An 11-Step Approach to Implementing Employee Advocacy [Free Ebook & Webinar]

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An 11-Step Approach to Implementing Employee Advocacy [Free Ebook & Webinar]

Let me begin by saying, out of any other social media program that your enterprise decides to implement, an employee advocacy program is the one initiative that will touch more of your employees than any. Restating the obvious, employee advocacy thus has the potential to bring true culture change to your organization than any other initiative in the social media space. This is one of the primary reasons why, when implementing employee advocacy, it is an absolute must that you walk before you run.

There’s another important reason why you need to lay down a framework for your employee advocacy program before you begin to implement it: Your employees’ social media literacy. Very few of your employees are as well-versed in using social from a professional perspective as the managers of the program are, and after interviewing many leaders of employee advocacy programs across many enterprises in the United States, it is safe to say that one of the unexpected outcomes of an employee advocacy program has been the amount of education and training that they have needed to give their employees to help them raise their social media literacy from a professional perspective.

Hopefully we’re on the same page now when I see that there is a process that you need to undertake to prepare your enterprise for employee advocacy. What would some of those preparatory steps look like? Let me review a few of what I feel are the most important ones:

  1. Goal Setting

Anyone who has read Maximize Your Social or built a social media strategy knows that anything you do in social media – or in business for that matter – must begin with determining the objectives, or “P” in the “PDCA” Deming Circle, of your program. Employee advocacy is no different.

Here’s one way of looking at it: If you were to have all of your employees share one of your branded messages, what would it be? And why? What would an editorial calendar of employee advocacy content look like over the course of a week or a month? From this simple analysis, a trend should appear as to what you’re trying to achieve.

Now take a step back and put yourself in your employee’s shoes: Would I, as an employee, actually want to share that message with my personal network? This is something that is often missing in the planning for employee advocacy. It’s simple to think about what a brand would like employees to share, but if none of them wish to do so, it’s simply a waste of time to implement as such.

This is why, just as anything else in social business strategy, it is important to include stakeholders from around the organization in your initial planning for employee advocacy, including, obviously, Human Resources and Internal Communications.

Regardless of the objectives you might have had as you analyzed that initial content, there is a reality check with the rest of the organization where you feel you might need to alter those objectives for more widespread adoption of your program. And that is fine. After all, like I always say, social media replaces nothing but complements everything. Find areas in your social business where employee advocacy is a natural complement rather than trying to fit a square peg of what you would ideally want to achieve into the round circle of reality which are the voices of your employees.

  1. Content Strategy

Obviously, content becomes the main engine for your employee advocacy program, and I’ve already hinted about the need to think about this content from the employee’s perspective. Similar as to how your employee base might influence your objective for your employee advocacy, you now need to build content that helps serve your unique objectives. That content might be very different than what your marketing departments has served up until now. It might require you to do more work to interview employees or “insource” content directly from them.

Another way to think about the content is to segment your content strategy around the different types of employees that you have, whether it’s the departments they work in, where they live, what cultural affinities they have, etc. A one-size-fits-all content strategy simply will not be effective when considering an enterprise-wide employee advocacy program.

Regardless of your objectives for your employee advocacy program, I would expect that the content in the editorial calendar of your program will look different than what your marketing department is sharing in social.

  1. Analytics / KPIs

You’ve created your objectives for your program and now have an idea as to what content you are planning to share with your employees. How will you measure the success or failure of your program? It will obviously come down to the “C” of the Deming Circle or “Check.” But without creating KPIs to measure your program in the first place, how will you know what to check?

There are common KPIs used to measure employee advocacy programs, but using them only makes sense based on your objective. For instance, if Social Selling is the most important objective for your employee advocacy, measuring the adoption of the program throughout your employee base becomes irrelevant. In fact measuring how often your employees post becomes irrelevant as well. What impact the messages the sales team posts and how it effects the marketing funnel at each stage becomes what you end up measuring, not simple metrics like general adoption or even reach.

If you want to read about all of the 11 steps in more depth, my friends at the leading employee advocacy software company PostBeyond have written a definitive ebook that outlines in some detail what all of these steps are and what you need to do to implement a successful employee advocacy program. You can download the entire ebook for free by clicking here.

More importantly, I’ll be joined by Chad McCaffrey, VP of Growth & Customer Success at PostBeyond, for a free webinar on Wednesday, October 21 to discuss how to prepare your enterprise for employee advocacy at a deeper level, and have the authors of the ebook available for any specific questions that you might have regardless of where along the employee advocacy path your enterprise might be. This webinar will be a deeper and dynamic extension of the ebook and will include topics such as change management, empowering leaders of tomorrow, content being the catalyst of modern business communications, and the importance of the right culture for employee advocacy.

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You can also join the webinar by clicking here.

Of course, should you attend Social Tools Summit in San Francisco later this month, you will have the ability to engage with PostBeyond and many other luminaries in the world of corporate social media and social media tools, on a personal level. I hope to see you there – but if not, I look forward to “seeing” you on the webinar.

For those of you who have already implemented an employee advocacy program, what bits of wisdom do you have to share? For those who haven’t started yet, what burning questions do you have?

Maximize Social Business

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How to Generate Leads from Social Conversations [Free Ebook & Webinar]

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How to Generate Leads from Social Conversations [Free Ebook & Webinar]

I was recently invited by the leading global media intelligence company Cision to provide my input as to how listening to social conversations can lead to business. Together with some household names in social media marketing who also contributed different perspectives on the different use case scenarios for social listening, the result is a Slideshare, ebook, and webinar that I will be participating on this week. You can find out more about these in greater detail at the end of this blog post. Before that is a preview of my contribution on how to generate leads from social conversations.

While a lot of Social Selling programs rely on sales teams to share content and contribute to conversations, savvy Inside Sales teams have always been listening and looking for hints in social conversations that can potentially generate leads. If your organization hasn’t been doing so, you miss out on a lot of potential that social media can provide your business,

An easy way to think of the potential for lead generation through listening is the classic case study of how one tweet led to a $ 250,000 deal for Avaya. Not every tweet listened to will generate leads for your business, but there are a lot of people saying a lot of things out there in social media, so you would be foolish not to have a listening strategy in place to take advantage of the potential.

Social Conversations Aren’t So Random

There are many who still feel that social media is full of personal conversations that have no impact on business. In 2015, we live in a world where people of all demographics share a variety of information with their social followers, from asking questions as to what restaurant they should go to with their friends to inquiring about the benefits of one software package over another in Facebook Groups.

The truth is, while it is impossible to be able to listen to every conversation in social media, there are plenty enough available for public consumption – and they just might provide a goldmine of new leads to your company over time.

Some Social Networks are Easier to Eavesdrop on Than Others

Understanding the importance of listening for lead generation is only the beginning: You now need to understand that you cannot listen equally on all social networks because they are all built differently with varying degrees of privacy. To illustrate this point, I like to divide social networks into two different categories: Profile-Specific Networks and User-Account Networks. You’ll have to join the free webinar to hear me discuss this in greater detail, but simply put, the User Account Networks best represented by Twitter are not only more “listenable,” but they also provide companies the ability to engage as people do without the limitations that Facebook and LinkedIn have.

The Key to Establishing Relationships with Potential Customers: Sending Social Signals

You’ve listened and found potential lead-generation conversations or profiles that might lead to new business. Now what do you do?

I’ll go into Social Signals on the actual webinar, but companies have many different options in which they can engage with social media users to “cross the chasm” between listening discovery and pipeline generation.

Social Selling: New Tools, Old Rules

I began this post talking about the roll of Inside Sales teams finding these conversations, and now we are starting to use these conversations as an engagement starter through the sending of social signals. This is where companies need to be a little cautious so as not to engage the wrong way. As I like to say, social selling is about new tools, but the old rules of sales still exist and are more important than any. Regardless of where the lead was developed, at some point it must fall into the general sales pipeline and be managed like any other lead.

Conclusion: Creating a Social Selling System

In order to truly leverage the potential for listening in a wave of billions of conversations generated by hundreds of millions of social media users, some sort of a system needs to be in place. A true social selling system would also encompass the distribution of content and integration with a CRM, but from a listening perspective, your social selling system would include the essential components of People, Process, Paid Social, and Tools.

Being the co-founder of the Social Tools Summit, you can imagine why I naturally emphasize the importance of Tools in your listening strategy. You simply cannot scale to meet the needs of any listening strategy without investing in the right tools.

Listening is often confused with just being important for reputation management. Listening is equally as important for deriving intelligence from conversations that can generate leads. Listening can also help your companies in many other ways. Find out how by reading the Slideshare (shown below), downloading the ebook, featuring contributions from some of the greats in social media marketing in Jay Baer, Jeff Bullas, Mark Schaefer, and Scott Stratten, by clicking here, or better yet join all of us for a live, dynamic webinar on October 20, 2015 (yes, that’s TOMORROW!!!) that will go into further depth and allow all of you to ask all of your listening questions to any of us.

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You can also join the webinar by clicking here.

Not sure if the webinar is for you? Check out this Slideshare preview below!

Does your company implement a listening strategy for lead generation?

Maximize Social Business

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