As we all fall victim to content overload, brands seek new ways to get their content in front of receptive audiences. One approach that has the potential to pay big dividends, but often goes overlooked, is employee advocacy.
In a recent podcast recording, Julio Viskovich, VP of Marketing at rFactr, discusses why employees have emerged as the biggest marketing asset at a brand’s disposal. Bigger, in fact, than the brand itself.
The 7x Solution
Edelman’s Trust Barometer reports that people are seven times more likely to be engaged by a message from a real person, as opposed to a message from a brand.
That’s a huge number that brands can’t afford to ignore, and one that raises the question: how do you envision, launch, and manage an effective employee advocacy program?
Envisioning the Program
As with any marketing effort, you will need to have a strategy in place, one that addresses:
- What you want to accomplish, i.e., your business goals
- Why employees would want to get involved
- How you will measure progress and results
Not that long ago, extending your reach through social media might have been an acceptable goal. But today, every marketing effort that does not contribute directly to the financial health of the brand is likely to find itself on the chopping block at some point.
As for your employees, you can’t just ask them to retweet for you or share your content. Well, you could, and some brands do, but the results often fall short of expectations. You will need to provide motivation for employees to get involved – the why – as well as training and governance to help them succeed.
Getting those employees involved who are already active on social media shouldn’t be too difficult. They won’t need to learn new behavior, just new techniques. For them, the payoff is that they evolve a skill that makes them more valuable to your brand.
To make employee participation even more desirable, crowdsource the naming of your program to make it snappy and fun.
Training should be ongoing, as social media platforms change often. Learning how to add context to their posts and the appropriate ways to engage people will be new even for those who are socially active. Because people learn in different ways, training should use a variety of methods, including those that give participants a way to ask questions.
In addition, you should spell out in black and white what is acceptable to say and what is not.
There are at least two things you will want to measure:
- The progress participating employees are making
- The impact of their efforts on your brand
The Role of Content
Of course, making sure employees have excellent content to share is key to your employee advocacy program. In the podcast, Julio Viskovich recommends using the 4-1-1 rule. For every six pieces of content shared, four should be content curated from other sources, one piece should be your brand’s content, and another should be about the employee’s work or related activities.
It is the brand’s job to have this content readily available to your employees and to make sure it is relevant and impactful.
Yes, there is a lot involved with building a successful employee advocacy program. But with a 7-times greater likelihood of achieving engagement compared with brand channels, tapping into your biggest asset – your employees – is well worth the investment. Be sure to catch my podcast with Julio Viskovich.