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6 Solutions to Common Employee Advocacy Roadblocks

With all the advanced marketing methods available to businesses today, it’s easy to overlook the fact that one of your most powerful marketing assets is right under your own roof: your employees. The concept of employee advocacy has been around far longer than any social media platform or search engine, but the rise in popularity of digital media has opened up a slew of new opportunities for businesses to take advantage of.

So what impact can employee advocacy have on your business? The simple answer: a big one. Ultimately it comes down to brand trust, employee engagement, and revenue.

People are more likely to trust other people above any other form of advertising. Having your employees advocate on behalf of your brand allow your content to reach a wider audience — and that audience will be more likely to listen to a message coming from an individual as opposed to coming from a brand.

A properly implemented social employee advocacy program can have a substantial positive impact on company revenue as well. A study conducted by the National Business Research Institute found that a 12% increase in brand advocacy generates a 2x increase in revenue growth and companies that are socially engaged are 57% more likely to get sales leads. Increased revenue, more public trust of your brand, and higher employee engagement rates sounds pretty great, right?

So why aren’t more businesses implementing a social employee advocacy program? We’ve identified some common roadblocks that companies face when trying to activate their employee advocacy program and want to equip you with the information you need to overcome them.

Section 1

Issue 1: We’re worried about employees posting content that’s damaging to my reputation.

Solution: Implement a social media policy with clear guidelines on what’s acceptable and unacceptable for your employees to post on social media. Let them know what kind of behavior is expected from them while they are on and even of the clock. Make it abundantly clear that employees will be held accountable for their actions on social media and even for the content they post and share.

If your social media policy is just a long list of what your employees aren’t allowed to do, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll get quite a bit of pushback from them. This is why it’s important to craft a policy that empowers your employees instead of restricts them.

A concise and easily understandable social media policy informs employees about what kind of conduct is expected from them and makes them fully aware of the repercussions for not following said policy. A policy can also go a long way in protecting a company’s digital and real-world reputation.

With a platform like Bambu in place, you can be sure that employees are in compliance with your social media policy as every piece of content is vetted and approved before being distributed internally

Section 2

Issue 2: I don’t have the time to train my employees to use social media.

Solution: A majority of your employees already know how to use social media. In fact, 76% of all internet users have some semblance of a social media presence and many are actively engaged on more than one social platform.

Some of your employees may not be quite as savvy on social media, however, and that’s perfectly OK. Select a small number of employees who are well-versed in social media and are comfortable with training other staff members who may be having difficulty understanding how the different social platforms work. This directly engages your employee trainers with others in their peer group and teaches others a valuable skill with very little time commitment on your end.

Section 3

Issue 3: I don’t have enough content for my employees to share.

Solution: Content is key to any successful social employee advocacy initiative. You and your contributors find and curate content to share with your employees and in turn, they share it with their own social networks. Without that content, your program is dead in the water. But finding industry-relevant, informational, and engaging content is actually easier than it sounds.

Employees crave a healthy balance of company-created and 3rd party content. From news articles about your industry to blog posts and articles found around the web, there is a never ending sea of content on the web to choose from.

You may be asking, “why would I want my employees sharing other people’s content?” The answer is simple: your employees can become trusted thought leaders. If you’re only sharing company press releases or news about product launches, the chance that your employees will share only that type of content is slim to none. It’s important to realize that they are interested in building their personal brands. You can help them do this by curating content from 3rd party sources so they have a wide variety of insights to share with their own followers.

Do a quick Google search and find others in your industry that are actively engaged on the web and on social media. Once you identify some key sources to pull content from, aggregate all of your sources into a spreadsheet. This way, you’ll continually build your own “content repository” which can be revisited at any time.

Twitter can also be an invaluable source for content. By identifying industry influencers and doing a quick analysis of what they’re sharing, you can easily locate sources that they’re pulling content from and get a sense of what types of posts people are engaging with.

Section 4

Issue 4: My employees have divergent interests.

Solution: Not all of your employees will use social media the same. A developer will use social media differently than a salesperson, which will be different from how a community manager uses it. This is why implementing an employee advocacy program across departments, and even across offices, can seem like an insurmountable task. It’s best to be strategic in how you roll-out your program across your organization.

For example, you could first empower your community managers to build brand awareness through various social media channels. Then, help your sales department engage in social selling. Next, you might have your recruiters strengthen your employer brand. By having each department focus on a specific objective, you can build a much more cohesive employee advocacy program. But don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to do it all at once.

It’s also important to realize that each group of employees will also have very different professional goals. This means that not everyone will want to share the same type of content. Don’t be discouraged by this, though! Catering to each of them presents a valuable opportunity to reach a wider array of individuals at all stages of the “buyer’s journey.”

Find and share content that is department-specific is crucial for fostering high levels of sharing and employee engagement. Your sales team will be much more interested in sharing sales-related content than articles relating to project management and vice versa.

Section 5

Issue 5: How will we know if our program is working?

Solution: Before you can determine if your program is working, you need to define and understand your objectives. Some common objectives of employee advocacy programs are listed below.

  • Increasing exposure to company-created content
  • Increasing engagement on company-owned social profiles.
  • Drive more traffic to my website.
  • Turn social media leads into sales.
  • Recruiting new employees.

By understanding where you want to go and how fast you want to get there, you put yourself in a much better position to determine the success of your advocacy program.

Once you clearly define your program objectives, you’ll want to identify key metrics by which you will measure your program’s success. Typical metrics that are used are: engagement, clicks, shares, retweets, shares, likes, comments and reach. All of these metrics can be good indicators of whether the content your contributors are curating is resonating not only with your employees but their social media networks as well.

Don’t get discouraged if the content you’re sharing with employees isn’t wildly successful at first. As your program matures, you and your contributors will gain a better understanding of the content types that perform best within specific groups of employees.

Section 6

Issue 6: I’ve tried implementing an employee advocacy program before, but it didn’t really go anywhere.

Solution: This solution boils down to two key parts: having the right tools and the right training. If you’re serious about implementing an employee advocacy program you first need to have an efficient method for you and your employees to distribute and consume content and measure your efforts. This can easily be accomplished with a platform like Bambu.

Next, you need to be properly trained in the platform you are using. How will your contributors use it? How will your employees share content? How will you measure the success of your efforts? Bambu’s dedicated Advocacy Solutions and Sales team will help you activate, implement and build a highly effective social employee advocacy program. Some ways we help you do that are:

  • Helping you establish baseline social sharing practices within your company.
  • Assisting you in identifying key members of your curation team.
  • Setting up proper permissions and layered visibility among your employees.
  • Ensuring a safe deployment and activation.
  • Providing ongoing support to you and your team.

By launching your employee advocacy program in a well thought-out and systematic way, you position yourself for success from the very get go. Employee advocacy is something that all companies should embrace with open arms. Even though “employee advocacy” has been somewhat of a buzzword in the HR and management world these past few years, more and more businesses are realizing its benefits and quickly setting up programs of their own.

So don’t let any of the above roadblocks stop you from implementing your own employee advocacy program, especially since you now know how to get around them. Why be known as just a “good company” when an employee advocacy program can make you a truly great one!

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