If you invested in an employee advocacy tool and either you aren’t yet seeing the traction you envisaged or you’re further on in your journey and it’s tailing off, don’t panic. It’s quite common after the initial interest. The ‘secrets to success’ are all there in the data you’ve been accumulating - you just need to dig a bit deeper into that tool.
When optimising an employee advocacy program, it’s always worth bearing in mind the classic 80/20 rule: 80% of your results will come from around 20% of your people (this will apply to your other key focus areas of topics, content and curators too). You just need to delve a little further past the the top-level summary reports and you’ll be able to determine where to laser-focus your resources to improve your results.
Who Are The Star Users Of Your Employee Advocacy?
Employee advocacy tools generally provide monthly or quarterly updates of top line metrics such as how many users have adopted the tool. Yet they’re generally limited to who has registered and is ‘active’ ; the definition of which can vary.
Which means you should explore further :
- If employees are registered, are they active? If so, are they frequently active, erratic or last seen months ago?
- How many registered but never used the tool - do you just remove them or find out what’s the issue; often it’s a lack of knowledge and sufficient training.
- How do users compare against industry benchmarks?
- Are some employees over-sharing - spamming their network with endless articles?
- Are some employees simply re-sharing but failing to add their own comments?
We see adoption rates spread from 10 to 40% on average and that’s okay as just 3% of employees sharing can deliver 30% engagement. What it does mean though is that you can consider cutting licences back at renewal and focus on providing more quality content and training to those who have the best potential to be brand advocates.
There can be a tendency to create too many topics within the employee advocacy tool, particularly in enterprise-level and global companies who have a vast number of employees, departments and divisions. Teams may well insist on their own “niche” topic only to find that it makes it harder to find the content they want to share. Meanwhile, your curator team are spread too thin.
We’ve seen some companies close to 100 topics, 20% of which had never actually had any activity or a minimal amount of employees subscribed. Remember that 80/20 rule.
If you want to improve your topic engagement, have a look at the following metrics to establish which focus your efforts on (and which ones to cull):
- Firstly, identify those just not adding value as mentioned above
- Are there enough subscribers?
You need volume to see engagement snowball.
- Which topics see greater activity than others?
You need to be looking at what goes into the topic (from your curators and employees) as well as what goes out - do they generally match as you may see a lot of content going in, but not being shared or vice versa ; either tell you action needs to be taken
- Is there duplication?
Sometimes we see very similar topics set up that would make sense to merge.
- Shares v Engagement
It’s likely you’ll see quite different behaviour from what your employees like v. what your customers will engage with and you need to serve both. Employees naturally like to see company successes , personal stories, all of which help employee engagement whilst customers will engage with appropriate content for their own business needs.
- Level of external engagement per topic (clicks, likes and shares)
Continually analyse what topics work for your customers , review and refine as an ongoing activity
We can’t stress enough that without the right quantity, and importantly quality, content going into your tool, your program is not going to work. At the very least, your key topics should have regular fresh content ; this could be daily or weekly depending on your number of employees.
Another reason for culling your topics is that we’ve seen content shared across multiple topics; either through curator duplication or with an intention of reaching different subscribers. In itself, that can make sense but then it can be difficult to spot your best performing content if the metrics are reported at superficial level. My key message here is make sure you know what content is going in and how you can merge the data.
- What’s your 80/20 for content ?
Can you reduce the amount of content going in to make it easier for employees to find and share?
What is it about your top 20% that made them successful - can you pick up any trends to replicate?
- What content do customers engage with most (likes, shares and comments)?
You should weight the content in favour of that which drives the most engagement with customers.
- Do you have evergreen content ?
Repurposing successful evergreen content is common practice and can work well for the program. Ensure you have a plan of what can be reused and how frequently.
- What content drives the most website traffic?
Your employee advocacy tool is only as good as the content that is put in it, so reviewing what your curators/admins are up to can make a big difference to the success of your program.
- Who are your top curators?
Just like employees, review their performance; how many are putting in content that has good shares/engagement and are there are any that may need further training and support.
- What do they do differently?
We often see key individuals making a huge impact on the program, both at curator and employee level so dig into what is their best practice you can share with others such as @mentions, hashtag use, etc.
- What sources do they use to curate content?
In smaller teams, this isn’t an issue but across a larger organisation, make sure everyone is clear what content sources to use and what freedom they have to select what they put in (not just content they create but signing off submissions from employees).
Digging into data is what we do at Tribal (along with many other things of course!) but what I really want to say is that this data is in your hands .. it’s there in your tool. If you really want to improve the performance of your program, don’t just rely on the top level reports ; download the data and get ready to do some number crunching… it’s fun!