7 Ingredients for Employee Social Advocacy

Employee Social Advocacybadge-jay-says

A few weeks ago, I presented a breakout session at Social Media Marketing World. I put together an all-new presentation about employee social media advocacy, which I have excerpted below.

Employees are a key to social media success because they:

1. Genuinely love your brand (hopefully)
2. Are trusted far more than the company
3. Are not filtered by social networks the same way that corporate messages are

Thus, employee social media advocacy gives you Authenticity, Trustworthiness, and Reach. But, getting there isn’t a snap. There are many steps involved in creating and maintaining an effective program of this type. You need strategy, research, metrics, software (I recommend Addvocate.com, where I’m an investor).

If your employees aren’t your biggest fans, you have bigger problems than social media. (tweet this)

I encourage you to download the slides above for far more detail, but here’s a primer for the “give it to me right now” contingent…

7 Ingredients for Employee Social Advocacy

Note these are not the only ingredients. That would be a gross oversimplification. But these are seven that you need for certain.

1. You Need Culture
Only corporate cultures rooted in trust can do employee advocacy well.

2. You Need Guidelines
Social media participation guidelines encourage participation, they don’t squelch it. (contrary to popular belief, in many cases)

3. You Need Options
Social media advocacy doesn’t work at bayonet point. You need to allow your employees to choose the role that fits their skills and interests.

Social media advocacy rarely succeeds at bayonet point (tweet this)

4. You Need a Platform
Software that helps the company share content with employees (and vice-versa) is an important part of these programs. I’m a big fan of Addvocate.com. Easy-to-use, reasonably priced, mobile-friendly. I like it so much, I invested in the company.

5. You Need Metrics
Like anything else in communications, at some point you need to know whether this is working. Figure out your measurement narrative before you start. (the slides have a bunch of recommended metrics you may want to track)

6. You Need Champions
A big error in employee social advocacy programs is rolling it out all at once. You need to start with the motivated few, get them loving it, and then use their success to bring new employees on board in waves.

7. You Need Coaches
This is critical. You must have a system where employees can get honest, private advice and counsel about social media on a day-to-day basis. Check out the increase in IBM’s results when their employees were watched up with social coaches (in the slides).

If you need help thinking through or implementing this kind of program, let me know. The team at Convince & Convert and I would be delighted to assist. We’ve done a lot of this type of work.

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