How to Frame Employee Advocacy for Your Employees

There are plenty of blog posts about the benefits of employee advocacy for your enterprise. And there’s no shortage of content about getting executive buy-in for your advocacy program either.

But what about getting employee buy-in? Without the support of your employees, your advocacy program will never take off, you will miss your KPIs, and your program will belly flop. So, what’s a marketer supposed to do? How do you frame employee advocacy for your employees?

Simple. You answer one key question, which is this: What’s in it for your employees (not for your company)? Let’s take a look at the different ways to position advocacy with your employees.

Reason 0: Build The Company’s Brand

When marketers try to pitch employee advocacy to their employees, many lead with this particular line of reasoning. They try to get their colleagues excited about amplifying the brand’s message, and they are disappointed when their co-workers aren’t as excited as they are.

Unfortunately, the “Help us increase awareness!” plea will work only with a very small section of your workforce – marketers, a couple members of the C-suite, and a small percentage of employees who strongly identify with your brand.

Generally speaking, if you want to get your employees excited about social media, stay clear of this reason.

Reason 1: Expand Professional Network

If you’re going to lead with something, lead with the idea of network expansion. This is the number one benefit of employee advocacy for your advocates:

Today, a successful professional network is global. Attending local meet-ups or grabbing a coffee seems quaint, if not impossible. To develop solid professional relationships, it has become increasingly important to master the nuances of virtual networking, and, as many employees know, social media is a critical nexus in that network.

Reason 2: Keep up with Industry Trends

When marketers run employee advocacy programs, they tend to circulate company-created content, and that’s it. As a result, they are doing employees a huge disservice. While company-created content can help educate the workforce about internal campaigns and news, employees ultimately want to extend their field of knowledge beyond the organization and learn about the industry.

In part, this means having access to a platform that allows employees to read a wide variety of content from around the web. But it also means engaging in social listening (e.g. following industry-specific conversations through hashtags on Twitter). By helping your colleagues connect with content and communities, you will get them excited about using social media, and they will bring their newfound knowledge back to the company.

Reason 3: Build Digital Literacy

With so much talk about digital transformation, feeling “current” and “with the times” is important for employees, and advocacy is a great way for employees to build their digital literacy on social media. This is especially true if your program includes social media training.

You might be thinking, Only some of my employees will be interested in building their digital literacy. Probably the ones who didn’t grow up with social media. I mean, why would millennials need to build social skills? They already know how to use it.

Well, in fact, millennials care a lot about building their social literacy. Some see it as a competitive advantage on the job market. Others understand how to use social for personal reasons. They may know how to get the lighting just right when photographing a $50 entree at a chic restaurant, but they do not understand how to harness social networks for professional purposes.

The “professional purposes” part is crucial. Crying, “Build your digital literacy!” from the rooftops won’t attract employees. But when you frame social media in the context of someone’s professional duties, it’s much more intriguing.

So, show your employees how social media skills can help them sell more or help them be a better manager.

When we talk about networking on social media, we typically focus on networking outside one’s own company. However, social media offers advocates the opportunity to network within one’s own company, as well.

Let’s say that you work for a company with 10,000 employees, who are scattered across the globe. Chances are that you won’t meet most of them in a face-to-face setting, but through social media, you can start to build bridges within your organization, connecting with your colleagues who work in other departments and in other offices. In so doing, you build your reputation and visibility within your company, making you a strong contender for that promotion or for a secondment opportunity.

Every employee advocacy program has its marketing goals, but don’t lose sight of your employees’ goals. Those are equally as important, if not more important, because your program’s success is contingent on whether or not you meet your employees’ goals and expectations. Without program adoption, you won’t see results.

If you want to learn more about how Trapit can help with your employee advocacy program, contact us. We’d love to speak with you.

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