Give Employees More Influence: Engage Them, Part 2
I was recently scrolling through LinkedIn and noticed a post from a friend in the health care industry. He wrote that his company could go the extra mile to help a patient get medication. He was obviously proud of what his company had achieved, and honestly, his post made me proud of his company as well. This is a classic example of employee advocacy where employees share about their company, their jobs and professional interest on social media. Said differently, it is about companies equipping and leveraging their employees as digital influencers.
Yesterday, Promotional Consultant Today shared specific steps that companies can take to engage employees in being better advocates, from Cameron Brain, CEO and co-founder of EveryoneSocial. Today, we share a few more tips.
Teach your workforce how to speak the language of their networks. Once the foundation of a great social profile has been created, it's time to focus on communication. No one network is the same in terms of how its members communicate. Some networks are for friends and family, others are for strangers, and still others are for business professionals.
It's best to think of each network as its own little unique society. It has its own language, social structure and rules around behavior. To be effective—to get people to pay attention to what you're saying—you need to know how to talk the talk and walk the walk.
Just like with social media profiles, a simple way to show how things are done is to compile a collection of good and bad examples of communication on each network. Teach employees what good communication looks like, encourage them to mimic it and help them develop their own voice. Establish a simple social media policy that covers the basics and provides unique examples of good social communication.
Show them how to grow their networks. Friends, followers and connections are the currency of social media. The more quality people you're connected with, the more people your communications will be exposed to, and the more likely it is that others will click and engage with them.
Growing their networks should be a daily priority for your employees. Every day, every one of your employees is interacting with people or doing things that present an opportunity to add more people to their networks. They just need to know when and how to go about doing it.
Connections are currency: each one of them has a value. Consider sharing the value your company places on a connection to drive the point home for employees. There's no greater service you can provide employees in the social realm than helping them grow their networks.
The more quality connections your employees have, the more your company will benefit when they share your content. Helping someone grow their network does not require much and the dividends to the company and them will be great.
It should always be about your employees. Once you've got them rolling, additional pieces are going to be needed to keep employees engaged on a day-to-day basis. Specifically, these can be incentives and recognition. When employees are recognized for their efforts and given a chance to get more involved with their company, the results will speak for themselves.
Of course, the goal of an employee advocacy initiative is to help drive more brand awareness, increase web traffic, improve leads, etc. But remember: without your workforce, your company has no chance to grow.
For the level of adoption to work and employees to care about being social, they need to understand the benefits to them personally and how to effectively be involved.
As with every business initiative, it's about taking the long, strategic view. Employee advocacy is about culture and enablement. Your employees can be your greatest asset but you need to get them to the starting line, build trust and provide real incentives and rewards for their involvement. If they believe there's value in it for them they'll engage and you'll end up with a top-performing program.
Source: Cameron Brain is the CEO and co-founder of EveryoneSocial, an employee advocacy and social selling platform used by leading sales and marketing professionals. Previously, Cameron held roles as head of commerce and business development for Reddit, EVP for Mission Motorcycles, and founder and CEO of Open Box Technologies.