Let’s Evolve The Conversation About Employee Advocacy

Let’s Evolve The Conversation About Employee Advocacy

All of us, including me, have been saying this for years – that companies need to empower their employees to engage externally in social media for a variety of reasons. I’ll name a few:

  • They are trusted as external spokespersons
  • It increases morale when employees feel empowered, trusted
  • Using social tools can also increase productivity internally

I think it’s time to move beyond the “brands need to join the conversation” and that “they need to be transparent and open up the firewall for their employees” types of conversations.  These are things that we all know intuitively and there are hundreds if not thousands of blog posts, articles, and infographics that convince us of this fact.

Let’s talk about the “how.”

For companies that believe and trust  in their employees; how do they strategically enable them with the tools, training, content and “best practices” to engage successfully on the social web? Here are 5 thought starters to get you on the right path:

  • Start small: Don’t think you can just open the floodgates and have everyone start blogging, tweeting or participating in the community. Pick 5 or 10 employees that already have some level of social proficiency and ask them if they would like to participate.  You can’t change the organization over night.  Start small, get some wins, establish a model that works and build.
  • Training/Governance: Create social media curriculum or better yet an internal certification program. Some topics can include platform best practices (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, communities, etc.), how to be more conversational, following and engaging with influencers and brand advocates and what to do if they come across a potential crisis or customer support issue. Lastly, recurring meetings should be scheduled to share best practices, content sharing, editorial focus, etc.)
  • Implement Tools: Find a platform that can scale employee participation. I wish a tool like this existed but it’s not quite there yet. Some platforms to consider would be Sprinklr, Spredfast, Hearsay Social, Kapost and Vitrue.
  • Manage content: This is by far one of the biggest challenges that face the enterprise today. There needs to be a strong operational plan that manages the content creation, distribution and publishing process. Here are some tips that might help.
  • Make it fun: Gamification should not just be used externally to drive fan/community engagement and participation. The same methodology can be used internally as well. Rewarding employees for their participation achieves two things (1) they will create and share more externally and (2) there will certainly be an increase in morale.

Let me know if you have any questions. Oh, and I am teaching a class at UC Berkeley from 10/12 to 12/12 and this topic will be covered. You can register here. The class is located in SF on 1st and Fremont.

About Michael Brito

Michael Brito has been making things happen online since 1996 with a legit hustle. He gets mad when the 49ers lose, really mad. Feel free to follow him on Twitter.

  • Kare Anderson

    I heartily concur Michael and believe that companies and other organizations could both optimize their talent, in so doing but also tap the wisdom of their crowd for more insights into sharing with key stakeholders around the strongest sweet spots of mutual interest + also expand this advocacy/ambassador role with more mutually beneficial face to face contact: high tech (social media) + high touch (in person) relationship-building

  • http://www.facebook.com/gabrielcarrejo Gabriel Carrejo

    did I inspire you?

  • http://twitter.com/JanetAronica Janet Aronica

    Love the post – I like the idea of “start small.” This can be an overwhelming process, even for startups. Getting technical blog posts from very busy developers isn’t an easy ask, but it’s necessary when you’re looking to gain credibility with technical personas as well as potential job applicants (finding engineers is tough!) Breaking it down to just engaging a few (or 1 person) who is already interested in this kind of stuff is a lot more manageable.