The culture of employee advocacy and the nature of social programs are both shifting.
And we’ve been in this game for years — when in the beginning — only certain companies understood the value of getting their organization more socially active both internally and externally.
Fast forward to today, many large and enterprise companies are adopting an internal social program; and not just for one particular reason.
Employee advocacy influences every aspect of the organization from marketing, sales, recruiting, communications, employee engagement, and employer branding.
Traditionally, you might want to start small with your social program — a natural desire for something that may be fairly new to you.
Or maybe, the idea of scaling to larger groups internally or enterprise-wide is intimidating.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Below, I’ll cover why you need to start thinking big and how to scale your employee advocacy program at your organization.
Alleviating the Fear of Scaling Employee Advocacy
For many employee advocacy programs, starting small really stemmed from:
- Not yet understanding the holistic value.
- Only thinking a program is used for one specific department.
- Executives’ inexperience with social media or employee advocacy.
- Unsure of what the real ROI from implementing would be.
- Fear of placing any budget towards the “unknown.”
I’m sure there are other reasons too that go beyond some of my examples above.
But as companies that took the early lead to adopt employee advocacy and scaled can now attest (i.e. Dell’s case study): the benefits are not solely focused on one department.
Break the mindset of employee advocacy as a program
The best way to explain this first one is to share a quote that one of our clients recently said. It’s a comment that was lucidly on-point:
“We’ve stopped calling Advocacy a ‘program’ and are working to simply make it WHAT WE DO. This is part of our culture, and the platform is available to everyone. If you work here, part of what we do is share, discover, and create great content.”
Employee advocacy must become part of the culture and encouraged to all employees.
Your employees are already active on social
Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook boast huge numbers of users and a vast majority of your employees are already active.
- Close to half the world’s population (3.03 billion people) are on some type of social media. (Statusbrew)
- 98% of employees use at least one social media site for personal use, of which 50% are already posting about their company. (Weber Shandwick)
Rather than standing on the manager sideline while your employees post whatever they want about your company, you should give them guidelines and a platform to strategically encourage them in ways that will advance your company’s objectives and foster professional growth for everyone.
Related: Need more interesting stats? We got some of the best employee advocacy statistics list for various use cases. You can read that right here.
Partner with someone who has done this before (Hint: EveryoneSocial)
Another fear you may have, is the seemingly daunting task to put a strategy in-place to scale up to potentially thousands of employees.
You or your team leaders may be unsure of the results and nervous about spending too much time in planning these efforts.
But, this is why you partner with an advocacy company who has expertise in scaling and has a track record of doing this before.
Over the years, we’ve had numerous clients go from a handful, to thousands of employees. We’ve also helped the scaling efforts immediately where 10,000+ employees are active from the launch.
Our job is not just to give you a platform and wish you luck. Instead, we are here to build a strategy for your brand to grow and see real ROI across the organization.
Starting small can create an undesirable culture of exclusivity
The goal for your organization should be to create an equal playing field where everyone’s input is valued.
Starting with select groups can leave others feeling less important, causing a distrust and lack of further engagement.
An environment of resentment, exclusion, and “why bother” may creep into other departments. And word travels fast too.
Others may not really care that they are not included, but is it worth the risk of harming your internal brand and employee communications?
That in turn, also affects your employer brand. If you are a fast-growth company, a culture of exclusivity is not what you want and it can hold back the results your executives desire.
Related: Implementing an employee advocacy program can be challenging, but a well-thought-out launch plan and partner can make a BIG difference. Grab our launch guide to help your organization get set up for success.
Scaling Employee Advocacy and Getting Broader Buy-In
We understand why organizations want to start small, but many are looking at employee advocacy as “one-dimensional”.
You may have a specific focus in mind, perhaps to help marketing and branding. But a company-wide employee advocacy program can be a perfect place for streamlined internal communications, in turn helping sales enablement, and increasing recruiting and positioning employer brand all at once.
The challenge with starting small is it takes time and can be a long process to see any results or traction.
A handful of people sharing content is not going to provide much value to your organization, thus making it challenging to get broader buy-in or executive support.
Here’s Some Ways (and Reasons) to Scale Big
1. Talk to other departments
Employee advocacy can be used in every department, talk with your colleagues in other departments, they may already be looking for something similar.
For example, instead of just having the marketing department involved, you may have found that your recruiting and communications teams are looking for solutions that an employee advocacy program solves.
This is a great opportunity to save money, avoid the headaches of multiple tools, and find ways to easily split the budget that will drive ROI across multiple areas of the organization.
2. Present the math and basic data
Sometimes you just need to apply and show some really basic math. Ugh, yes — numbers! But seriously, it’s easy to overlook basic data that can support buy-in.
The math is simple: The more users you have in the platform, the more users you have creating and engaging with content, the more users you have sharing content, the more results you will see and the larger the reach and amplification.
We can use this one example from our own research.
- On average, we have found that employees who participate in employee advocacy grow their networks by a minimum of 10% each year.
- Already have 1,500 social connections when you start? (1,500 is right around the average number of connections per employee). That means you will have at least 1,650 connections by year-end.
- So a group of 1,000 employees each with roughly 1,500 connections has a combined network of 1,500,000. Growing at 10% per year that network would increase to 1,650,000 by the end of the first year.
Of course, the more employees you involve and the longer your program runs, the larger their networks will get.
As Einstein said, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world.”
3. Scaling doesn’t have to be a chore
You might be thinking right now, “How am I supposed to get hundreds, if not thousands of employees active in employee advocacy?”
That’s the million dollar question, right?
If scaling your employee advocacy efforts has become a chore, you could have a platform problem.
But you may also have a culture issue, where employees are not trusting of their organization’s implementation of a program, nor seeing the benefits of getting involved.
If your company work culture is suffering or not there yet, employee advocacy will not fix all those problems.
The key is to work on that and create a culture where an employee advocacy tool naturally fits into the workday.
But, if your organization and leaders already value social media, create a top work environment, and want to further drive engagement, scaling beyond a handful employees should not be worrisome.
Scaling to 10,000 users is just as easy as scaling to 100 with EveryoneSocial. We have the tools to make this easy — it’s our job. It’s why we work with so many large enterprise, and high-growth companies.
4. More data = more results and quicker adjustments
Maybe the thought of a large number of employees having access to content and sharing to social still makes you nervous.
In fact, when you choose the right partner (see earlier in this post and also #3 above) you’ll have the training, resources, and exact platform you need to avoid any issues. Plus, platform adoption and engagement will be much smoother.
Scaling company-wide with many thousands of users, will yield much stronger data for analyzing. And the larger the numbers, the quicker we will understand what is working and what is not.
This allows us work with your team to adjust, so that every piece of content, communication channel, and every share is optimized to have the biggest impact possible.
When you only have “small data” to use, it may take weeks or months to realize why your results are not what you’d expect. Or in this case, the numbers are easily skewed from just a handful of employees causing inaccuracies with your analysis.
Employee advocacy programs are no longer just a piece of tech you add to your company’s stack. A successful advocacy program is organically inculcated by the employees’ existing culture and valued not just for one particular use case, but for the greater good of your entire organization.