Investing in and building a culture that engages our employees is a corporate path well trodden. However, the methods by which we can engage our people, and the ways in which we can involve them in business issues and decisions, is evolving.
Social media has helped us discover that employee engagement is a stage in a journey, the next step on which is to create employee advocates who can promote and expound the benefits of the brand.
The benefits of social media are that it’s inclusive, people already know how to use it and it’s easily available. For these reasons, it provides the corporate environment with a potentially low-investment, high-impact solution to move beyond employee engagement and towards Employee Advocacy.
In some ways, the link between the two is obvious – social media is all about engaging; with customers, employees, partner brands, supply chain. By embracing it as part of the employee engagement strategy, businesses can encourage the same level of debate and discussion within the company as happens, perfectly naturally, outside of it.
So what actions do you need to take to improve employee engagement through social media? Here’s a list of our top five:
Start with your champions.
Increase the speed of adoption within the business by identifying likely social media champions who can help you to demonstrate the impact of Employee Advocacy quickly. They can help identify and promote best practice behaviors, which can be used in your onboarding process for the remainder of the workforce.
Define your goals and your measures.
You’ll need clear, realistic goals to create an achievable program. You can’t force people to be more active on social media if they really don’t want to, so it’s worth thinking about interim goals to demonstrate continual progress. Additionally, good measureable targets for Employee Advocacy will help you to gain credibility for the program from senior stakeholders.
Identify a tool to help with content curation.
One effective way to get people posting is to use an Employee Advocacy tool, which will enable you to collate and share interesting and relevant content. Employees can then comment, discuss and share easily. This will take away the fear that some will have about having a credible opinion or enough knowledge of the business to get involved.
Launch a social advocacy program.
Your advocacy program should work alongside your Employee Advocacy tool and can explain the value it adds as well as helping employees to understand why they should get involved in Employee Advocacy. Ongoing communication, through this program, is essential to achieving a successful culture change and adoption of this new way of working. Your program could also include incentives or gamification to increase the likelihood of people signing up.
Create a company-wide social media training plan.
Once you’ve run a pilot with your champions, established your Employee Advocacy tool and launched your Employee Advocacy Program, you will have collected data to help you understand which elements are working well and which aren’t. This information is vital to ensuring your program can evolve and capture the majority of employees’ enthusiasm. Use the data to inform a bespoke social media training plan which will help you plug any gaps and share best practice using the champions who have been with you from the start.
The success of your Employee Advocacy Program, and the eventual creation of brand advocates, will depend on your ability to weave these activities into everyday responsibilities. The more people need to go through a pattern of behaviors, the quicker they will adapt to a new way of working and their social media activity will be second nature during their working day. An example of this ‘routine building’ is included at point 7 of our LinkedIn profile tips and tricks blog: or, for more detailed information and guidance, why not download our Employee Advocacy Workbook.