When Site Strategics CEO Erin Sparks spoke with special guest Glenn Gaudet, CEO of GaggleAMP, for episode 317 of the award-winning EDGE of the Web podcast, they talked about what’s involved in starting an employee advocacy program for marketing. Here’s what we learned:
Expectations and Getting Started
Think about the social media policies companies plop down in front of their employees. They tend to be all about what NOT to do, right? How many of them talk about what employees can and should do on social media related to the company? This is what employee advocacy is all about – providing good guidelines for how to talk about the company on social media.
The value of well-defined platforms such as GaggleAMP is that you don’t have to stress over helping people figure out what say on social media or what to talk about. All kinds of helpful activities are prepackaged to make it easy. It might be asking people to share a piece of content on LinkedIn, it might be retweeting something, it might be commenting on a blog post about something in the industry. But you also have to start it with the proper expectations.
Don’t expect 100% participation. After all, is there anything used in your company that has 100% adoption? Of course not, so don’t expect it with employee advocacy either. Also, don’t expect the program to look the same down the road – it will constantly change and grow. You’ll find out what works and what doesn’t. And the data you collect along the way is priceless because you’ll see what your employees think of your marketing and messaging. If your message doesn’t resonate with your employees, maybe you have to rethink your messaging.
Employee Reactions to Advocacy Programs
How will employees react to an advocacy program? In most companies, you’re going to have two extremes and then a big middle. On one extreme, you’ve got the people who are already active in social. Frankly, you don’t need to do much with these folks, they’re already out there chatting away. On the other end, you’ve got the folks who it doesn’t matter what you ask them to do, it doesn’t matter how easy you make it, they’re not going to get on board. The folks in the middle are the most important. Those are the people who are a little hesitant, there might be a little bit of fear about what to do, how do I do it, where do I do it, and so on. They’re the ones that need guidance and if you give it to them, they will be very effective amplifiers of your messaging.
What won’t work is a half-assed “advocacy” program that is little more than sending an email to employees saying you want them to retweet some of the last twenty company tweets. First of all, that feels like extra work. It doesn’t make it easy. And how are you going to know if it was effective without any kind of tracking? All of that is made possible with an employee advocacy platform like GoogleAMP, which also qualifies it for employees as well. And leaderboards mean you can then recognize the top folks who are into it.
It’s very important when creating an advocacy program that has both personal gains as well as corporate gain. A really good program is going to have a win/win scenario so the employee gains as much as the company gains. If you’re going to have a really successful program, you have to think in terms of the voice and the desires of the employees, because they want something out of this, too.
The Evolution of Employee Advocacy Programs
Glenn really kicked things off with his idea back in 2010. It took years for other marketing platforms to start adding on some kind of employee advocacy component, but it tended to be little more than a content library where employees could choose something to share. No guidance, no making it easy or fun, and no metrics to track effectiveness. GoogleAMP is still the only fully developed employee advocacy platform. But overall, employee advocacy programs are finally getting more attention because with all the changes in social media algorithms, the new focus is on engagement, which just so happens to be what employee advocacy programs are all about, so interest is growing rapidly now. And the next frontier of employee advocacy is content creation.
Special GaggleAMP Page and Resources for EDGE Fans
Visit http://www.gaggleamp.com/edge and you’ll find several free resources all about employee advocacy programs, including an eBook you can download, a webinar you can watch, and more to help you think through starting an employee advocacy program.
Connect with Glenn Gaudet and GaggleAMP
Twitter: @gaggleamp (https://twitter.com/gaggleamp)
Faebook: @gaggleamp (https://www.facebook.com/gaggleamp)
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