You can measure the success of an employee advocacy program in several ways—from impacting brand awareness to supporting demand-generation to bolstering hiring through employee referrals.
Any way you slice it, it’s important to get that good news in front of your executive team, connecting your efforts directly back to the organization’s overarching business objectives.
For starters, consider the impact employee advocacy has on brand awareness. Then, look at the influence your program has over your demand-generation activities. These are the two most common ways we see customers measuring their employee advocacy programs today.
Let’s take a look at each one and make some recommendations for how to quantify your success.
If you boil down brand awareness in the social media space to a single metric, it’s impressions. Through impressions, you can measure the number of eyeballs that see your brand, thanks to your employee advocacy program.
How to measure impressions
Measuring impressions through an employee advocacy program is simple. The impact you can show to the organization is directly dependent on the number of people you have participating in your program. Cast a wide net inside your organization. Invite your recruiting and talent team (social sourcing is a big deal to them), your marketing team, executive leadership, sales (social selling, anyone?) and those subject matter experts responsible for driving your products and services. Bringing in these teams will increase your ability to show a true impact on impressions in the program, which can then be tied to a greater level of brand awareness.
The number of connections matter.
After you know how many people are active in your employee advocacy program, look at the total number of connections they have across their social networks. Multiply that number by the total number of people you have inside your program.
Calculating your results.
The result is the number of impressions you can generate for your brand if everyone shares the same story. Now, in an ideal world, it would be that easy to measure impressions with respect to your employee advocacy program. But we know nothing is ever that simple. So let’s take a look at a real-world example and determine the number of impressions we generated through our employee advocacy program for one story.
A real-world example.
If we have 1,000 employees participating in an employee advocacy program, we can expect 10% of the population to share any given story. That’s 100 people. If each of those people, on average, have 850 social connections, they will generate 85,000 impressions on a story.
Measure your success.
So how do we translate this into a success metric that everyone agrees is powerful? Take a look at another area your business that is paying for impressions. Your digital marketing activities probably include a paid search, paid social or display advertising component. In all cases, cost per thousand impressions (CPM) is a common metric used to measure these programs.
If we assume a CPM on Twitter for a targeted audience, then we see that, in order to generate 85,000 impressions using a paid social model, it would cost just under $1,000. That’s a powerful statement about employee advocacy. A single-story shared by 10% of the employee population (if 1,000 people are participating) has the same impact as $1,000 spent on your paid social efforts.
Let’s take this even further:
- $1,000 is the equivalent amount spent on paid social to have the same reach as a single employee advocacy share.
- The number of stories shared per day is approximately one to two per employee.
- There are 21 business days in a typical month.
That’s $31,500 spent on paid social in order to match the results you will see from an employee advocacy program. And that’s just on Twitter! You can expand this out to LinkedIn and Facebook as well.
Do you have a high-performing website that brings in leads for your sales organization? Or maybe you have a series of landing pages that seek to get in front of people when they have questions about a gap that your product can fill? Assuming this is the case, you can use your employee advocacy program to measure the impact it has on your demand generation efforts.
How do you measure the impact?
Measuring the impact here is a bit trickier than measuring the impact on brand awareness, but it can be done if you have the right tracking capabilities in place. What you want to show is how your employee advocacy efforts are impacting the top of the funnel when it comes to generating qualified leads.
To do this, you need a connection between your employee advocacy program and your web analytics platform. The most common way to create this connection is through UTM tracking parameters. UTM tracking parameters enable you to track stories shared inside of your employee advocacy platform and the correlated traffic these stories generate on your website or landing pages.
There’s no magical formula to make this connection. We simply look at the level of traffic you’re generating from your employee advocacy program on certain key assets of your website. Those web assets include lead-generation forms and other calls to action that compel people to oer their contact information in exchange for something valuable from you.
A real-world example.
Access your web analytics platform, and find a landing page or other asset that receives a high-level of that of traffic and serves as a generator for qualified leads. Take a look at the breakdown by source on this asset.
Are the majority of visitors to this page coming from your digital advertising activities, your organic search activities or your social media efforts?
By using the right UTM tracking parameters, we can add your employee advocacy program as a source to this asset inside of your web analytics platform. Once your web analytics tool knows to look for employee advocacy as an additional source, this report should automatically regenerate itself, and you’ll see not only traffic from your digital advertising activities and your social media activities but also from your employee advocacy activities.
From there, it’s simple math. As a percentage of visitors to the page based on the number of qualified leads that it generates, you should be able to arrive at a quantified impact for your employee advocacy activities.
Measure your success.
When you seek to measure the impact of your employee advocacy activities on your demand generation efforts, take a look at the average cost you pay for a lead. A lot of lead-generation activities will charge in excess of $20, $30, $40, even $50 for a lead to be delivered to your sales organization. Using even the low end of the scale, we can arrive at the impact your employee advocacy program is having on your lead generation efforts.
If you’re paying $20 per lead, and you receive 50 leads, then the total cost is $1,000. How many leads did your employee advocacy program generate on the specific asset in question on your website? Knowing this will allow you to take the number of leads generated by your employee advocacy program and multiply them by the dollars per lead you currently pay. From there, you can arrive at quantified level of savings based on your employee advocacy program and the number of leads generated.