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Up Up and Away! – How to Kickstart an Employee Advocacy Program

Employee advocacy is no longer a secret kept by a handful of brands anymore. Many smart brands have done their research and realized the potential of employee advocacy, and have jumped the bandwagon already.
For the uninitiated, Employee Advocacy is getting your employees to spread the brand’s official communication with their personal social media networks, in turn helping the brand achieve its goals. It has proved to be extremely beneficial to brands in terms of ROI. No matter what the goals are (sales, branding, recruitment), empowering the employees to spread the word has shown tremendous results.

So you understand the superpower of employee advocacy and you can’t wait to bring out the Kal-El in every employee of yours. But taking this from “thinking about it” to “ready to launch” requires planning and a lot of involvement. In this article, we will discuss 6 steps to establish an employee advocacy program in your organization.

Step 1: Create a program for the long term
Employee advocacy is not a one off event. It is an on-going process. Even if results start showing up early on, it is important to think of the program as a long-term process. Employee advocacy is based on trust and authenticity which take time to develop. If you do not see the same ROI as you see from marketing and advertising, do not panic and be patient. Impatience is like Kryptonite for this super program. It has to be kept as away from the program as possible.

Step 2: Set the KPIs right at the onset
It’s true that an employee advocacy program is targeted to make your brand achieve its goals. But it is necessary to quantify the results and measure the progress.
Depending on the brand objectives, your KPIs could be different. Some examples could be number of employees participating, number of social media posts published, engagement rate, increase in reach and impressions of the brand social media properties.

Step 3: Get the internal Justice League in place
Employee Advocacy is a relatively new concept for many brands and it needs to be clear that it is a legit marketing function with its own managing team. The size of the team can vary as per the company but there should be a leader who can guide the team to stay aligned to the objectives.
The core team will require the necessary tools to make the employee engagement program standard and consistent. There are some great tools available that automate the employee advocacy programs and measure the performance. SocioAdvocacy is one such tool that is customizable and very efficient for organizations of any size.

Step 4: Train the heroes
Most of the employees will already be familiar with social media and it would be easy to on-board them for the employee advocacy program. But since there are standard practices and a tool going to be involved, a proper orientation and training will make the on boarding easy.
Make sure the employees understand the program and its benefits. Also, encourage them to ask as many questions as they want.

Step 5: Monitor and Measure
It is mandatory to measure the performance of your employee advocacy program to make sure that it is aligned with the brand goals. Your employees would need some time to understand the program guidelines and get a hang of how to use the tool. They might unintentionally (or intentionally) share the wrong messages with their personal networks. Regular monitoring would also ensure that the employees understand the implications of sharing any content on their personal profiles.

Step 6: Improvise and Optimise
Over time, you will realize that your objectives from the employee advocacy program or the KPIs might change. Employee advocacy in itself is new and is still evolving. Because of this, you should be open to change and refinement.
It’s always great to hear what your employees think of the program and ask for their suggestions. This will not only help you refine your program, but also give a sense of involvement to the employees.

Deploying a successful employee advocacy program is not a one-day job. But it is also not as hard as you think. Click here to get help in setting up the employee advocacy program. With proper planning, resources, people, and technology employee advocacy can make your brand fly.

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