Regardless of whether you run a multi-million dollar corporation or a week-old food truck business, gaining a trustworthy reputation and a strong social presence are things that you absolutely must invest time and money into.
While you might think that posting a daily selfie of you in the office will do the trick, that is far from enough. Even if you produce great content and post frequently, cutting through the crowd and making your mark can still be quite a task.
Indeed, a great marketing strategy is absolutely essential. You must create great content, engage with your audience, attract new potential customers, earn their trust, rinse, and repeat. Sure, there are many great marketing tools available (such as email marketing, social media marketing, etc.) that will help boost your online presence. However, they usually cost a fair amount of money.
This is where having a great employee advocacy program comes into play. These programs are by far one of the best yet underutilized strategies to grow a strong social presence naturally.
If you’ve never heard of such a thing, no worries – we’re here to help. Let’s take a look at what an employee advocacy program is anyway, and how to build one successfully.
What is an Employee Advocacy Program?
In short, employee advocacy is when employees become influencers for a company, promoting its products, culture, and offerings to friends and family.
When you create an employee advocacy program, you’re essentially turning your employees into brand ambassadors/influencers, who in turn promote the brand to their social connections on social media and in person.
This, in turn, allows you to reach an audience that you would’ve had to pay to reach otherwise (in the form of Facebook ads, for example). While ads are great for growing your brand’s audience, the best form of advertisement for any company is when people casually recommend your brand/service to their friends and family. It takes away the need for you to build trust and authority.
How to Build an Employee Advocacy Program
#1: Create a Strategy
To begin, you must first create a strategy. This step involves defining the goals of the program, key performance metrics, and other important pieces of data. A few key metrics to be mindful of are tactical metrics (such as engagements, reach, click-throughs, etc.) and revenue metrics (how much revenue the program brings in).
Then, you’ll need to decide who participates in the program and who will manage it as well. Naturally, you should focus on your sales and marketing departments first, since they are client-facing.
#2: Select Your Team
This sounds hard, but it is important to have great team to test for the program. This team will be helping you learn more about what’s working and what needs to be improved. For starters, you should look for employees who are high-performing, influential, and interested. If they are savvy with social media platforms, that is a plus as well.
#3: Demonstrate the Benefits for All Parties
Of course, if you want your employees to keep high morale about the program, you have to demonstrate the value in it for them. The goal with this step is to be as transparent and upfront as possible. Let your advocates know exactly how the program works, what's in it for them, and what’s in it for the company. Feel free to use email, slideshows, video presentations, or whatever other media helps to capture your advocates’ interests.
#4: Provide Needed Training
In many cases, you might have to implement a training plan to ensure that your advocates understand all that is required of them as part of the program. For example, you may want to set up social media training so that those who are not social media savvy can learn how to set up a profile, build their networks, and engage with others effectively. This is also a time to establish a list of the do's and don’ts of your program.
#5: Evaluate KPIs
Once your program is in effect and at least a month as gone by, it’s now time to measure the performance of your program – and advocates – in every way possible. This will help you understand where your program is succeeding and where it might have room for further improvement. With most employee advocacy programs, the most common KPIs that matter are the number of leads generated, total followers gained, and website traffic increase (or decrease).
#6: Grow It and Make It Fun
Once you’ve established a set method of operation for the program, it’s time to focus on growing it and making it fun! To grow the program, offer it to even more employees who may be interested. To make it fun, try incentive's your employees with cash or perhaps a monthly competition.
Learn how to extend your reach with employee advocacy within your company. Get started with Designedbycarla and get your team involved today.