Branch out your Social Presence: Harnessing Employee Social Activity
The meat of social media power is increasingly coming from multiple sources – fading are the days of singular strategists and overwrought campaigns – incoming is the designated dynamos, branching out from the main company handle.
Turn to employees’ personal channels and create a pop-up-like effect for your brand – or in industry terms, an “employee advocacy program” wherein employees become natural influencers in a particular industry space.
Employee advocacy, when it comes down to it, is an empowerment tool: enable your employees with an authentic sense of the brand voice, and they post on their personal social channels – creating new spaces and new audiences for your brand. It’s the digital marketing world’s take on organic.
Find out why brands like Mastercard and IBM are harnessing this powerhouse strategy.
Your message blasted from more focal points on each social platform means a wider reach for your business and more opportunities for generating awareness. The wider the reach, the more possibilities for increased revenue.
Employee advocacy offers an alternative style of social marketing. More subtle than tightly executed branded campaigns, it shows another facet to the brand; one that values a human connection. Each of your employees has a network of relationships, and therefore some level of trust, which gives your organization borrowed credit. Trust your employees, and earn trust from their audience.
Launching an advocacy program has both a cyclical and ripple effect – you might want to start by reaching out to those who genuinely love what they do to inspire initial participation. If you have one, or a few, active employees who are posting on behalf of your business, others will feel empowered to do the same.
Don’t forget to….
Measure and promote existing engagement:
Employees won’t produce good content if they don’t identify and fit with the business culture and brand voice. Take a litmus test: how are employees communicating with each other? Tools like Slack Messaging are perfect for fostering internal community – that they can eventually take outside of the office. What opportunities does your locale offer for group activities? Beyond annual planned parties, make an effort for impromptu happy hours and lunches. Encourage employees to celebrate each other, and they’ll be all the more inclined to celebrate your brand on the social waves.
Coach, don’t patronize.
Employee advocacy is designed to be empowering – don’t chip away at that value by sending the message that you don’t trust your team members’ individual voices. With that said, you obviously want to set base guidelines to make sure posts linked to your brand are effectively on-brand and within legal and HR guidelines. Create a basic style guide that centers on gratitude for their participation, trust in their voice, and clear-cut suggestions for staying on brand.
Measure your success.
Design campaigns that help you measure success – and decide what it is you want to measure. Create a hashtag for employees to use in their posts, and know beforehand what you’d like to track. Shares? Likes? Even though employee advocacy lends an attractive relaxed quality as compared to the structure of branded campaigns, you’ll still need to see how the strategy’s working.
So while an advocacy program sounds simple, it’s not a pawn-off. The ripple effect on both internal culture and external audiences requires a comprehensive understanding of what your brand is doing across the board. The process of creating an advocacy program will all in all bring you to greater clarity about your operations, values, and ROI. The best part? Employee advocacy is one size fits all: companies big and small can both achieve major conversion this way.
Hootsuite, “A 6-Step Guide to Creating an Employee Advocacy Program For Your Business.”
Adweek, “Big Brands Are Enlisting Employees to Create an Army of Social Media Mavens.”
Convince & Convert, “7 Ingredients for Employee Social Advocacy.”