If you’ve already launched, or proposed, an employee advocacy program you’ll probably have come up against blockers and challenges. Implementing an advocacy program is one part of a much bigger cultural change program: becoming a social business. And, any major change program will meet resistance.
Embedding a successful advocacy program is predicated on two things: 1) identifying early adopters and 2) being able to influence the blockers.
At Tribal, we believe training – whether in person or online, self-managed or workshop-led – is the answer to improving engagement. Here’s our 10 reasons why.
1. Training is a good way to collect data on where your people are starting from. Through something simple such as our Social Media Impact Quiz, you can assess how aware people are of social media basics and the benefits and risks of using it.
2. Training will help you to mitigate common risks, such as damaging the brand’s reputation, by setting out boundaries and etiquette and ensuring people understand things like customising posts, sending the right quantity of posts based on the network being used, and understanding the right type of content for each channel.
3. Ongoing training can be used to check employee’s understanding of your Social Media policy; thus ensuring the boundaries and guidelines are always uppermost in their minds.
4. Training can help to create a level playing field. By creating a training framework that best matches the employees’ social media maturity level, you can target their needs, no matter what their level of understanding.
5. Training will increase the speed of advocacy adoption. Firstly, it allows you to select your likely social advocates, so you can on-board and demonstrate impact quickly.
Additionally, it will give everyone else some confidence which, if lacking, will be one of your main barriers to adoption.
6. Training will ensure you deliver against your objectives. Don’t forget, many of your employees will already be posting about the brand.
What you need to do is harness this enthusiasm and mould it to support your program objectives, your key messages and brand strategy.
7. Training creates consistency. Often, one of the biggest issues when it comes to engaging employees in a culture change is around manual or remote workers feeling isolated or identifying more with their local team than with the overall brand of the business.
Advocacy gives these people the opportunity to get involved but you’ll need to ensure they understand the same boundaries and key messaging. Training is the most effective way to do this.
8. Training helps remind people what advocacy is all about. It’s important for brands to recognise that employees aren’t there simply to broadcast their content. Advocacy isn’t about volume of content or interactions; it’s about quality.
It’s therefore important to make sure your employees are aware of different types of content they can post and how to engage with others online. The consumer is too savvy for any other approach and sycophantic posting and sharing of the ‘corporate line’ will soon be called out.
9. Training keeps engagement levels high. By providing continued training for employees who are ready to move to the next step of advocacy, you’ll avoid them stalling within the program.
Additionally, a little gamification around the training - using quizzes or leader boards – will help maintain engagement levels past the initial novelty factor period.
10. Finally, training allows your program to evolve over time. As advocacy becomes second nature within the organisation, pockets of best practice will become evident.
Your champions and innovators can be incentivised by being given a training role to share this expertise, thus reinvesting the outcomes of the program to raise the standard across the business.
So, there you go. Training needs to be an integral part of your advocacy program, and not just for starters. Our digital ways of working have made information and knowledge so much more accessible and there’s a real appetite out there for continual learning. By offering it to your employees in the ways outlined above, you’ll generate more goodwill and, therefore, better ambassadors for your brand.