Developing a good employee advocacy programme takes quite a bit of effort for the vast majority of companies since it requires the cooperation of the entire company, from top to bottom. Even though there are many benefits to mobilising your employees to be ambassadors for your brand, such as increasing employee engagement and raising your brand’s awareness in an authentic way, orchestrating a long-term strategy with positive results can be complicated. Companies that have successfully rolled-out a global employee advocacy programme, are usually large companies, such as Microsoft, Adobe, IBM, Sage or Dell.
Microsoft Employee Advocacy (Sociabble)
For those companies already actively using social media, the next logical step is to get more out of these channels by implementing a brand ambassador strategy. An employee advocacy programme can help a company increase its engagement and credibility, which in turn, can help to increase leads from social networks with 25%, message reach with more than 500% and multiply web visits by five.
The implementation of an employee advocacy strategy could be divided into two phases. The initial phase is to lay out the basics of the programme internally, involving departments such as Human Resources, IT, Marketing and Communications, and, of course, the employees themselves. Once the first phase is implemented, it is possible to move on to the second phase; to involve the external stakeholders more actively, such as customers, partners, influencers, etc., with dedicated plans.
In this blog post, we will focus on how to implement the initial phase and what you can do to turn your employees into brand ambassadors.
Marketing and Communications Department
This department will be in charge of leading the programme based on the company´s objectives, values and mission, which needs to be translated into an attractive editorial content plan, using pictures, videos, infographics and any multimedia content that helps tell the story of the company. For the programme to be effective, we must try to get employees involved, not only in the process of content sharing, but also in the creation process. This way, they can contribute with their technical knowledge and experience in projects, which will also help them to develop their personal brand.
The marketing and communications department is usually responsible for managing the company’s own media (web, blog and social platforms) and, together with the human resources department, for developing the documentation on the communication policy around social networks, as well as to train employees about the advocacy programme, procedures, how to use social networks, and the benefits for the company and for themselves. Finally, they will be responsible for measuring and evaluating the success of the programme through clear objectives, which should be set at the beginning of the project.
Dashboard of each employee that participates in the program (Dynamic Signal)
Human Resources Department
In our experience, an employee advocacy programme that does not have the support of the HR team will not achieve a successful adoption ratio within the company. It may be good, but it will not reach its maximum potential. Thus, it is important that HR develops or adapts an existing incentive plan that is incorporated into the employee advocacy programme. This enables companies to reward employees who are acting as ambassadors for the company’s goals and values.
As previously highlighted, it is crucial that a bonus or an incentive plan helps to achieve better results, but these should not in any case be a grievance for those who do not want to participate. The plan should be more focused on small rewards, such as discount coupons, dinners, training courses, representation of the company at forums, etc.
Example of HR gamification (Smarp)
For this, the best method is to implement a gamification system in which each employee accumulates points based on their interactions with the company and the results generated in social networks, for example; The winner of the month of February, Antonio García, got 34 retweets, 15 likes on Facebook with a total reach of 300,000 people based on 4 shared posts.
It is usually the forgotten department when it comes to employee advocacy programmes. On the one hand, we will have a group of employees closely linked to the company, and at the same time, enthusiastic users of social networks. For this group, it will be natural to share content on the projects they are working on, as well as share and comment on the updates from corporate profiles. However, there will be a high number of employees who, due to lack of time, will hardly share their own experiences and corporate messages.
How to get these employees on-board too
Here, we will need the support of the IT department to deploy an app on all corporate devices. The idea is that every time the company publishes an update on a social network, a push notification can be sent to, for instance, the employee’s phone, so it only takes the employee 1 minute to read the new content. If it seems interesting, they can select their personal social media channes where he or she wants to share the content, and even add their own message to make it more personal.
With this approach, the reach of corporate messages and the success of an employee advocacy programme, together with some sort of incentive/bonus plan, will have a much higher success rate in the long-run.
If you would like more information on how to implement an employee advocacy programme in your company, then please get in touch.