Speaking from personal experience I can tell you, without a shadow of a doubt, that the recent years have seen a massive spike in the interest in employee advocacy.
You know, that strategy where you get your employees to talk positively about your brand on social media. Heard of it? Of course, you have. Yet for all, skepticism remains at an all-time high.
I tried to clarify a few basic doubts, but I think it’s time to set the record straight.
The only reason why a company will fail at employee advocacy is because YOU’RE DOING SOMETHING WRONG!
Employee advocacy, when done right, can make brands more personable and thereby build loyalty, and plus, it makes work fun for your employees!
So stop the blame game and put your big boy/girl pants on. I’m going to tell you what’s got your numbers in a slump.
5 things that are causing your employee advocacy program to fail
Let’s face facts. Customers, especially millennials, are more likely to listen to the opinions of their friends and family than what the marketing gurus tell you. Yes, I see the irony in that statement. But it’s true. And the sooner we come to terms with that, the faster we get growing again.
No one wants to work with a company who can’t even keep their employees happy. Conversely, if your employees have nothing but love for you, that’s bound to attract the attention of envious talent, and even prompt people to do business with you – just from their sheer enthusiasm and will to try!
Here’s what goes wrong, straight from the many companies that have tried and failed at employee advocacy,
1. Lack of relevant content
Let’s not kid ourselves. There’s content everywhere. So why would your employees choose to share content from your channels?
Think about it. Unless you work in Marketing, Sales or HR, you wouldn’t even be reading this article. But how do you get someone on your Accounts team to become a brand advocate if all that you’re sharing sounds like a marketing pitch?
The content that you put out on your social sites needs to resonate with the person reading and sharing it.
There’s a reason the internet is ruled by cats. They’re relatable. I mean, isn’t every picture of a cat a blank canvas of any human emotion?
Focus on creating quality content that your employees can relate to and it’ll be share-worthy. A blend of content that builds work culture, spells out employee recognition and creates marketing buzz is ideal for an employee advocacy program.
For instance, employees are more likely to share ‘Our super new uniforms!’ on Facebook, rather than ‘Have a look at our new product X.’
2. Expecting too much too soon
Good things come to those who wait. Just like all other things, employee advocacy will need time to work its magic. It isn’t pixie dust that can be tossed in the air to get instant results.
From convincing employees to get on the program to motivating them to stay on it, it’s a constant effort that needs to be nurtured.
Even if companies see results quickly, they might be inclined to take their eye off the ball. Don’t!
Consistency is the key to running a successful employee advocacy program.
3. There’s nothing in it for the employees
It is only natural that employees get something in return for their added roles as employee brand ambassadors. Asking employees to be good advocates without recognizing their efforts does not do much for morale and motivation.
On the other hand, sustaining employee advocacy by rewards alone sidesteps the fact that the employees should do this out of their own interests; out of pride and conviction in the company. By overdoing it with the rewards, the employees may not be proactive in their advocacy efforts and won’t feel obliged to be advocates if the rewards aren’t forthcoming.
The best is to find a balance between the two. Perhaps consider offering non-monetary rewards. An extra day off, prepaid cab rides, and the likes.
4. Creating puppet advocates
A hurried employee advocacy program does not explain the intricacies of the ‘advocacy’ part to employees. The employees will parrot what the management asks them to without actually believing in it. This is more likely to create puppet advocates rather than true advocates.
When there is nothing to parrot, the employees will simply not have any message to pass on by their own initiative.
5. Not using an employee advocacy platform
Okay, this one’s plain old confusing. You’ll pay a professional to cut your hair, but you think that something like your employee advocacy program can be handled DIY style?!
Not only does an employee advocacy platform make it easier for your employees to share content (through one-click sharing) but it also keeps the cranky CMO’s happy with real-time reporting. This is, of course, two features from an array of other benefits you get by using an employee advocacy program.
Don’t believe me? Just ask for a demo or a free trial from SocioAdvocacy, the quintessential tool for any employee advocacy program. You’ll see.
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