In order for an employee advocacy campaign to succeed on social media, communications need to be authentic, and that means relinquishing control of your message.
The hardest part of being a marketer has been making sure that everything that came out of my office was “on message.” It was particularly difficult when that message would change part way through an initiative, and we’d have to revise all of the collateral quickly to get it all back on track.
But the nightmare scenario? That was always when someone from outside the marketing organization would create their own assets, frequently far off message, and start publishing them without authorization. Sometimes it required a swift reprimand, but occasionally it was a fire-able offense.
It explains why many companies are terrified of social media. There’s no quicker way to lose control of your message than to release it to the masses in a medium that allows for paraphrasing and remixing, all with instant feedback. It’s no wonder, then, why many of those companies avoid social altogether, or have implemented strict (even draconian) policies on how social media is to be used and by whom.
All of this ignores the fact that communications about a company coming from an employee are an order of magnitude more effective than when it comes from the company itself. In part, it’s because people inherently trust people they know, someone with a name and a face, and understand that they’re not just regurgitating the company line.
This is why as the push towards Employee Advocacy continues, the most successful organizations will understand that the less they try to control the message, the more effective their efforts will be. That isn’t to say that you can’t guide those employees to share with specific, suggested text … but remember that the more you push towards some kind of “approved” snippet of text, the less authentic your employees will sound. Less authenticity = less effective.
Where your employee advocacy program will shine, though, is when you empower those employees to take control of that message, tell it in their own words, and curate additional content that complements the story. Marketing can prime the pump with company materials and suggested text, but when the employees feel confident that they can tell the story their way, they’ll be eager to share that story with their networks.
The best advice I can offer is to make sure that your employees know the story you want to tell, that they believe in it. If they’re on board, you’ll have happier employees, and those are exactly the kinds of people you want sharing your story with all their friends.
Keys to Employee Advocacy Success – Letting Go of the Message
- Make sure employees know the story the company wants them to tell
- Provide guidance and suggestions, rather than demanding conformity
- Allow your employees to tell that story in their own words
- Empower them to curate additional content that speaks to that same story