Here at 650hours, as you’d expect, we’re big supporters of employee advocacy and you can often find us blowing our corporate trumpets on our personal social media, usually it relates to the quirky things we’ve been up to or when we’re helping a client promote something we all genuinely believe in – like the Global Dance Card app.Employee-Advocacy