Employee advocacy continues to be one of the hottest topics in social media marketing circles. And while many companies have successfully, launched, grown, and scaled their programs, there's still a lot of room for improvement. According to Prophet's research, very few industries have created highly mature advocacy programs.

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For employee advocacy programs to evolve and drive results, leaders need to need to continue to update their strategies. In our discussions with customers and thought leaders, we've identified five areas of growth. We hope that they help you!

Think beyond Promoting Marketing Content

As a marketer, you want to amplify your marketing messages. That's one of the added benefits of employee advocacy for your department. As for your advocates, your marketing content can help them, as well. It educates them on your industry, and it keeps them in the know about what's happening with your company.

However, those aren't the only reasons why your employees are using social media. For example, salespeople will want to read and share content about their industry. Engineers will want to engage with people who are experts in their field.  In fact, when we surveyed employees, we found that they want to share news about their industry. That was their number one answer:

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You can read the full survey results here.

Coordinate Efforts across Departments

Many times, marketers are the ones who initiate employee advocacy programs, but most employee advocacy and social business initiatives span across departments. Salespeople want to engage prospects, while HR professionals want to encourage employer branding. So, it's important to sit down with the key stakeholders from each department, discuss their needs, and agree on a set of priorities for the program.

Beyond agreeing upon macro-level goals across departments, it's also important to discuss operating processes, especially when it comes to rules of engagement. For example, let's say that a salesperson comes across an upset customer on Twitter. Should the sales rep engage that person? Or is that the job of the marketing department or the customer success department? By answering questions like these and creating a governance model, you'll minimize friction and set your program up for success.

Gather Insights to Optimize Your Social Tactics

Some employee advocacy programs start informally. Companies encourage their employees to use the native LinkedIn and Twitter apps. They email their employees a list of links to share. And they cross their fingers. As a result, program managers are left in the dark. They don't have the data they need to see what's working and to report on the program's success to their executive champions.

What they need is a technological backbone to support their program. An employee advocacy platform can ensure that your team has the right data at their fingertips. With the right metrics in place, program managers can see what's working and what's not working (e.g. what type of content is resonating on which social platforms). And they can adjust their approach accordingly.

Training Shouldn't Focus Solely on How to Use Social Media

We've seen many companies provide their advocates with great "how to" advice. They explain how to use hashtags, and they have lunch and learns about creating the perfect LinkedIn bio. However, sometimes, they forget about the "why." Why should your employees use social media? Why should they use hashtags on Twitter? How will that "pound sign" help your sales team find and engage in conversations with influencers and potential prospects?

Training without purpose and context will never stick.

Use Social Listening to Build Business Acumen

For a while, employee advocacy was seen primarily as a way to broadcast, but over the years, it has become so much more than that. Social media is a great way to listen and learn. Sales reps can learn about their prospects and industry. A petroleum engineer can learn from and engage with some of the greatest oil and gas technical experts. A civil engineer can listen to discussions about road safety. CEOs can read about the latest management trends and exchange ideas with other CEOs. The list goes on…

Bottom line: If your employee advocates aren't listening, they're missing out.

Need Help with Your Employee Advocacy Program?

Check out Employee Advocacy 101: The Rise of the Employee Marketer. It covers the basics of launching an advocacy program.

Posted by Mark Bajus

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