Anytime an organization implements a new business process, it’ll be met with some resistance. When it comes to starting an employee advocacy program, this is no different.

In every workplace, there are employees with different levels of comfort when it comes to social media. Some are very social media savvy and already post about your brand on their personal accounts, but some might not be comfortable posting about your brand at all. So what can you do to maximize the potential of your employee advocacy program and let people know it’s good for them to post on behalf of your brand?

ITaryn Gwinner- headshotn this Q&A, we asked Taryn Gwinner, Demand Generation and Field Marketing Manager at Centrica Business Solutions, what prevents some employees from taking part in an employee advocacy program, and what you should do about it.

Taryn will speak more about this topic at AMPlify 2019 in Boston on June 11-12.

Q: Why would employees not want to be part of an employee advocacy program?

Taryn: Typically when employees don’t want to be part of an employee advocacy program it’s because they just don’t understand why they should be and what the potential benefits are. They need to see some kind of result for their time and effort. It's a mix of that lack of understanding and fear around social media.

Q: Is it because people are scared to get in trouble for posting something about the company that they shouldn’t?

Taryn: Yes, I definitely think that's a big part of it. They just don’t feel comfortable with it. “What should I say? What should I not say? How do I post it?” And if they don’t have many followers, they don’t see the point.

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They also think, “What’s the value to me?” But you do have to start somewhere. An employee advocacy program can be a great benefit to the employees themselves, not just the marketing department that's trying to use it as a way to amplify the brand. There's a lot of education needed, and it’s important to find key motivators to get employees to buy in.

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Q: When you first start out a program, would you focus on changing the minds of people who don’t want to share? Or do you focus on the segment of your employee population that’s already social media savvy?

Taryn: We started with a pilot group that consisted of both. You need to continue to bring along the folks that are social media savvy because they're the ones that have the reach and can prove the success of the program from the start. But you also want to make sure that you are getting people comfortable who are not that active on social.

Help elevate them to become thought leaders in the industry. We want the program to thrive and we need the reach, so we bring those savvy folks along, but also build up the ones that are a little bit more hesitant to help get them further along.

Q: What are some approaches you take for those who are not social media savvy to turn them around?

Taryn: Employees just need help removing barriers and fear. We've seen a correlation of engagement to motivation. Early on, we figured out what it was that motivated people and then geared the program benefits around that.

As an example, a lot of our folks are salespeople, so what motivated them was meeting quota. There's a lot of research out there around how digital sellers tend to exceed their sales quota compared to those that aren't as active on social media, so we framed it around those main motivators.

Q: Outside of your session, what are you looking forward to the most at AMPlify 2019?

Taryn: AMPlify is just a great opportunity to connect with other people, especially those who are running employee advocacy programs in their organization. You get an opportunity to learn from others what's working well and see how we can take some of those back and make our own program better.

We only have what we do within our organization and whatever you can read online, but having face to face conversations around, “this worked for us, what worked for you?" That's a great benefit to attending.

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