It’s no one’s job to participate in an employee advocacy program — they have to want to! And it’s our and your responsibility to create the conditions for that to occur.
Simply telling people to share your content may work for a time, but you’ll soon lose the majority of people’s interest.
That’s why we think of an employee advocacy program as a flywheel. Sharing may be your ultimate goal, but we’ve got to get the flywheel spinning for that to occur on a sustained basis.
This post outlines the basic actions that will get your flywheel going, which in turn will support maximum sharing. Let’s get that flywheel going!
Understand that Different People Have Different Needs.
First, let’s acknowledge that different people are, well, different.
When it comes to an employee advocacy program, we generally see people fall into three categories:
These are your people who not only want to consume and share content, but they also want to create it. And if you don’t give them the tools to do so, they’re going to lose interest. Think of these people as your power users that sit at the top of the social media food chain. They not only tend to drive outsized results, they also serve as a shining example for everyone else.
These are your consistent sharers. We typically see these people accessing EveryoneSocial multiple times a week to consume and share content. Engagers are the prototypical employee advocate. Simply give them access to EveryoneSocial and they’ll start sharing with little to no guidance.
In most organizations, a large number of employees are consumers. These people likely won’t share content right after registering for your EveryoneSocial account. They want to poke around first, consume content, and see what others are doing. If we push them to share right away, they’re likely to disengage, but if we can give them some direction, we can move them up the chain into the engager population.
The point here is you want to engage all three of these groups; a one-size-fits-all platform or strategy isn’t the way to go.
Employee advocacy at its core is simple: the more people you activate, the more and better results your program will produce. The first step to getting your employee advocacy flywheel going is to create a plan (and choose a platform, like EveryoneSocial) that supports the needs of these different populations.
Create Reasons for People to Return
Simple truth: very few of your people are going to share your content if they’re not interested in accessing your employee advocacy platform.
Let’s turn that around. If you can get people to come back to your platform, they’re one step away from taking the action you want: sharing!
So what are some of the ways we can get people coming back?
One simple, effective strategy is to create content and updates that employees can only access via their EveryoneSocial account. Exclusive updates if you will.
We do that here at our company by posting the following types of content in our EveryoneSocial account and nowhere else:
- Leadership updates: I ask our team leads to publish their weekly updates to EveryoneSocial. If someone wants to know what’s going on with product, marketing, sales, or any other area of the business, they have to log in.
- Shout-outs: Recognition is fun both to give and receive, and we like to highlight each other in posts within EveryoneSocial. If someone gives a killer demo or goes above and beyond for a client, for example, we share it here to ensure a well-deserved shout-out doesn’t get lost in Slack/Teams.
- Customer stories: There is nothing better than when a customer goes out of their way to compliment you. We love reposting these messages into EveryoneSocial and highlighting the people who work with that client
The sky’s the limit in terms of coming up with simple updates that your people will only be able to access via their EveryoneSocial account. The items above work for our company based on how we use EveryoneSocial, but I’m sure you can come up with even better ones!
Provide a Variety of Fresh Content
We recently asked a large number of users what they’d like to see more of from their employee advocacy program. The top thing they requested? More content!
We all have an insatiable appetite for content, so it’s no surprise there’s a direct correlation between the amount of fresh content you put in EveryoneSocial and overall user engagement.
Said differently, the more fresh, engaging content you put in, the more engaged your users will be.
Generally speaking, a good goal is to ensure that a few pieces of content are shared in EveryoneSocial daily. That way you’ll never have a user log into their account and see the same thing twice.
So what should this content be, where should it come from, and how can you make it easy on you and your team to achieve this?
There are three main types of content you should think about:
1. Brand content
This is all the stuff your company already produces, and probably a lot of the stuff that you want your people to share including blog posts, product launch announcements, new hires, press mentions, and more. Depending on the size of your company, it’s likely you produce at least some amount of brand content each week. Grab it, throw it in your EveryoneSocial account, move on!
2. Third-party content
We’re talking about stuff not created by your company that’s still relevant to it in some way: news concerning the market, your employees, your customers, etc. Because let’s be honest: No one wants to only consume brand content. Seriously, would you? Of course, there’s no limit to the amount of third-party content produced each day, so the key is to be selective about what’s shared in EveryoneSocial.
3. Employee-generated content
Finally, there’s content created BY your people, including articles they share, posts they wrote, photos and videos they took and more. Again, not all of your employees will do this, but the ones who do are your power players and you want them to do what they do best! Employee-generated content not only outperforms other types of content, but it also drives others to take action and create and share themselves.
Add Some Competition to the Mix
At this point, the flywheel is gaining speed, but let’s take it up a notch by injecting a little friendly competition.
I don’t need to tell you that most people have a competitive spirit in them. Incorporating competition in your employee advocacy program is as simple as seting up leaderboards within EveryoneSocial to focus peoples’ attention on the actions you want them to take.
Show me the incentives and I’ll show you the outcomes.
With EveryoneSocial leaderboards, you decide what you want to incentivize your users to do. Perhaps it’s early in the life of your program and you want to incentivize activation (signing up, connecting social networks, etc.)? Maybe you’re up and running and you want everyone to share to a particular network? Perhaps you want to reward results (clicks, engagements, etc.) over sharing? However you want to incentivize your people, we support it via EveryoneSocial’s leaderboard configuration options.
Consider prizes or rewards, but know they’re not necessary.
It’s important to recognize that simply creating a competition via a leaderboard and giving people points for their actions is usually enough to get people going. However, if you really want to get your people active on EveryoneSocial, throw some real prizes into the mix. We’ve seen clients incorporate all sorts of rewards into their program, but you don’t have to give stuff away. Points are often enough.
Think about non-monetary rewards.
Why not reward your people in ways that furthers the success and awareness of your employee advocacy program? Think about rewards like an executive Linkedin recommendation, access to an exclusive networking event, or highlighting their posts inside of your EveryoneSocial account. Your creativity is the limit. These sorts of rewards don’t cost money, but they’re highly incentivizing and drive your program.
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Bring Advocacy to Where Your People Already Are
At this point your flywheel is humming, but there are still people who aren’t activated or who have become less engaged. The important thing to remember is that these folks still want to participate — you just need to make it easier on them!
After nearly 10 years working with our clients on their employee advocacy programs, we’ve never run into an employee who said “No thank you, I don’t want to participate in my company’s advocacy program.”
We’re all super busy, things get in the way, and sharing gets put on the back burner. That’s the reality of life.
So how do you reconcile this? It’s simple: Take your employee advocacy program to where your people already are and incorporate the tools they use every day, such as the following.
Email isn’t dead! You can set up automated emails in EveryoneSocial to send your people content they haven’t already shared. From these emails, your people are just one click away from sharing. Click, share, and now on with your day.
Notifications are a powerful tool. EveryoneSocial leverages browser and mobile push notifications to focus people’s attention on the action you want them to take when you want them to take it.
Slack and Teams
Post shareable content directly into Slack and Teams channels. Just like the content emails, these posts appear in Slack and Teams and include a share button, allowing anyone to click, share, and be done.
Sales Engagement, CRM, Comms Platforms, and Other Tools
Use a sales engagement tool like Salesloft or Outreach? What about sales enablement solutions like Highspot? Or an internal comms platform like WorkVivo? Great! We integrate with all of those and more!
Keep the Employee Advocacy Flywheel Spinning
I think you get the picture now and understand that employee advocacy success comes from a bunch of things working together.
It’s about people, content, incentive, and simplicity. That’s how you get the flywheel going and keep it going.
I’ve included a bulleted summary below, but, honestly, writing these down and putting them on your desk might be a good idea.
Ultimately, these are just the basics, but we know that if you follow this recipe, you’ll create a really solid foundation for advocacy success.
- Recognize different people have different needs
- Ensure you’ve got plenty of fresh, engaging content
- Spice it up with some competition (prizes and rewards optional)
- Take your program to your people, where they already are
Here’s to you and the success of your employee advocacy endeavors! As always we’re here to help with a platform, strategic services, whatever you need.