Make no mistakes about it, an employee advocacy program is a boon to any company’s social media and content marketing strategies. Through an employee advocacy program, your business can empower your employees with the tools they need to successfully (and easily) share your branded content to their personal channels. However, to reap the full benefits of an employee advocacy program, you first need to ensure your employees JOIN your program.
We’ve analyzed our own client data and experiences and have uncovered four of the top reasons that keep employees from joining and participating in an employee advocacy program.
In honor of 2021, we’ve updated this blog post to include 5 all new reasons that your employees may not be joining your employee advocacy program. New updates are in bold below.
Benefits Of An Employee Advocacy Program
Sure, increasing the visibility of your branded content is the main benefit of an employee advocacy program, but a recent study found that an employee advocacy program provides more than just a lift in content engagement. Here are some of the benefits companies attribute to their employee advocacy program.
In addition, nearly 64% of businesses with formal employee advocacy program also report a lift in revenue attributed to employee advocacy efforts and social selling.
So how do you maximize the number of employees in your employee advocacy program? Start by taking a look at what roadblocks may be keeping your employees from joining en masse.
Why Aren’t My Employees Joining My Advocacy Program?
1) They Don’t Know About the Program
It might seem obvious, but for your employees to join your program, they first need to be aware that it exists.
Many businesses assume that announcing a new employee advocacy program one time in a newsletter or company-wide email is enough to ensure that everyone in the company will join the program. This simply isn’t the case.
As with most internal business initiatives, it can sometimes take several communications before a program becomes common knowledge throughout the organization. Even if a team member is aware of your advocacy program, they may not have enough information about it to join. Be sure to include detailed instructions that explain what your employee advocacy program is, how an employee can participate in it and how they can sign up. Direct your employees to these instructions every time you announce the program.
2) They Don’t Know How To Participate In The Program
Let’s do some quick Psych 101. The less confident an individual is in performing a task, the greater the likelihood that the task doesn’t get completed. The same goes for participating in your employee advocacy program. If your employees aren’t 100% confident and comfortable with how to use your chosen platform and how they will engage with your content, you can’t expect them to be a regular participant in your program.
A recent survey found that nearly 75% of respondents said that they hadn’t received any training on how to engage professionally on social networks. Take the time to ensure your employees have the training they need to succeed in being a part of your employee advocacy program.
3) They Don’t Like The Content Being Shared
If you’re confident that your employees know all there is to know about the program, the lack of adoption might simply be due to the fact that they don’t like the content that’s being shared. Remember, you’re asking your employees to share content to their personal social media feeds. If the content you’re asking them to share doesn’t jive with what the type of content they choose to publish to their feed, they’re going to be less likely to share that piece of branded content.
The solution to this quandary is simple: ask your employees what content they want to see being shared through your employee advocacy program. Do they want more thought-leadership pieces? Video? Social-selling posts? Figure out what’s stopping them from engaging with your brand’s content and update your content strategy to reflect those changes.
Pro Tip: When choosing the platform you’ll use to manage your advocacy marketing campaign, opt for an advocacy marketing platform that includes built-in survey functionality. SocialToaster makes it easy for brands to understand their employee advocates by including survey and quiz building tools as part of our standard platform.
4) They Aren’t Properly Incentivized
After 2020, we all got a chance to review and reset what is and isn’t important in our lives. Your employees (including you) are probably a little low on motivation when it comes to being involved at work. And honestly, rightfully so. We all made it through the other side of a pandemic together, and now it’s time to pick up the pieces.
Motivating your employees to join and participate in your employee advocacy program is key to not only getting them to join but keeping them in the program as well. This brings us to our next point…
5) They Aren’t Being Properly Incentivized
Even the most gung-ho employee advocate can stray from your employee advocacy program over the long haul. Keep your employees engaged over the life of your program by offering regular incentives that your employees will find valuable.
Even something as small as a $10 gift card to a local coffee shop can keep an employee sharing months (or even years) after an employee advocacy program has launched. As a best practice, be sure to regularly mix up the type of incentives you offer to keep your employees engaged and invigorated.
Some of our favorite employee advocacy program incentives include:
- Branded Swag
- Gift Cards
- Company Perks (i.e. extra PTO, long lunches, premium parking, etc.)
- Unique Experiences
6) You’re Not Measuring Results
Or sharing it with your employees. In a perfect world, employees would intrinsically want to support and help their employer. But, let’s get real, this isn’t a perfect world. Many employees are often in an employee advocacy program strictly for the prizes and incentives.
Measuring and sharing the results of your employees efforts to maintain your advocacy program can help keep perspective for everyone involved. Measuring results helps you and your employees better understand what content is working and what content isn’t. When you share this data with your staff, you can open up the floor for your team to share their thoughts, ideas, and personal experiences with the program.
7) Not Trusting Your Employees Creativity
Curating the content for your employees can make participation in the program easy, the reality is that you have a team filled with highly creative individuals. When you cue up content and keep it locked, you’re essentially telling your staff that you don’t trust them to add their unique spin.
The purpose of an employee advocacy program is to empower your employees to share important company and brand information with their followers and audiences. Not giving your employees a little creative control defeats the purpose of an employee advocacy program.
Continuing that thought…
8) Ignoring Your Employees Personal Brand
Some people are foodies online, others are pet parents, and some are aspiring professional coaches and leadership developers. The point is, your employees are more than just “your employees,” they’re multi-faceted and unique individuals with their own thoughts, opinions, likes, and dislikes.
One of the best ways to ensure participation and excitement around your program is to support your employees’ personal brand. Curating content that highlights success stories, speaking engagements, and other positive news, as well as professional development content, shows that your program is more than just about using your employees as marketing cogs to turn a profit.
9) Your C-Suite Team Isn’t Leading by Example
Even if it doesn’t seem like it, your employees are watching your C-Suite execs. We know they’re super busy running the company and managing dozens of teams near and far, so being active on social media is often an afterthought. However, if it’s an afterthought to them, why would it be a first thought to the rest of your employees? Your C-Suite execs are budding with wisdom, knowledge, and insight based on personal and professional experience. Getting your C-Suite exec team involved can inspire and challenge your other staff to follow by example. With your C-Suite team more involved on social you may notice improved employee and staff morale and improved relationships across all staff levels.
Your employee advocacy program’s reach is determined by the number of employees that join your program. The more employees in your advocacy program, the greater the audience you can reach with your branded content. It’s simple math; maximize employee adoption by identifying and addressing any excuse your employees have for not joining the program.
Ready to launch an employee advocacy program? Let our team of experts work with you to design and build a program that best serves your unique needs. Send us an email, request a free demo, or give us a call at 855.62.TOAST today to get started!