4 Employee Advocacy Questions You Need to Ask Your Employees

It’s tempting to build an employee advocacy program on the shifting sand of assumptions. As marketers, we can fall prey to the belief that employees are just another marketing channel. Like email or social, our employees will simply deliver our message to their friends and colleagues – whenever and wherever we want them to.

Bad news: Employees don’t operate like email or social. If we want employees to adopt our advocacy programs, we need to consult them and find out what our employees want. Here are four questions that you should ask your employees.

Question #1: What Type of Content Do You Want to Share?

We, marketers, spend a lot of time creating content. So, of course, we want our employees to share it. But is that what your advocates want?

When our customers ask their employees that question, they’re often surprised. While their advocates enjoy sharing the company’s content, they are also looking to educate themselves and their followers by sharing third-party content like industry news.

As a starting point for this question, you may want to consult our survey on employees’ content preferences.

Question #2: How Do You Want to Receive Content?

The more content delivery channels, the better, right? Not always.

For instance, one of our customers was distributing content to advocates across as many channels as possible, including email, mobile, intranet, etc. And what our customer found was surprising.

“Be where your customers are.” That’s the marketing proverb in vogue right now. However, the same is not always true for employee advocates. When our customer asked their employees about their delivery preferences, they found that their employees were overwhelmed. Content suggestions were everywhere – on every possible channel. So, our customer wisely cut back on delivery channels, which, in turn, freed up time for the marketing team because they no longer had to be everywhere.

Question #3: What Topics Do You Want to Cover in Social Media Training?

Social media training can’t be “one size fits all.” Employees are at different stages of their personal journey with social. Some will be experts at social media, while others will be setting up profiles for the first time. To reflect those differences, Sarah Goodall developed this maturity model:

With so many skill levels, training employees can be difficult. So, how do you figure out what to include in your training sessions? Simply put, you ask your employees. Making assumptions will get you nowhere. Once you’ve asked your employees, then, you can build a training curriculum for the different skill levels of your advocates.

To help you get started, we put together this training needs assessment.

Question #4: What Do You Want to Accomplish on Social Media?

Being an employee advocate is fun. Promoting your company is nifty. Helping the marketing team create brand awareness is groovy. But there comes a time when employees want more. They will want a compelling answer to the question, “What’s in it for me (WIIFM)?”

Good employee advocacy programs don’t just serve marketing; they serve employees, as well. They help employees use social to achieve their business objectives. They help salespeople sell more. They help recruiters recruit more. The help communications teams communicate better.

If your advocacy program doesn’t answer the WIIFM question, you’ll watch your number of advocates dwindle.

Making assumptions about our advocates’ needs only gets us into trouble. What is good for the goose (i.e. the marketing department) is not always good for the gander (i.e. your employees). That’s why it’s worth your time to ask your employees what they want.

What have you asked your employees? Feel free to share your questions in the comments section below.

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