Marketers know that a happy and engaged employee can be a brand’s number one advocate. However, it can be difficult to get buy in from executives to run an employee advocacy program.

This week at #SproutChat, Sprout All Star, Jen Kirk of Jenius Consulting joined us to discuss the benefits of a social-first advocacy program and ways to convince leadership that it’s worth the investment. From setting up and rolling out an advocacy program to educating employees on social media best practices, our community offered a wide array of insights on the topic.

Set Employees up for Success

Employee advocates shouldn’t have to work more to spread the word about a brand. Make sure you communicate to employees in a clear and concise way. Social content should always be accessible, shareable and include pre-approved, suggested social copy. The less barriers there are for employees to advocate for their organization, the better.

Educate Teams on Social Media Best Practices

When working in social it can be easy to assume that everyone is as up to speed as you are. By giving employees guidelines and social media best practices, you’re giving them the tools to effectively communicate about your business. Advocates should be consistent in messaging, so provide them with the necessary training and resources.

A Little Recognition Goes a Long Way

Offering incentives or rewards for being an employee advocate can prove to be useful, but try to stray away from using it as motivation for opting into the program. Focus on your community and recognize them for their awesome work and contributions. These moments can help to maintain engagement and also foster new relationships.

Grow Your Program With Consistent Communication

Maintaining a consistent cadence of communication with employees can help keep them engaged, but tapping into your existing base by running referral programs can help grow your community. Once you have buy in from executives to run an employee advocacy program, ask them to lead the pack and highlight their engagement as an advocate.

Join us on Twitter at 2 p.m. CT every Wednesday for #SproutChat. Next week, we’ll discuss all things hashtag from analytics to the difference between branded and community hashtags. In the meantime, network with bright folks within the industry in our #SproutChat Facebook group.