The Hows and Whys of Creating an Employee Advocacy Program - Part II: Essential Tools and Supports
What tools and supports are necessary to the successful execution of an effective Employee Advocacy program.
Tuesday, September 27, 2022
by: Mara Dickson

Section: Newsletter Articles

Mara's Marketing MinuteDuring the AHTD Marketing Minutes at our Spring Meeting where we were “ConnectingCoasttoCoast” in Bonita Springs, we talked about the Hows and Whys of creating an Employee Advocacy program. We discovered:

1. What kinds of systems are essential for an effective Employee Advocacy program;
2. What tools are available to more easily run an Employee Advocacy program; and
3. What supports are necessary to the successful execution of an effective Employee Advocacy program.

This article will focus on the information contained in the second talk: What tools and supports are necessary to the successful execution of an effective Employee Advocacy program. Click here to read the blog from the first talk: What kinds of systems are essential for an effective Employee Advocacy program.

One of the most overlooked elements in any organization’s social media strategy is its own team. While social media is often about looking outwards at prospects and turning them into happy customers and advocates, employees at your company could be the key to unlocking more followers, improving engagement rates, and ultimately, generating more business.

An Employee Advocacy Program – a program which leverages the power of your employees' social media networks – designed with the purpose of amplifying your company’s marketing message, recruiting efforts, and sales reach to customers and employees, both existing and potential, will ultimately benefit your company AND your employees by giving them the opportunity to augment their personal brand, to extend their reach, and to establish them as bona fide thought leaders in their field of specialty. In Part I, I went into detail about the systems required to put such a program in place. In this blog I will discuss the tools and supports required to assure a successful Employee Advocacy Program.

2. Measurement tools - Tools for measurement and organization are the backbone of any successful marketing program, and an Employee Advocacy Program is no different.

Pulsea. Begin by establishing understandable metrics tied to the goals that are important to your business. Are you:

- creating content employees want to share?
- delivering it when they’re more likely to share it?
- using platforms they like for sharing content?

To see how external users’ interaction with your internet-connected product changes with the launch of your new Employee Advocacy Program check out Google Analytics, mixPanel, and Matomo.

Some social media tools that track, benchmark, and compare channels are Quintly, Keyhole, Sprout Social, agorapulse, and eClincher.

To create high-performing content, monitor, and track online mentions, consider BuzzSumo, mention, Meltwater, and Brandwatch. And don’t underestimate the analytics available native to each platform.

Benchmarking and analysis tools such as these will help you track adoption and formulate best practices for establishing external engagement through sharing.

Jugglingb. Managing content can be made easier with the use of organization tools such as a content calendar to plan messaging which also provides employees with easy access to new posts. At the minimum, the tool chosen should:

- provide storage and file sharing capabilities
- offer a system to keep track of post launches
- clearly mark information that is intended for employees only (perhaps background information…), in contrast with the information which may be shared
- provide the opportunity to suggest text that employees could add when sharing a post.

Some great content planning tools include: Asana, Notion, Trello, Google Sheets, CoSchedule, Monday, Teams, and everyonesocial.

All are great places to begin to empower your people to know how to share with their social networks important company news and engaging content! Offered at different price points and providing different features, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, but your team will find a tool that makes content creation and sharing work for you!

Supporting Team3. Supporting your team as they take on this new role will be paramount to the Advocacy program’s success.

a. You can support your team by generating excitement! Get your employees on board, informed, and excited about providing positive public information that promotes your organization’s strategic priorities.

- Start by creating compelling content that employees want to share, and then provide a feedback loop where your employee advocates can suggest content they want, content their networks find helpful, and other ideas for how the company can attract and maintain audience attention.

- ‚ÄčEncourage participation by recognizing employee engagement with the program and content. Recognition mobilizes and empowers those who do want to share your brand story!

- Dispel anxiety over the risk of ‘looking bad’ and ‘doing it wrong’ by offering solid ‘how-to’s in your training.

- Explain the importance of protecting company reputation. Emphasis on understanding and upholding company values instead of focusing on restrictions should inform what your employee advocates will and won’t be posting, how employees will conduct themselves on social media, and the consequences of being anti-social.

- Make sure to encourage employee advocates to spend time each day participating on social media!

b. And finally, keep employee advocates in the loop by making sure they know your brand image and what’s happening at the company in terms of innovation, new product launches, social activism, etc.

- Your people are more likely to post about your company if they understand exactly what your brand stands for – its mission, vision, and values.

- Not only will your Employee Advocacy Program have the benefit of attracting potential customers, it will also boost your employer brand. People want to know what it’s like working for your company – not just the benefits, the culture too.

- Everyone wants to feel like they’re in the know, and nobody enjoys getting left in the dark. Keeping your employees informed of the latest company news makes them feel engaged and valued within the organization. Two-way communication between employees and their company keeps workers informed and makes them feel included, boosting positive perceptions of the organization internally and externally.

- If employees feel like they’re part of the team and understand the organizational mission and appreciate how their efforts are contributing to that goal, they are far more likely to share the content you create and provide their own content.

So, there you have it. With the systems, tools, and support in place, Employee Advocacy can be an amazingly productive marketing strategy to employ. Get everyone in your company pointed in the right direction, and they will be sharing the right messages in the right way to the right people!

It is always great to be sharing these Marketing Minutes during our AHTD meetings and in our monthly newsletters, and I look forward to continuing these discussions in the time between now and our next in-person meeting! Consider signing up for an upcoming AHTD Marketing Roundtable Series, and please remember to tag us on your LinkedIn posts.

We love to share with our networks how AHTD members are #doinghightechbetter, together!