If you are a hard-pressed social media manager creating content for your brand’s pages on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter and seeing little engagement, then empower your colleagues as brand ambassadors and leverage their social networks.
How to Plan a Social Media Champions Programme
In this article, I cover the pre-launch steps you need to take before launching an employee advocacy programme so it’s set up for success from the outset.
1. Social Media Audit
The aim of a social media audit is to provide a baseline for measuring the effectiveness of changes you plan to make to your social media activity.
Start by reviewing the profiles of your LinkedIn Company Page and Facebook Page and your Twitter and Instagram bios, making sure the information is accurate. For B2B companies it is also worthwhile ensuring all your employees are associated with the LinkedIn Company Page and that the descriptions of their role in the company are up-to-date.
Use your social media scheduling software, such as Hootsuite, to evaluate the performance of your social media posts or use each platform’s analysis tools. This can be a time-consuming exercise, so it is important to allocate sufficient time to pull together the statistics.
Look at your Google analytics to monitor the traffic from social media to your website.
It is worthwhile subscribing to a tool such as Agency Analytics to produce an easy to evaluate dashboard of statistics.
In addition, review your company’s Social Media Policy document and update it with guidelines regarding the new advocacy programme.
2. Social Media Competitive Analysis
The next step is to carry out a review of your main competitors’ social media activities.
There is plenty of software to help analyse the data. For example, Falcon.io, SEMRush, Brandwatch, but in markets where there are few competitors a couple of hours desk research will give you sufficient insights into your competitors’ activity.
3. Presentation to Senior Management
Gaining buy-in for your social media employee advocacy initiative from senior management is vital for success, as you will gain better uptake if led from the top. Team leaders can encourage their colleagues to get involved by explaining the benefits.
4. Employee Presentation and Questionnaire
Participants need to understand why they should get involved. After all being a brand ambassador is a voluntary role not written into any job description. Once employees understand the benefits of the programme to both their personal brand and the company, they will be more likely to take part.
I recommend a short questionnaire is sent to each employee asking about their social media activity and asking them to register their interest is sent immediately following the presentation.
5. Goal setting and rewards
Having a set of goals for the social media champions programme as a whole helps to keep it on track. It is also a good idea to set expectations for participants such as the number of shares per month and the number of posts different team members should suggest.
You will need to consider incentive and reward schemes appropriate to your company. Points to consider are:
- Should the rewards be monetary in the form of a voucher?
- What level of participation is needed to qualify?
- What is the period over which rewards are determined?
6. Choose your employee advocacy software
There are numerous software providers of employee advocacy platforms. The majority charge per user but I recommend choosing a platform which charges per 1,000 shares. This is the most cost effective and time efficient way to manage your employee advocacy programme.
7. Start your trial period
I highly recommend a trial period to learn and test the chosen software before you launch the full programme to participants. A three week trial is sufficient.
8. Establish your training schedule
The best employee advocacy programmes include training, not only on the software but also on how to use social media, particularly LinkedIn for B2B companies to support the brand.
My LinkedIn training for clients includes:
- LinkedIn profile basics
- The optimal About section
- LinkedIn Company Page interactions
- LinkedIn Experience and other sections which make your profile stand out
- LinkedIn Featured Sections
- Social media guidelines
- Best practices for structuring LinkedIn posts
- Finding content: RSS feeds, Google Alerts and reputable sources
- LinkedIn search – finding the right people in the right companies
- LinkedIn communications – invitations to connect
- LinkedIn communications – direct messages
9. Evaluate your trial
Setting up an employee advocacy programme takes time, but the ongoing management is straightforward as long as you have a thorough understanding of the software and are prepared to hand hold those colleagues who are less familiar with social media.
Finally, it’s time to launch.
Make sure there is plenty of great social media content for participants to share and encourage colleagues to join in by sharing help videos on your intranet or Slack channel.
I send out weekly updates to champions showing them where they stand together with tips and advance notice of events and company news to look out for.
Advocates end up knowing more about what’s going on in the organisation and feel part of a community which cares about the workplace.