If there's one thing we want you to know about social media employee advocacy, it's that it can be particularly effective – we've already shared some impressive numbers with you. But it's time to dive deeper into how to create an effective advocacy program at your business.
Before we get started on organizational tips, keep in mind that you are asking employees to do extra work, even if it's mostly work on social media. A powerful social media employee advocacy program will make room in the workday for these activities. We're not saying that you have to create an "advocacy hour," but it is important to examine your policies on social media use and time management. Which brings us to our first point:
1. Careful Social Media Rules
If you ban social media at work, employees can't really advocate effectively. Advocacy requires a clear set of social media rules that control how social media is used – and how much it should be used each day, even for professional purposes. The rules should also limit what channels that employees use: You may only want them to use LinkedIn or Twitter, for example. Choose specifics based on your goals, and construct a workplace use of social media that supports advocacy, not wasted time.
2. Tool Recommendations
If you want to make a social media employee advocacy program a long-term part of your business, one of the best decisions you can make is choosing a platform that employees can use. A number of platforms may be useful for this: NextBee excels at referrals and advocacy in addition to many other brand tools. Circulate.it focuses on simpler team sharing via a handy email system.
3. Style Guidelines
Do you have a marketing style guideline for creating content? Forward it to your employees! They need information on how to talk about products and what tone the business prefers (even those who should already know could probably use a reminder).
4. Weekly Updates
Make it a habit to send weekly-ish updates to your employees about advocacy work. You can use this to praise advocacy efforts, ask employees to talk about a particular product, or ask for them to mention a certain upcoming deal or event. It keeps advocacy focused and current.
5. Individual Assignments (And More Time Management)
As you use advocacy strategies, you'll probably find that there are a few employees who are very good at it. They get the process, they have lots of followers who pay attention, they can turn over successful leads, and so on. It's smart to target these employees and give them some deeper advocacy assignments, if appropriate. Keep in mind, however, that they'll also need more time to work on these assignments. Also remember that if you have them create new content outright, they should always mention that they work for your company.
6. Creative Incentives
There are many ways to encourage employees to share your content. Sometimes the more subtle methods work best: In-house, we once offered employees a free LinkedIn profile audit, including tips on improving their resumes, in exchange for video testimonials. The point is that offering straightforward prize money isn't always the best idea (and is tricky, legally speaking), but there are many ways to award employees.
For more specific examples of employee advocacy among the big brands, check out these case studies from Link Humans. If you are ready to start your own advocacy program, take a look at our presentation on building employee advocacy that includes specific tactics for communication to employees about what actions they should take!