— January 31, 2019
When done correctly, employee advocacy is one of the best assets any business can use to exponentially expand the reach of the company on social media and to cultivate a more positive brand image.
Yet, this is only a portion of how an employee advocacy program benefits your company and brand. There are tons of valuable statistics from over the last few years.
The problem is, some businesses set their employees loose on social media with little training in how to be an effective advocate, thinking they’ll learn as they go.
This is a huge mistake.
It’s how your program ends up chaotic, weak adoption, or social media mistakes end up happening.
Employee advocacy can’t be a leap of faith for anyone – not for the employer or the employee.
To be effective, your company employee advocacy program must be rolled out strategically, with extensive training, ongoing support, and top-notch technology resources provided to participants.
Here are the key reasons employee advocacy should never be a leap of faith.
Strategic advocacy builds audience and brand recognition:
When relegated to a leap of faith, employees cannot be expected to know how to build audience and brand recognition for their employer.
Not every employee is a social media expert or knows exactly what is and isn’t acceptable ways to approach it.
Employee advocacy that’s strategic, by contrast, has built-in processes to ensure employees are properly trained in how to build a loyal following on social media and how to write and share posts that positively build brand recognition on social media.
This applies to the company brand, helping buyers, customers, and prospects see great content and information. It also applies to employees personal brands, which influences their career growth and professional development.
Strategic employee advocacy increases enterprise collaboration:
With leap-of-faith advocacy, the notion that employees will learn to work more effectively together becomes a crapshoot. The “provide it and they will come” idea has no guarantee to work for your company.
Building a strategic employee advocacy program ensures employees have infrastructure and processes in place to learn together, provide feedback, and share knowledge with one another.
It requires informing your workforce why this matters, how it works, what benefits they’ll see besides for the company. This all helps to create a unique enterprise collaboration among the entire workforce.
Through message boards set up by the employer and ongoing training and mentoring opportunities, employees learn how to translate the individual power of social media into the collective power of social media, for the benefit of their employer.
Strategic advocacy fosters the development of thought leadership:
One of the most valuable but elusive forms of employee advocacy is thought leadership.
Yes, yes you might groan at the term. But regardless of your feelings on the word, thought leadership is still incredibly valuable.
When employees become thought leaders, they learn to write authoritatively about their industry and develop a loyal, unique social-media following in the process.
Thought leaders aren’t cultivated through leaps of faith; they stem from a conscious effort by the employer to train, mentor and encourage employees in this elusive art.
Not all employees will care to be thought leaders either, which is perfectly fine. No one should be forced to do so. But relaying the benefits and options to share, many will naturally become thought leaders without realizing it.
Strategic employee advocacy motivates and inspires:
Employee advocacy initiatives built on leaps of faith are likely to lead to cacophony and frustration among the rank and file.
By contrast, an employee advocacy program with a strategy behind it can motivate and inspire employees. High-performing employees can be singled out for recognition, which, in turn, motivates others to continue to want to achieve more.
You know the saying, lead by example.
Gamification leaderboards and other technologies for cultivating employee advocacy can effectively encourage employees to take part in and to remain part of the initiative over the long term.
The trust and confidence that are engendered among employees by these well-thought-out efforts have trickle-down effects on all aspects of employee performance.
In an age in which corporate social-media initiatives can make or break a business’s reputation and standing on social media, it’s more important than ever that employee advocacy not become a leap of faith for your business.
Hoping to throw an idea and piece of technology to your team without any strategy, support, or behind the scenes context, only spells doom.
Remember, strategic planning for advocacy initiatives is essential for building your audience and brand, increasing collaboration among employees, fostering the development of thought leadership, and motivating and inspiring employees to achieve more.