If you started looking into employee advocacy platforms, you’re likely facing the same challenge as many marketers — capturing attention in a crowded social media space.
You know that employee advocacy offers a lot of potential in amplifying your brand’s content reach and impact. For example, according to MSLGroup, brand messages generate a 561% boost when shared by employees compared to the company’s official social media channels. HubSpot found that people are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on a social media referral. Basically, a strong employee advocacy can translate into tangible ROI gains.
You may have already tried grassroots-level employee advocacy or built a pilot program (such as sending newsletters and promoting social content). However, after writing dozens of emails and sharing links on cumbersome spreadsheets, you’re seeking a more efficient way to involve your employees in sharing social media content.
Well, this is when an employee advocacy platform makes sense.
This platform provides your employees with a central resource for finding content and an easy user experience for sharing it on their social media. It also offers you visibility into the impact of your employees’ participation through analytics.
You’ll find a handful of employee advocacy platforms on the market, and each one offers distinct functionality and services. But how do you select the right employee advocacy platform?
Why Your Marketing Strategy Must Involve Employee Advocacy
Every brand needs a social media presence. However, social media platforms have evolved to favour the content of individual users, not companies.
As a marketer, simply having a great profile or page for your brand isn’t enough. To reach more people and get your audience to engage, you need human interaction to play a central role. This is where other people — i.e., your employees — are critical.
When It’s Time to Launch an Employee Advocacy Platform
How do you know if you’re ready to adopt an employee advocacy platform? If you answer YES to two or more of the scenarios below, your organization needs an employee advocacy platform:
- You’re already doing grassroots employee advocacy, such as an email newsletter.
- You’ve had requests from employees, partners or executives to have an easier way to find content to share on social networks.
- Your executive leadership team has requested assistance managing their social media channels.
- Your content lives across multiple repositories and it’s hard for your team to find it and/or interact with it. Employees are resharing content from the brand’s social channels regularly.
- Although employee advocacy programs can streamline content promotion and tracking, it also requires regular upkeep.
Before launching an employee advocacy platform, you need the following:
1. Executive leadership support
Your employee advocacy efforts won’t succeed without top-down executive support. Before you launch a platform, make sure you’ve spoken to important executive stakeholders. Show your executives the value of employee advocacy in driving business growth. Secure their buy-in so that you get the right support (e.g., promotion in other teams) from day one.
2. A dedicated program admin
To successfully run an employee advocacy platform, you need someone who will dedicate at least 3-5 hours a week to maintaining the suite.
This individual (or team) will be responsible for creating/curating content, inviting and managing users, and leading the ongoing promotion of the platform internally. Ensure you have this person (or team) on your roster and ready to manage the system before purchasing the employee advocacy platform.
3. A solid social and content strategy
Content is the foundation of employee advocacy. To build a strong social media presence, you need a robust content development strategy in place to support your share/reach goals.
Questions To Ask While Evaluating When You Need an Employee Advocacy Program
- Do I have executive support for this? Will members of the leadership team promote this program within their groups?
- Do I have at least two new pieces of content created each week to push out via employee advocacy?
- Is there an appetite for more and easily accessible content from employees? Has this been requested in the past?
- Do I have 2-3 hours to dedicate to maintaining and managing this program weekly? Or have someone who could be assigned to handle it?
Must Haves to Consider When Evaluating Employee Advocacy Platforms
The goal of an employee advocacy platform is to boost the social presence of both your brand and your employees. You’ll need to make it as seamless as possible for employees to engage, especially on a frequent or regular basis.
To do so, we recommend you look for the following in an employee advocacy platform:
Are there scheduling features that can help your employees save time and schedule multiple posts throughout the week in just a few clicks? This is vital as the more time you can save for your employees, the more likely they are to adopt the platform and see its value.
You’ll also want to consider how your busy executives will share content. They’ll need a frictionless way to maintain/grow their social presence while not adding to their workload.
2. Personalized Content Feeds
Content is the foundation of a successful employee advocacy program. You’ll want to make sure whatever solution you decide on makes it easy for you to create the content for your employees to share.
Look for features that allow you to bulk create content or pull it in from existing sources like your social channels or blog RSS feeds. This will help you save time while maintaining a solid library of content for your employees to share.
3. Internal Marketing
You want to ensure that your employee advocacy platform makes it easy for your team to access and share content easily. So an excellent employee advocacy platform will enable you to promote content with your employees via multiple channels (i.e., Slack, Microsoft Teams, email or intranet). A great platform should meet your employees where they already are, so look for software integrations with Slack or Teams and in-app newsletter options.
4. Analytics & Robust Reporting
What distinguishes an excellent employee advocacy platform from the others is its analytics.
You want to understand how your social posts are performing and attribute it back to your organization’s website and other marketing channels.
Look for a platform that offers Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics referral tracking in addition to in-depth reporting on the individual performance of each post. The ability to filter your data within the platform will help you up level your employee advocacy strategy. It’ll ensure that you’re constantly providing your employees with the content they need when they need it.
5. Customer Support
Employee advocacy requires a degree of change management. You are asking employees to integrate social media into their roles when they previously did not. This can take time and will require buy-in, promotion and ongoing reminders from the top.
To facilitate this behaviour change, it is essential to have someone who can help guide you through this. A point person from your platform vendor is ideal for driving the transition and ongoing success of your program. Ensure that you select an employee advocacy platform that also offers ongoing support from their customer relations team.
For example, PostBeyond customers can leverage a Customer Success Manager who closely collaborates with them in multiple areas (including training) to ensure their employee advocacy program catches momentum and grows.
As with any purchase decision, do your research and identify the most important requirements to you and the organization. Read G2 reviews to get a sense of the experience you and your employees can get from each employee advocacy platform option.
Finally, make sure you have all of the resources you need before you invest in an employee advocacy platform. Speak to your executives about the program, do a small survey to gauge your employees and make sure you have the time to dedicate to this program.
The better prepared you are, the more successful your program will be in the long run.