As you begin exploring employee advocacy, one thought that might come to mind is how you will get a budget for it.
After all, your company’s tech stack is already growing and there are tons of software products out there to optimize your desired results.
And besides your growing tech stack, the concept of employee advocacy might be entirely new to you, your managers, or company executives. Many times, introducing new software and product costs can be met with resistance.
However, depending on your needs, wants, and how much you value social media and employee engagement at work, this guide will help you determine what kind of program and budget you will need.
Below we are going to explore how you can budget for an employee advocacy platform and what we’ve seen some other customers do.
Budgeting For An Employee Advocacy Platform
Employee advocacy platforms do not need to be expensive in order to drive results, but if you want real long-term success you also should not be looking for a quick cheap solution.
Many times you’ll find limited features when you cut corners or look to save a few bucks.
You’ll find that there is not much on-going support or training, and results that are seriously lacking — leading you to think as a result that employee advocacy perhaps doesn’t work.
Choosing the right vendor and partner is critical to the overall success of employee advocacy. Ensuring that you are set-up correctly from the start with the right product and support team saves you time and money.
Generally speaking for the risk averse, starting small or trialing a product might be a good way to test something you are unsure about.
However, we’ve come across numerous customers who’ve left those types of situations because it did not provide what they needed to be truly successful.
While it may sound like a shameless pitch: the reality is that advocacy benefits from scale, so go big if you want big and more immediate results.
And you also shouldn’t be paying an insane premium either; there’s no need to even for a company-wide rollout.
Factors In Employee Advocacy Costs
If you are researching employee advocacy vendors, you’ll find most are unique in their own right when it comes to design, product features, support, integrations, and costs.
You’ll definitely see some basics that all standard platforms share, but there are plenty of unique features found in each vendor as well.
While I’m biased in saying that EveryoneSocial is one of the strongest products in the employee advocacy market, you should always perform due diligence. Take a look at our G2 reviews if you are looking to read more about us from our customers and clients.
Reach out to a few vendors, demo their product, ask questions and get pricing, etc. Every person and company has different needs, requirements, and personal preferences to products.
But how is employee advocacy priced? Well, it varies on the vendor but is usually a result of:
- Number of active users
- Features and support
- Amount of content shares
- Small business or enterprise needs
- Other variable discounts (deal length, non-profits, agencies, etc)
Some vendors focus on just one or two of those, others might be a combo of how they price things.
We keep things pretty simple at EveryoneSocial and also offer discounts for certain criteria. But no matter the size of the program, you always have access to every feature, integration, and support.
Tips to Budget for Employee Advocacy Platform
At this point in your evaluation phase, you know the impact that an internal social program can have on your organization like: marketing, sales, social recruiting, employer branding, and employee communications.
However, you may be focused on one specific solution need or maybe you are looking to go enterprise-wide.
Many organizations are making an employee advocacy platform available to their entire workforce to keep employees informed, creating original content, and sharing no matter where they work.
Whichever direction you go, below are some tips to help you budget for an employee advocacy platform.
Indeed, ROI is so important that not only does it help get approval from executives but they can give you a speciality budget for this too.
This is why it’s important to build your case, show the data, time saving capabilities, and implement that data into your own specific situation and information.
Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Yeah, I wish!” when it comes to a specialty budget.
Let’s be honest here, getting a speciality budget right off the bat is uncommon. Most executives are looking to be extremely effective with budgets, while driving the most ROI.
And while a speciality budget is not necessarily required to launch an advocacy program, it’s a good place to start. Just remember, begin this discussion with ROI metrics gleaned from case studies and your own internal research or financial modeling.
Depending on what department you are in, the budget will be closely monitored and distributed for particular tools and strategies.
If you see employee advocacy as a priority, then it should be time to look at the results of where you are spending money currently.
- Are there areas where results have continued to decline?
- Are costs going up while results are stagnant in certain areas?
- Are there budgets in your organization that continually forfeit unused funds that could be put to use for an advocacy platform?
- What areas can we reduce costs for this?
For example, paid advertising continues to get more expensive and people are tuning them out. One statistic showed, the average global social ad CTRs are down 30%, year over year. Instead of ramping up marketing spend on ads, maybe you take that budget and use it for your advocacy platform.
Same example can be applied to job boards and paying for your new open positions in human resources. Instead, use that towards employee advocacy where your employees can reach thousands of top talent, build up the work culture and employer brand, and help your recruiters expand the job pool.
Look for spending that has not yielded great results and reallocate it to your employee advocacy initiative instead. This is one of the best ways to make some room in your budget.
Partner with Other Departments
If some of the other budgeting techniques do not work, you’ll want to get a bit more creative.
Since employee advocacy programs can benefit from engaging more than one department, you have a lot of options with budgeting. Now you can partner with other departments and share the budget for a platform for example.
This way, you can split costs, yet also see multiple points of ROI.
For example, marketing and sales can work together for this initiative. Or marketing and HR, because it can help boost social recruiting efforts and build an employer brand.
Talk to other departments about their needs and interests, then find ways to co-own and split the budget. You’d be surprised at how effective this option is.
A few customers who use our platform for multiple solutions or are enterprise-wide, have divided the employee advocacy budget evenly between them. This ultimately saved each department money, but still granted them access to everything they need to deliver results.
The biggest takeaway here is that you can easily prove why the budget should be allocated to employee advocacy. Your managers and company executives want to know what value and ROI you will get from investing in a strategy and program.
While employee advocacy has so many glaring benefits, It’s still a new and a growing concept, which many are just now gaining experience in. So it makes sense that the budget conversation might be a bit challenging at first.
Use the budgeting tips above and come prepared if you are to make your case to any stakeholders to get approval. We have tons of resources, customer stories, and insights that can help you along the way. Of course, we’re happy to talk if you need help articulating a case for an employee advocacy budget in your company.
And if you are ready for an employee advocacy platform, schedule a demo with our team. We work with amazing companies like Dell, Mattress Firm, IBM, Harley-Davidson, ADP, and many many others.