Answering Your Employees’ 3 Biggest Misconceptions about Employee Advocacy

Bah! Humbug! For your employee advocacy program to work, you need your employees to participate. But your employees are reluctant to participate in your program.

You know that your employees are on social media. You just can’t get them to be part of your official program. Below, you’ll find three common objections – with tips on how to overcome them.

“You’re trying to spy on me.”

Your employees’ privacy is important to them. If you’re managing an advocacy program, you have to acknowledge your commitment to your employees’ privacy. Reassure your employees that you trust them and that employee advocacy is not some type of conspiracy theory.

If an employee is still skeptical, here are a few measures that you can take.

1. Review your social media policy.

Your social media policy should indicate what your employees can and can’t do on social media. And if you’ve done your due diligence, your policy should be built on federal laws and regulations. When speaking with your employees, indicate that…

  • You respect your employees’ right to complain about their working conditions.
  • You cannot ask for your employees’ password, and therefore, you cannot post on your behalf.
  • If your employees endorses your products or speaks about your competitors on social media, the FTC requires that your employees identify their affiliation with your company. That’s why you’re asking your employees to identify their employer on social media.

2. Offer training related to what’s private and what’s public on social media.

Some employees may not understand the difference between what’s public on social and what’s private. Take Twitter as an example. Unless your employees change their privacy settings, you can see their public tweets. But you cannot see their direct messages.

Facebook can cause a lot of confusion for employees simply because there are so many privacy settings. You may want to show your employees how to create friend lists, hide posts from their walls, and change the privacy settings on their photo albums.

3. Emphasize that your program is meant to help your employees.

Indicate that the goal of the program is not to monitor your employees, but rather, to empower them. You want to help them reach their professional goals through social media. You want to teach them, for instance, how to leverage LinkedIn to reach their sales quotas.

“I want my social media profiles to be a reflection of me – not my company.”

If your employee advocacy program has matured, you should be committed to fighting corporate spam. You don’t want each and every status update to sound like it came from your PR or marketing office, nor do you want your employees to share only branded content.

Instead, teach your employees how they can personalize their social media presence. Discuss the following:

1. Tone and Voice on Social

Employees should have a strong personal brand, and they should understand how to convey that brand on social media. Sit down with them and have them map out the tone that they want to convey when communicating on social media.

2. Content Choices

Sure, you will supply your employees with branded content. You want your employees to be proud of their company and to feel part of the marketing, PR, and HR efforts. But encourage them to use the 4-1-1 rule and share third-party content related to their industry and hobbies.

3. This Is Voluntary.

Emphasize that participating in your employee advocacy program is voluntary. Your employees do not have to participate. If they feel like they are being asked to do too much on social media, they can drop out of the program.

“My boss doesn’t want me on social media.”

Let’s imagine that your employee’s boss is, indeed, anti-social. This isn’t some lame excuse from your employee. If that’s the case, it sounds like your executive sponsor needs to have a chat with the employee’s disapproving boss.

In the meantime, here are some action items that you can take with your employee.

1. Help Your Employees Create Goals for Their Social Media Use.

When you’re on-boarding employees, help your employees set realistic, professional goals. If your employees are in HR and want to attract new top talent, what tactics should the employees use? How many new hires do they want to add to the talent pipeline each month using social media? Go over these kinds of questions with your advocates.

2. Include testimonials from their fellow coworkers.

Use your marketing know-how. You know that testimonials help customers buy your product. Well, testimonials can help your employees feel comfortable with your advocacy program. If prospective advocates hear how social media helped their co-workers, it might ease their fears.

3. Introduce Your Executive Sponsor.

Maybe the employee’s boss is skeptical, but someone in upper management is championing your cause. Have your executive sponsor introduce himself or herself. That way, your employees understand that the company backs their social media efforts.

Getting Employee Buy-in

Getting your employees to join your advocacy program is all about education. You have to educate them on the benefits of social media for work, as well as your company’s overall commitment to social.

In short, employee advocacy is a long-term investment in your employees’ professional development. That’s why you’re doing it.

Good luck getting your employees on board. Let us know your challenges for getting employee buy-in in the comments below!


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Image Credit: Ethan Lofton

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