9 Tactics for Next-Level Employee Advocacy on Social
By: Natasa Djukanovic, CMO, Domain.ME
February 27, 2020
According to Nielsen, 67 percent of Americans feel more overwhelmed by advertising than they did five years ago, in part due to the rise of ads served on their favorite social media networks and streaming services. Studies have shown that, on average, most companies manage four to 10 social media accounts to increase their brand visibility. And with so many brand accounts vying for consumers’ attention, your chances of standing out are diminishing by the day.
The key to creating a brand persona that drives customer loyalty and awareness is in direct customer communication, especially if it comes from employees. 72 percent of consumers feel more connected to a brand whose staff posts on social media. Therefore, it’s advantageous for companies to leverage their employees to foster meaningful dialogue with customers on their own channels.
Here are some strategies for converting your employees into your biggest social media champions.
Introduce your employees to your audience. Your marketing and sales teams should not be the only ones well-acquainted with your customers. Every tier of the company should have an understanding of who your customers are and what they want. Make sure potential brand ambassadors are aware of your customer base’s challenges, motivations and preferences. For instance, when Automattic employees are hired, they spend their first two weeks working directly with customers and one week each subsequent year, regardless of their position within the company.
Hold a Q&A session. Invite colleagues interested in becoming brand ambassadors to an info session focused on the company’s online presence. Coach employees on how to communicate with customers on their own social media pages. Practice scenarios in which employees can provide expert knowledge to address customer pain points. Close out with a brainstorming portion to set the foundation for future social media guidelines.
Don’t force the issue. Not all employees will relish the idea of posting elements of their workday on social media. You don’t want to foist this on them or make posting on social media involuntary. Begrudging posts from employees are the opposite of what you’re looking for here. From the start, you must communicate that posting about the company is open to everyone, but not obligatory.
Set social media guidelines…Implementing a set of social media guidelines will provide structure for your employees’ company-related activities on social media, while encouraging them to imbue their posts with personality and enthusiasm. Your social media guide should outline the behavior and interactions that work best on different social platforms.
…And limitations. Brand ambassadors should aim for unpolished content offering a behind-the-scenes look at your organization—but be sure to lay out what is appropriate. Sharing an impromptu office birthday celebration or spontaneous dance party is great, but employees need to be careful that the background does not contain any confidential material. Employees should also ask everyone featured in the video if they are comfortable with their face being shared online before posting.
Create a custom hashtag. Launch a hashtag to denote behind-the-scenes content—a (clean) office joke, an employee blowing out the candles on their birthday cake, a video from your last team-building exercise. Reebok encourages its employees to share photos of them wearing Reebok products; their posts are always accompanied with a custom #FitAssCompany hashtag.
Choose your employee advocates. If you have a wide pool of potential advocates, appoint those staff members who are already eager to contribute content as your brand ambassadors. If you work at a smaller company, you can start by creating a community culture in which everyone will contribute by posting and sharing content.
Prep advocates before major announcements. When promoting a new service or product, be sure to discuss how your employees can amplify the company’s efforts. Brief your brand ambassadors in advance of a big company announcement and give them the opportunity to be the first to share, which will help them grow their social media clout. In time, they will become known in their own online communities as go-to people for information on what the company has to offer.
Reward employee advocacy. Be sure to reward your employees for contributing toward better brand awareness and customer connectivity. Depending on your budget, rewards can range from a cake or small office party to pricier items like sports tickets. (Adobe recently took employee advocates to a Giants game.) The important thing is to let your brand ambassadors know that you see and appreciate them.
Natasa Djukanovic is the CMO of Domain.ME, the company that operates the “.ME” internet domain. An economist, Natasa has spent her career at the intersection of international relations, technology and leadership. She is also the co-founder of NGO digitalizuj.me, as well as a personal branding expert and a startup mentor.
Follow Natasa: @natasad