Adopting any new initiative in an established corporate environment can pose various challenges, often due to the need to establish both ownership of the program, and responsibility for its resource allotment and eventual success. Things can become especially tricky when initiatives cross multiple departments. For employee advocacy efforts on social media, the process of establishing departmental ownership can make other challenges look easy by comparison.
Promoting employee advocacy does not need to be difficult, however, nor does it need to demand all of any one department’s time or resources. Employee advocacy benefits many departments. Let’s look at the potential owners of an employee advocacy program and how all departments can come together to boost your marketing effectiveness.
Initially, it can be tempting to lump employee advocacy in with your social media team’s duties. This is a logical first choice, as it does involve a substantial amount of social media; but your social media team isn’t the only department that can assist, or be assisted by, this program.
Looking at existing companies who have implemented employee advocacy programs, ownership can be quite split. The strategy can be classified as a communications program, a PR program, a marketing program, or even an HR program. As you can see in the breakdown of this survey from Jem Consulting, the ownership of employee advocacy is definitely not consistent across organizations.
The question should not be, “who can own employee advocacy?”. The question should more appropriately be, “How can everyone work together on employee advocacy?”.
No single department should have complete responsibility or control, because every department has a valid stake in employee advocacy on social media.
The HR department connects with your organization’s employees. They can help you build a company culture that supports the idea of individual engagement on social media, and help you create an organization filled with active promoters on social channels.
Communications is one of the traditional stewards of the company brand and identity and what that identity conveys. They help with creating the messaging used in the program on social media, and ensure that it is consistent with the other messaging the company releases.
The Public Relations department knows which messages the company is trying to convey through PR channels, and the overall brand voice and identity that your organization wants to convey to the public. This team can provide invaluable support when it comes to defining the messaging your program will use.
Marketing knows all of the campaigns in play at any given point in time, and can help identify how an advocacy campaign on social media can best support the other marketing campaigns that are already in the market.
Sales is a critical part of any strategy as they can help with targeting the advocacy efforts on social channels. In addition, they have their finger on the pulse of what prospects and customers are looking for, so they can help guide the content strategy for maximum impact.
Lastly, every other department we have not touched on, supplies the participants in an employee advocacy effort. Their participation helps to improve the bottom line of the company as a whole—benefiting every single employee and the overall organization.
Given that every department can assist, and benefit in a program for employee advocacy on social media, the only conclusion is that every department should own the program—or at least their share of it.
Of course, having every department simultaneously involved on a daily basis is a bit unworkable. However, a committee or board overseeing employee advocacy on social media can include participants, and viewpoints, from each of the departments involved.
If you want help getting your teams to play on the same team, it's important to help them all relize what they have to gain from participating. The eBook below will help.