In the third part of a series on Employee Advocacy (EA) we are exploring common problems that arise when launching and running an EA program. To read about why EA is important, click here. To learn how to launch an EA program, click here.
Congratulations! You’ve made it through the first phases of implementing an EA program. Don’t be discouraged if you’re running into some hurdles: we’re here to help.
Hurdle: The Bystander
Every. Single. Office. Will have one (or more.) Don’t be discouraged. Just continue to feed positive energy into the program and it will be fine. You will never get 100% of your team on board, and frankly, that’s just fine. As we showed in the first blog, even if you have 50% participation, you can still create tremendous traction online.
From your employee’s perspective, being active on social is not only extra work, but also risky. Being on social can get you fired. If you say the wrong thing… goodbye, job. It’s easier to sit back and hope “somebody” else does it. You can’t be fired for not participating in EA. So how do you motivate these employees?
1. Personal rewards: For people who are motivated by relationships, provide rewards that encourage personal development, like lunch with the CEO.
2. Power rewards: For people who are motivated by power, provide rewards that speak to their innate desire for authority. For example, allow them to choose where you order lunch.
3. Achievement rewards: For people who are motivated by achievement, provide rewards that publicly recognize how excellent they are. A leaderboard or “Employee of the Week” is a good example of this.
Of course, there’s always a gift card, too.
For companies with an international footprint, a leaderboard can be completely out of the question due to labor laws. If you’re facing this scenario, bring creative ideas (like lunch with the CEO) to your legal team and hope something sticks. If rewards are completely out of the question, make sure your EA program is fun. Hopefully you can draw some of those bystanders into the sunshine with the promise of fun.
Hurdle: I’m Afraid To Get In Trouble
We’ve all heard the stories: employee posts something on social media and gets fired. Workers may ask themselves, “Is this tweet worth risking my career?” Combat this fear by ensuring your teammates are well-versed in the company’s social media policy.
Another simple tip: give them suggested posts tailored to specific platforms. For a B2B company like Oracle, it makes sense for employees to share our content on LinkedIn so they can build their own professional brand. For a B2C company, it might make more sense for employees to share on Facebook or Twitter, where potential customers are already present. This way, it won’t feel like advertising - it would be a natural extension of the product. For example, if you own a pet store, it would make sense for your employees to post pictures of their animals with “#LoveMyPetStore” on Facebook.
Hurdle: You’re a “Boring” Brand
Okay, so maybe you’re not the coolest brand on the planet, but that doesn’t mean your employees can’t advocate for you. Emphasize your corporate culture. At Oracle Social, we highlight our tradition of “Fancy Friday” to show off our quirky personalities. Have some fun with it. It’s social media!
Hurdle: Sustaining Engagement
We all love shiny new things… until we get bored. We’ve experienced this first-hand at Oracle; our first EA initiative was a whopping success, but the second one was not as effective. Granted, the second push still had much higher engagement than a non-EA post, but it wasn’t as popular as the first.
Beat the doldrums by launching mini-campaigns that spark creativity. Keep the campaigns short so you have the “fresh and new” feeling. A campaign could consist of a hashtag, keyword, topic… whatever lights your imagination. The key is to take one small part of your marketing strategy and highlight it for a short period of time. You want to build a pattern of behavior.
Hurdle: Show Me The Money!
If you’re not using an EA tool that tracks clicks and conversions, that’s okay. It will be a little bit harder, but you can show the ROI on EA.
Start by setting goals. What numbers are you hoping to achieve? Are you measuring success by general metrics like reach, impressions, and engagement? Or do you have a specific program you are launching?
Once you’ve established your goals, you’ll have to do some math. (Don’t worry, it’s not hard.) Compare the metrics from pre-EA launch to post-EA launch. See? Not so bad.