No matter the size of your organization or industry you’re in, getting your employees involved in social media advocacy is a huge advantage for any business.
Your employees can expand your social media presence and have a more personal connection with customers, partners, and people interested in learning more about your organization. Getting your employees involved in social media advocacy can bring authenticity to your brand, and build another avenue to listen to people outside of your organization.
Understanding your customers is vital for ensuring you invest in the right areas and work towards solving their problems. The easiest way to gather feedback and engage their interest comes via social media.
It isn’t just customers that businesses need to listen to on social media; they need to recognize the importance of their own employees as well. As active social media users themselves, employees frequently broadcast their views, news, and opinions online so it’s important they’re on your side when advocating for your company. Liking and following your business’ social media accounts may be one thing, but employees should be encouraged to go one step further and actively advocate for the company they work for.
In this day and age of the internet and online influence, having an established and successful social media advocacy program will help formulate social media strategies that not only continually engage your target audience, but demonstrate to employees that advocating on behalf of your brand is actually worth their time.
Engaging your employees comes down to making them feel secure and confident. As an organization, if you want your employees on social media to be comfortable sharing news and views, you’ll need to provide education around what is and is not helpful.
Many people don’t talk about their jobs on social media despite being active on multiple platforms. Oftentimes they’re more than willing to promote your brand, but they’re worried about saying or posting something they shouldn’t.
This is where you come in.
You can encourage your employees to be active on social media, talk about their work, your brand, and the industry you’re in. Point them in the right direction.
Training courses can help a lot with this, clearing up any questions your employees may have at the back of their minds. To clarify the points raised, businesses should set up specific ‘guidelines’ on what is or isn’t appropriate to share. Having this documented will provide employees with room to breathe, giving them the opportunity to be creative without feeling confined. You want to incorporate social media advocacy into your social media policy, so it’s embedded in your strategy and the culture of your organization.
Employees who are part of your social media advocacy program consistently share quality content. This leads to opportunities for followers to engage with them, increasing their reach and impressions, and driving more awareness and engagement towards your brand.
Pro Tip: Companies considering a social media advocacy program, as well as those that have a mature program, can benefit from focused employee training. AMPlify Local offers one-day training throughout the United States and it is heavily focused on building and maintaining a social media advocacy program.
Social media advocacy tools like GaggleAMP help organizations guide employees, too. Managers of your social media advocacy program can send requests to employees to carry out actions on social media, such as following influencers, sharing content, engaging with specific posts, and more. Employees in your program all volunteered to be there, so they’re willing to do these activities. They have to volunteer for each individual request as well.
It’s all well and good educating employees on how to use social media, but if they don’t know who your company is or what it represents, they’re not going to know what to share. Ask yourself: Do all your employees understand why your business works the way it does? And do they know each of the major goals you’re trying to achieve?
If the answer to either of these questions is ‘no’, that needs to change. Including this in your training is a huge benefit. Outline your business’ key goals and values, and share this information with your staff.
To encourage employees to become advocates of your company – sharing relevant news, initiatives, and information on your behalf – they are going to need some actual content to share. Therefore, make sure you have this content readily available to them and easily accessible whenever required.
Whether it be a newsletter, blog, case study, job advert, or press release, each piece of content your company releases can serve as a great source of shareable content. Provide each of your employees with easily shareable links, ready-made Twitter posts, appropriate hashtags, images, and videos to promote on behalf of you and your company.
However, you don’t want to turn your employees into company bots. That is not going to get you anywhere. You want them to share third-party, relevant, quality content a majority of the time. They should not be just retweeting company tweets and posting company blogs. No one will engage with them if that’s the case. They should be speaking authentically towards their target audience, and sharing insights about your industry while mixing in occasional company posts and content. That is how a successful social media advocacy program looks.
Consistently finding high-quality content can be challenging. It’s a good idea to have publications you like that cover the topic of your audience’s interest. Make sure you’ve subscribed to newsletters and follow social media feeds of authors and publications who usually have great content about relevant topics.
You can also make content curation easy for your program by using Scoop.it. As the manager of your program, this will save you time on finding relevant content for your employees to share. But it’s important to remember, sharing content is just one piece of a successful social media advocacy program and having a strong social media presence. It’s all about engaging with others, starting conversations, and building connections.
It’s important for brands to still build out their social media presence on their brand handles. Take the example of Childsplay Clothing, for instance. This luxury clothing company regularly posts high-quality images and videos across their Twitter profile, bringing a strong visual presence. Employees can share these posts and engage with them.
But employees should have their own posts as well. Third-party posts on relevant topics that the same target audience is also interested in. Again, employees should share mostly their own posts, and third-party content, with their brand’s posts and content lightly mixed in. .
Serious business and good fun don’t always have to be mutually exclusive, so there’s no reason why acting as an advocate can’t be enjoyable and exciting. With this in mind, why not add a little competition within the ranks, incentivizing your employees to promote your company’s social media strategy?
By incentivizing employees to share business-related news and information, the content sharing process suddenly becomes a whole lot more exciting and enticing. Whether you choose to offer a cash incentive, an extra day off, or simply implement a ‘loser makes the next cup of tea’ agreement, a little competition between employees can work wonders.
This is where gamification comes into play. If you gamify your social media advocacy program, you’ll motivate your social media advocates to be part of the program long term, and it will attract employees into the program who aren’t involved already.
By assigning points to each activity you request, employees can earn points for any action they carry out in the program. As the program manager, you can share a scoreboard of which employees are doing the best.
We often see companies reward employees with the most points or specific point totals with a variety of different prizes. This could be company branded merchandise, gift cards, lunch with the CEO, more PTO, an assigned parking spot, money, and more.
Social media advocacy is a great way to get your employees more involved in your social media strategy, even if they aren’t exactly social media savvy at first. It also helps organizations reach their marketing potential by maximizing the underutilized resource of employees.
Leveraging an social media advocacy program helps your employees, partners, and stakeholders to become more intentionally active on social media, driving your business forward. The GaggleAMP platform does this by encouraging employees to share content with their social networks, which helps to boost reach, engagement, and the employees network.
Learn more about how GaggleAMP works by scheduling a demo today!
Ramin Edmond is a Content Strategist for GaggleAMP. He oversees the company's editorial calendar and all its digital content including blogs, case studies, and press releases. Outside of work, Ramin likes to run, hike, and take pictures of Boston's best views. You can get in touch with Ramin at REdmond@GaggleAMP.com, or connect with him on LinkedIn.
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