7 Steps to a Successful Employee Advocacy Launch
Consider the following statements:
Your corporate social media posts are failing to gain significant reach due to the social media platforms’ algorithms which control.
As a result, engagement on branded social media has fallen.
Trust in corporate messages is declining as consumers become ever more savvy.
The cost of social media adverts is rising, so ‘paying to play’ requires a significant budget.
Have you considered asking your most important assets – your people – to help overcome these problems by setting up a Social Champions Programme? After all, many of them are talking to customers everyday. They are already networking, telemarketing and emailing and being social in an informal way in company time. So, why not involve them in sharing your content with their networks?
Foundations for a Social Champions Programme
Before you launch a Social Champions Programme it is important to carry out several preparatory tasks to ensure your new initiative gets off to a successful start. In this article, we look at the pre-launch phase in more detail.
Step 1: Social Media Audit
The first step in planning a Social Champions Programme is to audit the company’s existing social media accounts, looking back over the past four quarters and the year as a whole. For each social channel examine the following, reach and engagement rate of your posts using a trial version of a tool such as TrueSocialMetrics which allows you to compare your social accounts against those of your competitors.
Some of the metrics, together with their trend over time, you will examine are:
Amplification rate = number of Shares/number of Posts
This indicates how many times on average each of your posts was Shared/Retweeted (e.g. Amplification rate = 2.5 means that each of your posts was shared 2.5 times on average).
Conversation rate = number of Comments/number of Posts
This indicates how many Comments/Replies on average each of your posts has received. (e.g. Conversation rate = 5 means each of your posts has an average of 5 comments).
Applause rate = number of Likes/number of Posts
indicates how many Likes/Favorites each of your posts has received on average
(e.g. Applause rate = 10 means each of your posts has an average of 10 Likes).
It is also useful to look at your Google analytics in detail to ensure that you start out with a picture of the traffic gained from each social media platform to the website. Emphasis can then be placed on the platform which provides the highest traffic. For B2B companies this is likely to be LinkedIn.
For those companies which set goals in Google analytics (usually e-commerce sites) it is also valuable to measure the economic value of each visit to the website.
For B2B websites where sales are unlikely to be directly attributable to a specific website visit, you can calculate the equivalent earned media value of your social traffic.
Step 2: Social Media Policy
Once you are clear about the historic numbers, it’s time to revisit your social media policy document to check if it accurately reflects the social media activity you are intending to encourage your employees to take.
A social media policy document sets out expectations for the use of social media during the working day and for what is acceptable when it comes to mentioning the company when using personal social media accounts. It usually forms part of an employee handbook and is usually referred to when a new employee starts but is rarely revisited or updated.
Ensure the ‘dos’ and don’ts’ are up-to-date, that there is a date in the diary for a further review and a note of who is responsible for its sign-off. It is usual for marketing, business development, sales, HR and legal to review a social media policy document. If necessary, compliance may also be required to approve the content.
Step 3: Social Champions Presentation to Senior Management and Employees
The next step is to introduce the benefits of employee advocacy and a Social Champions Programme to as wide an audience as possible. Very large companies with over 1,000 employees may wish to run a pilot programme. However, I would recommend small and medium enterprises aim high and gain buy-in from as many advocates from the start.
This presentation will demonstrate the software needed to run the Social Champions Programme to show that participating is as simple as tapping an app!
It is recommended that everyone attending the presentation is asked whether they would like to participate before the end of the session.
Step 4: Goals and metrics for your Social Champions Programme
Whether it’s simply brand awareness or an increase in leads or sales, having clear, measurable goals which are reviewed regularly is important to keep advocates motivated and to ensure there is a positive return on investment.
Goals can be divided into:
Employee Participation Goals
For example: Number of employees participating as a percentage of total potential pool of participants, number of Champions who post, percentage of champions who post, number of Champions attending training sessions, number of rewards given to Champions.
Total size of audience (potential reach) for each Champion, total size of audience for each company social profile.
Total number of posts crafted per week for sharing, total number of champion-generated posts per week, total posts per champion, total engagement per champion.
Traffic to website, Earned media value, Number of inputs to CRM system or download of lead magnets.
Step 5: Onboarding to an advocacy platform
The next step is to decide on the roles each champion will take and to onboard them to the software which is used to manage the content and monitor activity and metrics. It is recommended that a programme with less than 250 champions has three or four admin advocates and as many team leaders as there are teams.
The onboarding process will take each Champion a few minutes; it’s a simple registration process and linking of social profiles to the software. All communications between the software and the Champions are via a daily email update and notifications on the app.
Step 6: Content Planning
Many organisations will already have a content calendar for social media posting. Launching a Social Champions Programme which allows the import of RSS feeds from their blog, YouTube and external websites with relevant industry news will help to start the initiative with plenty of social posts which gives the champions plenty of choice and avoids all the personal newsfeeds being filled with the same posts.
Step 7: Gamification Decisions
Although not essential, it is a good ideas to assign a points system for different activities. More points can be assigned for sharing than gaining likes. The key is to keep the system straightforward as well as encouraging high quality content which gains engagement.
Once you have complete these seven steps, most of which are one-off tasks and with these documents, presentations, questionnaire answers and registrations in place it’s time to launch your Social Champions Programme.
If you are looking to discuss if a Social Champions Programme will skyrocket your your social media reach and engagement, please get in touch by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.