Social amplification through employee advocacy in social media is an incredibly powerful marketing tactic, but it isn’t foolproof.
There are eight major obstacles to success where social media amplification is concerned. Any one of these issues has the potential to diminish the success of your employee social engagement program, or even derail it entirely. To make it easy on you, we have brought them all together for you in one place.
Here are the eight common mistakes made in employee advocacy programs:
- Having the same message for all employees to share: The social networks of your employees can generate an amazing boost for your company efforts, but they require the same cautious planning and effort as your ordinary corporate accounts. The intent of employee advocacy in social media is to empower your people to share important information while positioning themselves as trusted experts – all leading to social media engagement. This is undermined if every employee is a cog, simply reciting the exact same message every time. Each employee has a different personality online and a different audience. Offering a variety of messages to share makes your company look more interactive and human. It also helps individual employees promote themselves to their audiences more effectively.
- Not showing the value to your employees: While your marketing department might understand the value of amplifying the company’s corporate content, there is no guarantee people outside the department do. You need to align your marketing efforts with employee engagement. In order to really get a buy-in, you need to demonstrate to your employees both how an employee social engagement program benefits the company (in terms of increased sales and revenue), and also how the program benefits the employees themselves (improving their personal brand, increased networking in the industry, new job challenges).
- No buy-in or executive support: For any sort of employee social amplification program to work, you need to get buy-in both from the employees themselves and from the executives. This type of initiative requires employees to devote time, often in addition to their regular jobs, to share a message about the company. If the executives do not approve or agree to the program, it will never progress. In the same way, you are also asking employees to share content about the place they work from their own personal social media accounts. There needs to be a buy-in on their end as well; involving and motivating employees is key, because if you don’t get support from your employees—it will never get started.
- Only sharing company/promotional content: The goal of employee social amplification is not to turn all your employees into salespeople. Trying to do so only guarantees you more messages with low engagement. An effective social amplification program has your employees sharing industry content that starts conversations and generates social media engagement. You want your employees to share the kind of material that identifies them as beacons of industry content, not as salespeople. The sales will eventually come from this approach, but it requires a bit of patience to create long-term clients who are passionately engaged with your company.
- Only sharing and not engaging: Sharing messages is just the first step of a longer-process. If you want your employees to become beacons of your content on social media channels, you must be prepared for them to interact with anyone who replies to their posts. If your employees are nor prepared (or permitted) to interact with potential customers on social media channels, all of your efforts in social media engagement will fall flat.
- No training for participants: While surveys show that about 70-80% of Americans use social media, there is no guarantee that your employees use social media; use the channels you want; or know how to use them properly. You need to train your staff on social media. This starts with showing people how to set up their profiles, but it doesn’t stop there. You need to train your employees on how to share and amplify company content online, as well as how to respond if someone engages with them on social media about the company.
- Your culture is not set up for open sharing: A component of success in any social sharing and social amplification program comes down to company culture. Do your employees feel comfortable sharing material about the company online? Do they know what is confidential and what is not—and how do they navigate that line? Do they feel competent in taking initiative on social media engagement if their posts generate replies? If employees feel like they are entering an undefined area with their social sharing efforts, and they could get in trouble or lose their jobs for it, you will see a significant decline in participation. Culture, or the lack of it, could be why your employees are not sharing your marketing content.
- Not being able to show success: If employees are putting in extra effort in this program, you need to show them the value of it. If you do not have the ability to track your program and determine any impact it has on your company’s bottom line, you should stop immediately and set that up before you go any further. Without tracking ability, you could lose the support of your executive team and the buy-in from your employee participants. Show people how they have contributed to the success, and you will definitely motivate their participation.
There is no guarantee of victory with any one social media marketing effort—but if you deal with these eight common mistakes made in employee advocacy programs, you will be putting the odds in your favour for all your employee advocacy social media efforts.