Fact: Your employees are on social media. While more traditional brands might want to prevent employees from talking about work online, many brands are taking the opposite strategy. Instead, they encourage personal branding for employees and connect them to the brand vision. This opportunity is untapped by many organizations. In a recent survey, only 31% of organizations had an employee advocacy program, and a further 29% had plans to implement one in the future.
Nurturing employee advocacy also benefits DTC brands that want to reach a broad audience. Advocacy drives business. Recommendations from a friend or family member make 83% of consumers more likely to purchase a product or service. And, since they know your brand better than almost anyone, their influence can be even more potent. Employee advocacy humanizes your brand, amplifies your reach and improves your image with potential customers and employees.
Want to get started on your own employee advocacy program? Here are a few key points to keep in mind to build a successful advocacy program your employees will want to join and participate in.
Set Clear Expectations and Performance Measures
Building a solid foundation for your employee advocacy program is crucial. Participants should understand what you expect in terms of engagement, time spent promoting material and any potential rewards they could receive. For instance, while employees can post about your organization, they’re not official spokespeople and should direct requests for quotes through the proper channels.
With a few rules out of the way, it’s also important to build in your performance measures from the start so you can define and track success. Some social media marketing platforms offer add-ons for employee advocacy, but you can build something as simple as an employee-specific hashtag. Here are some examples of metrics you can use:
- Number of clicks generated from social sharing
- Engagement (likes, retweets, shares) with employee messages
- Increased post reach
- Conversions from linked products and posts
Remember, not all advocacy engagements will have a number or a conversion tied to them. Employee advocacy builds trust and elevates the conversation about a brand. Consumers are largely tuning out advertising, so posts that feel spammy aren’t likely to resonate. Talking authentically about a brand and a product is what gets at the heart of influencer marketing.
Reward Employee Engagement and Advocacy
Mandatory participation in an employee advocacy program is a recipe for disaster. Instead, employees should want to talk about where they work and generate excitement, not just go through the motions.
Making the program available and simple is the first step, but the next step is to clearly define what’s in it for them. Recognition and tangible rewards can be powerful incentives to participate and grow your employee advocacy program. These rewards include:
- Cash or bonus awards for sharing
- Regular recognition of top employee advocates
- Competition-style leaderboards by department or business group
- Awarding points for advocacy activities
Gamification of your advocacy program can transform activity into exciting, tangible rewards. For instance, employees can cash in their advocacy points and use their earnings to purchase items in a specialty employee store. Whether it’s a competition or a chance to rack up points, employees will enjoy earning rewards and getting to the top of the leaderboard.
Transform Employees into Brand Advocates
Employee advocacy is quickly becoming a vital piece of any brand’s social media and advocacy strategy. A cohesive, effective program is self-motivating; employees want to share what they’re working on and promote their favorite products. Employee advocacy is also available to everyone, not just marketing and sales. This shows potential customers that your employees love where they work and the products they’re promoting. Since your employees are already posting about where they work, help funnel that activity into metrics you can use.
Ready to set up your own employee advocacy program? Learn more about specialty stores and how Scalefast’s solutions can help you build your own employee flash sale or reward store.