I have a lot in common with my colleagues. We don't just share an employer, we share a particular mindset: that every person around the world deserves access to the best health care possible. Each of us remains passionate about this cause - and it's the very reason I refer to them as our "advocates".
Many organizations don't utilize their biggest advocacy asset: their employees. With our lives being so intertwined with digital media, it's imperative to see employees as people who can help maintain and nurture our advocacy campaigns. The key, though, is guidance. In fact, a Weber Shandwick study found that 50% of U.S. employees (about 60 million) are blogging, posting, tweeting, and commenting about their employers - let's have it be on message and brand!
Wondering how you can get started at your own organization? Follow the steps below:
- Be in it for the long-haul. Unfortunately, employee advocacy isn't just a one-time event that highlights a particular Hill Day or campaign push. A successful program is just that - a program. You need to play the long-term game here. Employee advocacy is rooted in authenticity and trust. These take time to develop.
- Make a positive culture your priority. For employees to become brand ambassadors, they need to love their jobs more than their paychecks. Connect employees from different departments through social events or a company social network, since we're dealing with digital advocacy!
- Draft a plan. While it may seem like this new program can run smoothly on its own, employee advocacy is like any other initiative - it needs a plan, a budget and a team.
- Create some guidelines. Before you encourage employees to post on social media, be confident that your message will be communicated properly. More importantly, make sure to provide employees with resources to properly respond to any questions or comments that arise about the organization online.
- Educate and train. In addition to a company-wide social media policy, your employee advocacy program will benefit from social media training. Encourage participation in your new initiative by sharing best practices across all departments. Remember: it's not about directing - it's about encouraging. Support your employees as they embrace their new role!
- Monitor and optimize. Make sure your advocacy message never gets lost. Employees can be your best ambassadors! Highlight their work as an example to follow. See what works for your group, listen to feedback, and adjust as needed in the future.
With the right team, training and policies in place, your organization will have a new group of advocates to activate! For more tips like these, visit the Digital Advocacy Institute.