Have you heard the news?
DSMN8 co-founder and CEO, Bradley Keenan, has written a book!
Introducing… 101 Employee Advocacy Cheat Codes 👏
It’s all about how to start an employee advocacy program, get results, and scale it throughout your organization.
Bradley provides his expert insights from years of experience, condensed into 101 bite-sized chapters, or as he calls them, ‘Cheat Codes’.
The idea behind the book is that you don’t have to read it cover-to-cover. You can flip to any page, and learn a valuable employee advocacy tip or strategy.
The best part? All of these Cheat Codes can be implemented without technology. So you don’t need to be using DSMN8 or any other employee advocacy platform to get started.
Without further ado, we’ve got something really exciting for you today: a preview of the book.
We could have released the first 25 chapters, but we wanted to give you a real idea about what’s inside. So instead, this preview includes tips from each ‘level’ of the book. Everything from getting started and onboarding advocates, to demonstrating ROI.
At the end of this preview, find out how you can get your hands on a free copy 🙌
Level 1: Ready, Set, Go!
#1: Choose the Most Motivated Person to Run Your Program
Your employee advocacy program won’t be something you’ll be able to “set and forget.” It will require constant nurturing, so choosing the right long-term leader is imperative.
They’ll certainly need to invest time upfront to launch your program, but they’ll also need to commit to refining its delivery for as long as it runs. This is why it’s so critical to appoint a leader with a vested interest in your program’s long-term success.
Many businesses choose someone quite junior to run their program. This might seem the obvious choice, but in the long run, it often turns out to be a poor one. Running a successful employee advocacy program requires authority that a new or junior employee is unlikely to have.
The role isn’t just about creating compelling social media content. Your program leader must have internal credibility, too. Advocacy from your company’s senior leadership is integral to your program’s success, so its leader must be able to regularly communicate with your C-level executives to bring them into your program.
But you shouldn’t appoint someone too senior, either. Although a senior leader would definitely have the authority to drive your program, they might not have the time. Their other day-to-day responsibilities would likely get in the way. Senior leaders tend to make great advocates and brand ambassadors, but poor advocacy program leaders.
The right person to run your program will be someone with a few years of experience, great communication skills, an understanding of your project’s goals, and the time to get the job done. Competency is key.
Over time, your employee advocacy program should come to encompass and positively impact almost every aspect of your business. You need a project leader you can trust to achieve that.
Your Program Leader MUST Have Internal Credibility, But Don’t Appoint Senior Leadership – They’re Likely To Be Too Busy.
Remember: your Social Media Policy should enable your team to use social media to your company’s benefit, not create barriers to stop them.
Use my social media policy template to get started.
#6: Create an Advocacy-Ready Social Media Policy
Your social media policy should outline the code of online conduct you expect your employees to adhere to. This includes the behavior you expect from them when sharing anything online, work-related or not.
If you’re as old as me, you’ll likely remember social media policies that read, in essence, “don’t ever share anything on social media, full stop.”
In recent years, companies have come to realize that having employees actively posting and engaging on social media is hugely advantageous. This evolution has led to policies becoming far more inclusive and encouraging.
The goal of your social media policy should be to guide and encourage employees, not police them. If yours is a big list of things not to do, it’s going to make them too scared to post anything.
Instead, align your policy with business goals. Present it as a tool to empower your employees, enabling them to use social media to help the company meet those goals.
A clear policy that states what’s completely off limits, while allowing for authentic posting, will both alleviate employee worries and help you avoid a PR nightmare.
It’s imperative to make sure employees are aware of your new social media policy. They need to know that times have changed. Give copies to new starters as soon as they join.
#12: Establish Your ‘Ideal Advocate Profiles’ Before Launching
Before launching your program, use the table to create 4-5 ‘ideal advocate profiles’. They are the people in your company that you believe employee advocacy will help the most. Not the people that can help you the most.
Creating these advocate profiles will help you to focus on the value to the person you’re selling to. If you launch your advocacy program saying, “Please, join our advocacy program because it’ll really help the company”, it would be like Apple saying, “Please, buy our new Mac because it’ll make us money”. It’s not going to work. You need to demonstrate how advocacy will alleviate their specific pain points and help them reach their objectives.
Using ideal advocate profiles in the planning stages will help you to efficiently target prospective advocates by tailoring your messaging. It will also help you decide how to approach that person or group to improve the probability that they will sign up.
When you’re considering the best way to approach potential advocates, be sure to identify the key stakeholders who might be a gateway to that group of people. They’re the ones with influence, e.g. the VP of Sales. Know how you’re going to communicate with that individual and show why advocacy should be important to them too. Get them on side and watch your program grow!
Don’t bury your employee advocacy program deep within another platform or intranet. Make it easily accessible.
#14: People Are Busy! Make Sharing Content Easy
Your employee advocacy program will need to make sharing content simple. Don’t, for example, bury all your content in some hidden SharePoint drive where your advocates can’t find it.
If content isn’t easily accessible, people won’t share it. Everyone is busy, so make it easy for advocates to find the content they want to share. Don’t make them go searching for it; it should only be a click or two away.
If you have a lot of content, you may need to create “content buckets” relating to employee roles. This prevents advocates from needing to sift through everything to find something relevant to them. Think about the content you’re going to produce. If some of it will only be relevant to certain specific business units, make it easy for those advocates to find.
Segmenting your content means the right content will be shared by the right people.
You should also provide advocates with options for their posts—different captions and images, for instance. Again, make it easy for them to select the content that best matches their own personal brand and what they are trying to achieve by sharing.
Utilize your existing technology to help advocates find content. Your internal communication tools will be great for notifying them when there’s new content available to share.
The easier your program is to use, the more likely it is that somebody’s going to participate—and not only once, but time and time again.
Level 2: Select Your Characters
#20: Encourage Participation, but Don't Force It
Don’t try to push your employees to advocate. Do enable them to make social media part of their roles.
Clearly, the more advocates your company has, the more potential ROI your program can deliver. But trying to force employees to become advocates by mandating it across your company is pointless.
First, it will turn advocacy into just another task on your employees’ ‘to-do’ lists, discouraging them from investing properly in your program. Advocacy programs—and brands—can be damaged by advocates posting carelessly.
Second, employees with valuable networks are likely to quickly understand the importance of advocacy and want to get involved. If an employee has to be pressured into becoming an advocate, it’s unlikely they’re the owner of a useful network anyway. So why bother?
If you believe your program won’t get good results without a company-wide mandate to advocate, your company is probably not ready to launch an advocacy program.
“In employee advocacy programs, encouraging participants brings more value than mandating it. Authenticity emerges from willingness, not compulsion.
Forced involvement transforms a potential opportunity into an unwanted chore which does not work well with organic growth and the personal convictions of your employees.”
JULIAN WACHOWIAK, CORPORATE CAMPAIGN MANAGER, COSMO CONSULT GROUP.
#23: No One REALLY Knows Who Their Most Powerful Advocates Will Be
Our clients tend to think they have a pretty good idea of who their most influential advocates will be before their programs have launched. Of course, client-facing employees and senior leaders are obvious nominees.
Marketing and sales team members will also see clear and immediate benefits of being active on social. However, this is not the whole picture… far from it, in fact.
In pretty much all cases, we find employees in non-client-facing roles with massive networks of relevant people.
It’s entirely possible that many of your company’s employees have worked at other companies in your industry during their career, building relationships along the way—and not just with co-workers. Their contact list might include members of the press or even the CEO of your largest client.
There is no need to be precious when considering who to invite to your advocacy program. Encourage anyone who wants to join. You may find some hidden influencers in your company’s ranks.
#27: Leave No Advocate Behind: Some Will Need More Guidance Than Others
It’s quite likely that some of your advocates will already be social media veterans with high levels of digital dexterity. Whilst your program will add fuel to their fires, they won’t really need much education or encouragement from it.
However, it’s equally likely that some of your other advocates will be very new to the idea. Employees in the early stages of their careers, who’ve only just created their business social media accounts, perhaps. Or maybe a member of your C-suite who’s not yet aware of the business benefits of social media.
Some of your company’s employees, though keen to try it, may even be ‘non-digital natives’ for whom social media may not come naturally.
But needing some time and encouragement to get to grips with using social to benefit their career doesn’t make an advocate any less valuable to your company.
Remember, an advocate’s network size isn’t necessarily the defining factor of their effectiveness. A CEO with 500 LinkedIn connections can quite often outperform an influencer with 10,000—because the relevance of posts is a more important key factor.
An advocate in the early stages of their social media journey might need not only program-user training, but also mentoring in growing their network. It could take face-to-face training to get them on track, or just the provision of resources for them to read and learn from; but whatever it takes, every one of them will be worth your investment.
“Encourage advocates to personalize their content as much as possible, by adding their own flourish to suggested content. But make sure they know that doesn’t mean they need to write the longest or most opinionated post! We’ve shared tips on our intranet to support our advocates, covering everything from using emojis to our tone-of-voice.”
SARAH RUZGAR, GLOBAL HEAD OF COMMUNICATIONS, AWIN.
Level 3: A Day In The Life
Make sure there’s a bunch of content from a variety of sources loaded in before inviting employees. Otherwise, they’ll log onto an empty page and think, “well no one cares about this”, and never use it again.
Listen to podcast episode 25 for more on advocacy community building.
#33: Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day: The Key to Community Building Is Consistency!
Think about your advocacy program as a community.
The thing about building a community is that it takes time. You can’t expect a thriving advocacy community from day 1.
Yes, there’s likely to be initial excitement and participation, but your program needs nurturing to maintain that level of interest.
There’s no use in inviting all of your current employees, and then forgetting to invite new recruits. Do this, and your program will inevitably die with staff turnover. Consistently invite existing and new employees to participate.
Hype up your advocates! Be sure to thank them and shout out their successes. Consistently engage with their content, offer support, and celebrate their wins. This is something that should be done on a regular basis, to keep them engaged and feeling appreciated.
The same goes for content! If you’re using a platform, you’ll want to make sure there’s a bunch of content from a variety of sources (e.g. your company blog, YouTube channel, third-party articles) loaded in before inviting employees. Otherwise, they’ll log onto an empty page and think, “well, no one cares about this”, and never use it again.
There’s also no use sharing an abundance of content initially, only for it to become stale in a few months. Regularly curating and maintaining content is essential.
That consistency is integral. Otherwise, employees will either forget about it, or have the impression that it isn’t important to the business, and not bother participating.
#36: Cap It: Limit your Employees’ Daily Shares
You want employees to be excited about the launch of your employee advocacy program, and of course, you want them to participate. But you do need to be wary of them being over-eager and sharing everything in sight.
New advocates may be lacking in social media experience, and if you’ve created an exciting program encouraging them to share in order to succeed, they may think that the more they share, the more successful they’ll become. So it’s always a good idea to have a content sharing limit.
If an advocate shares 10 times a day, it’s going to look bad to their audience—and that will be bad for your company and its brand. It could also negatively impact the credibility and reputation of your program, reducing the number of potential advocates.
Nobody wants to join a program that carpet-bombs social media with repetitive content.
You need advocates to be sharing quality content with their networks, in order to generate engagement. But you don’t want them sharing for the sake of sharing.
The average user of our platform shares 2.2 pieces of content a week, which is OK… but one post a day per advocate is probably the sweet spot.
Two a day is actually quite a lot, and our research shows that sharing more than three times a day actually has a negative impact on engagement.
Aim for 1 post per day.
2 is pushing it.
3 is far too much!
To find out what impact employee advocacy has on internal communications, my team analyzed over 1,000 employee social media posts. The results were fascinating.
Over 37% of interactions on social media posts containing company content came from co-workers.
Using external channels as a way to reach your workforce is an added bonus of advocacy!
#42: Internal Comms and Employee Advocacy Are Not The Same
Yes, internal communications will always be inherently linked to your employee advocacy program. They’ll both always involve employees and communication, but their objectives are very different.
Internal communication is almost the step before employee advocacy. Its purpose is to distribute company internal content to employees, in the hope they’ll digest it. This makes them aware of what’s going on inside their organizations, as well as enabling them to communicate and collaborate.
The purpose of an advocacy program is to encourage and empower employees to take content produced for external consumption, and amplify it using their own professional social media connections. The tone of external content is very different, as it’s designed to ultimately win new business, promote a brand, educate an industry, or find talent.
That means you’ll probably need to appoint someone from outside your internal comms department to run your advocacy program: someone with the skill set and knowledge required to create an excellent social media post. One of your internal communications workers may have that ability, but it will likely be by chance. This is because social media content creation is very different from the internal comms core competency of educating a workforce.
Your aim should be to build an employee advocacy program that serves both your company and your external audience – and to build it by working in partnership with your internal communications department. When you launch your program, it’s likely some people will be confused and take it to be an internal communications initiative. Be prepared to help them understand by highlighting the marketing elements that define employee advocacy.
#45: Advocacy Works in Regulated Industries. You Just Need to Adjust your Strategy
There’s no denying that regulated industries have it harder when it comes to social media. In pharmaceuticals, finance, oil and gas, and legal services there are a lot of rules and regulations you need to follow.
Add employee advocacy into the mix, and it might just seem too risky for leadership to endorse the concept.
But what if I told you it can be risk-free?
Employee advocacy works incredibly well in regulated industries, as long as you adjust the strategy to make it appropriate. Here’s what to do:
Instead of encouraging employees to create their own content, get your marketing team to create it for them. Provide pre-written captions for employees to share, ensuring legal compliance and preventing the distribution of misinformation.
You’ll see the benefits of employees being active online, without giving your board members a heart attack over rogue social posts.
Limit your advocacy program to professional social media platforms that you conduct business on, particularly LinkedIn. Onboard your C-Suite to set a positive example for the rest of your team.
“Employees can be worried that they might share the wrong thing. Though they’re free to edit them, we’ve suggested from the start that they stick with one of the pre-written captions, which alleviates any worry that they might say something they shouldn’t.”
PATRICK CANTELLOW, DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER, KNAUF.
Listen to podcast episode 28 to find out more about advocacy in regulated industries.
Level 4: Killer Content
“If people like you they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.”
ZIG ZIGLAR, AMERICAN AUTHOR, SALESPERSON, AND MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER.
#50: Keep It Real!: Don’t Write Posts Like a Company Spokesperson
Your employee advocacy program should help your advocates develop their own social media brands—not just parrot the company line and relay corporate messaging.
It would be fantastic if every advocate created all their own posts, using their own turns of phrase to add their unique and valuable insights… but that’s a little bit unlikely, so your program will need to provide them with authentic-sounding content instead.
And, in fact, if your program’s content makes them sound more like digital billboards than authentic advocates, it’s less likely they’ll want to sign up in the first place.
So make sure your advocacy content is different from what’s on your company page and website. It needs to read as if written by a creditable advocate, rather than a corporate copywriter on a rinse-and-repeat cycle. Content and captions that read with authenticity will not only win more engagement but also help your program grow.
Create content that will help your advocates connect with their audiences. It will pay dividends in the long run.
#59: Use ‘Evergreen Content'... Then Use It Again
Some of your program’s content will be time-sensitive: topical news pieces, promotions of company events, and articles about seasonal products and services. These can only be shared until a certain date.
But ‘evergreen content’ is always relevant, allowing it to be shared to good eﬀect over and over again, regardless of time.
Content costs money to create, and of course, you’ll want the best returns on your investments, so the more evergreen content you can give your advocates to draw from, the better. Based on our experience, about 60% of the content that companies create is evergreen.
Why not pre-create every new advocate’s first five posts? New advocates in your sales department, for instance, could then easily communicate your products and services to their networks in a specifically structured way.
You might need a diﬀerent set of five posts for each of your company’s departments, but they’ll only need to be written once. This content will be shared by every new advocate, regardless of when they join your program.
Creating lots of evergreen content will not only ensure your advocates always have something to share but also reduce ‘fresh content pressure’ on program leaders.
Categorize your program content by time sensitivity, and make plenty of evergreen content available to your advocates year-round.
4 Ways to Segment Your Micro-Programs:
Region (e.g. USA, Canada, Europe)
Language (e.g. English, Spanish)
Department (e.g. Sales, HR, Marketing)
Seniority (e.g. Sales Execs, C-Suite)
#65: Provide Hyper-Relevant Content For Each Employee: Set Up ‘Micro-Programs’ by Department or Geography
Divide your program into micro-programs by department or geography, and appoint a team leader in charge of content curation for each one. This will not only reduce the workload for your advocacy program leader, but it also allows you to tap into department-specific or local knowledge. This makes each team’s shared content more relevant to their audience.
As your program grows, it will naturally pull in advocates from more areas of your business—and each area will have its own agenda. Swimming with this current can make it much easier to scale your program, so consider reaching out to HR and Sales teams, and any other departments that will see value in curating their own content.
You might also consider onboarding advocates purely for their willingness to create and curate content. Passionate advocates with creative flair can be great assets to your program, whether they’re micro-program leaders or not.
Delegating at least some of your program’s content creation and curation will allow your program leaders to focus on program management and policy instead—tasks that cannot be delegated. Plus, it ensures that the content provided is relevant to each employee.
#67: “Got Any Ideas?”: Encourage Advocates to Suggest Content
Your company doesn’t need to create all of its employee advocacy content. Much of it can be sourced from industry news sites, for example.
But finding that content could be a job in its own right. Alleviate that workload by empowering your advocates to make content suggestions.
Using your advocates as content scouts may have other benefits, too. Your program leaders are more likely to have marketing, HR, or personal branding backgrounds than relevant product/service expertise.
Your advocates finding an article interesting enough to share may be a better indicator of whether it will resonate with their networks than advocacy program leaders’ opinions.
Plan a workflow to allow your advocates to suggest content for you to curate. Creating a message channel for your program will enable advocates to send in content links and give feedback.
Make sure your program leaders encourage this by crediting and congratulating advocates for their content suggestions and creativity.
Level 5: Executive Influence
#74: Empower Your Thought Leaders (the MVPs!)
Industry experts are the MVPs of any employee advocacy program. Your engineers, scientists, senior leaders – whatever your industry is, you’ll have some experts on your team.
These people have a unique view of what is going on in your industry, making them the perfect candidates for becoming thought leaders.
Whether it’s commentary on industry trends or sharing their latest research, your experts will create content that adds value to their audience. Their expertise may be niche, but niche is the way to build a focused audience.
Get your experts on board, and they’ll also be likely to suggest valuable content that other advocates can share. Empower them to share their insights, and you’ll reap the rewards.
#76: If Your CEO Isn’t Involved, Make It Happen!
Of the 200,000+ CEOs in the US, how many can you actually name? Perhaps Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Mark Cuban…? And what do those four CEOs have in common? They’re all ubiquitous on social media.
Despite ever-increasing evidence that having a social media-active CEO helps a company close deals, attract and retain talent, and improve internal communications, many CEOs remain silent. Perhaps the potential consequences of a social media mistake feel bigger than the immediate upsides of being active.
No, not every CEO needs to be a kickass content creator. But what message will it send to your company’s employees if even your CEO doesn’t bother to participate? You’ll need them to be an active part of your program, setting the tone for the rest of your organization, and giving permission for employees to advocate. After all, if the CEO isn’t sharing, why would they?
As the figurehead of your organization, your CEO should be your company’s most important advocate—its thought leader. They won’t need to post every day (although it’d be great if they did), but they will need to actively increase your company’s visibility.
“The ultimate gift, in our digital age, is a CEO who has the storytelling talent to capture the imagination of the markets while surrounding themselves with people who can show incremental progress against that vision each day.”
SCOTT GALLOWAY, THE FOUR: THE HIDDEN DNA OF AMAZON, APPLE, FACEBOOK, AND GOOGLE.
Listen to podcast episode 7 to discover how to turn your CEO into a social media superstar.
Level 6: Maintaining Momentum
“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.”
SIMON SINEK, AUTHOR AND MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER.
#78: Eyes on the Prize: Regularly Communicate the Program’s North Star
Your company’s advocates will need regular reminders of your program’s goals in order to make sure they’re all aligned and maintaining the right mindset.
They must never be allowed to forget why the program was started and why they’re participating in it. If, for example, an advocate takes annual leave, the arrival of one of those regular reminders shortly after their return will re-engage them in the best possible way.
Regular reminders will also keep the importance of the program firmly in C-suite-level executives’ minds—something that’ll be useful when it comes to asking for its budget to be maintained.
Don’t let the energy generated by the work put into your program’s launch slip away—it’ll be easier to maintain those levels of attention, enthusiasm, and focus than win them back.
#80: Gone but Not Lost: Re-Engage Dormant Advocates
Have you ever returned to work after a holiday and found that to begin with, you could barely remember your own job?
Workplace disengagement and re-engagement is usually a completely natural process, but may be more of an impactful issue for your employee advocacy program. As advocacy is likely to be a secondary activity for your employees, they may not re-engage with it quite as naturally as with their other tasks.
Your program’s leaders should aim to minimize disengagement through regular communication. They could, for example, send monthly emails to all advocates to share program results and mention top users, standout shares, and favorite pieces of content.
But even with regular communication to keep your program at the front of advocates’ minds, some may disengage and become dormant. Your program’s leaders will need to track those advocates and create processes to re-engage them.
In many cases, a gentle email reminder will be enough, but other advocates might need more training to bring them back into the fold.
3 Ways to Re-Engage Dormant Advocates
- Send an update. This could be as simple as a ‘here’s what you missed’ email, sharing some of your best recent content.
- Ask for program feedback. Find out if there’s a reason they lost interest. Is the content suitable? Do they feel confident on social media?
- Offer additional training. Help wherever possible. If they feel unsure about creating content, don’t know how to build an audience, or need some reminders, offer training!
Find out how to reboot your advocacy program in podcast episode 15.
#83: It’s a Two-Way Street: Don’t ‘Use’ Your Advocates
It’s no secret that when you launch an employee advocacy program, the reason you’re doing it is to get more content visibility, and consequently reach your business goals.
That said, it’s really important that you don’t simply use your advocates as a marketing channel. This should be considered a secondary benefit.
The primary benefit is positioning your employees as experts, through sharing content on social media.
Growing their networks and building personal brands can result in opportunities like public speaking, getting invited to events, or being interviewed on a podcast. This will get their name out there and they’ll start becoming known as a person of influence, an industry expert, and a thought leader.
Those in marketing, sales, recruitment, or HR, will see even more benefits from becoming an employee advocate. It literally helps them do their job better.
Marketers want their content to be seen.
Sales reps want to build relationships with prospects and clients.
Recruiters and HR want to showcase company culture and reach the best talent.
Growing and maintaining a social media presence is the best way to do that.
Don’t just list the benefits, provide training and resources to help them along the way. The increased marketing reach for your company will come as a result of adding huge value to your employees.
#88: Want To Generate Buzz About Your Program? Share Success Stories, Not Statistics
People remember stories. They don’t remember statistics.
The reality is that the average employee doesn’t care about CPCs, CPAs, or any other marketing metric that you may care about.
You need to listen to feedback from the frontline to discover the real impact of your advocacy program. It could be a simple story of a salesperson closing a deal, or a recruiter finding their next hire.
This feedback will not only help you improve your advocacy program by tailoring it to employees’ needs, but sharing the stories will create buzz, encouraging more people to join.
Yes, it’s great to have good statistics, but it’s the stories that will win you new advocates!
The reality is that the average employee doesn’t care about CPCs, CPAs, or any other marketing metrics that you may care about.
Level 7: The Score Card
Use my reach calculator to instantly see the impact employee advocacy could have in your organization.
#90: Blow Your Own Mind: Track Total Followers/Connections
Here’s a powerful number: the total size of your advocates’ networks. Compare this to your brand accounts followers, and the figure becomes even more powerful.
The average number of followers I see for employees on LinkedIn is around 1,180.
Multiply that by the number of advocates in your program, and your potential content reach drastically increases.
And that’s not even factoring in your top performers who are likely to have more followers, like your sales team or C-Suite executives.
Let’s say you have 500 advocates.
500 x 1,180 = 590,000.
Your content has the potential to reach 590,000 people. Use this number as a benchmark to compare with the existing size of company accounts.
That’s the power of advocacy.
This figure will help when creating future forecasts for your program. For example, if you know that your average employee has 1,180 connections, you will be able to predict the potential reach of your content once the program has scaled to 800 or 1,000 advocates.
#93: Keep a Closer Eye on the Numbers with UTM Tracking
Attribution. Attribution. Attribution.
Understanding how many people converted from employee advocacy content is essential for demonstrating ROI.
You need to understand where your website traffic is coming from, what content is performing best, and how it’s helping you reach business goals.
Advocacy tends to have a much lower bounce rate than other traffic sources, as peer-to-peer sharing is more authentic. But once they’re on your website, where are people going? Are they booking a call with your sales team? Are they opting into your email newsletter?
It’s time to get familiar with Google Analytics and UTM tracking.
A UTM code is simply a bit of code you can add to the end of a URL to track clicks. It’s an incredibly useful tool to understand exactly where your traffic is coming from, and it’ll be automatically shown within Google Analytics.
You can track 5 different parameters with UTM codes: source, medium, campaign, term, and content.
3 Ways to use UTM Tracking for Monitoring Employee Advocacy Content Performance:
- Track how your advocates’ content performs on different social channels. Find out which platforms drive the most website clicks, and then compare advocate clicks vs organic social and paid social clicks in Google Analytics.
- Monitor content performance from different teams e.g. Sales, Marketing, Recruitment. Who drives the most traffic? Go deeper by creating UTM tags to identify specific users. That way you can find your top performing advocates, and see whose share led to which sale.
- Compare clicks from different content variations on the same platform. For example, compare LinkedIn clicks by content type: short-form vs long-form video, carousel posts, or text-only posts.
Use my ROI calculator to instantly see the impact an employee advocacy program could have by generating earned media value.
#95: Love ROI? Track Earned Media Value
Every business project should create some kind of value, and it’s always important to understand what that value is. When it comes to employee advocacy programs, a great way to measure value is by calculating ‘earned media value.’
Dividing your existing online advertising costs—paid ads on LinkedIn or Facebook—by your current website visits per year will give you the current average advertising cost of each visit.
Now, the average active employee advocate shares 2.2 items of content per week, which will generate around 450-500 visits to their company’s website per year.
Let’s assume your program will have 500 advocates who keep up with that sharing average. Between them, simply by sharing content, they should generate at least 225,000 visits to your company’s website per year.
Assuming a cost of $5 per click, the generation of 225,000 website visits using LinkedIn paid advertising would cost your company $1,125,000. Do you think a 500-advocate employee advocacy program will cost your company that much?
I doubt it!
In fact, a well-executed employee advocacy program should provide at least ten times the ROI of conventional social media advertising—possibly bringing your advertising purchase price down to what it might’ve been in the late 1990s.
As your program grows and scales throughout your organization, it’ll create more and more content engagement that’ll convert into more and more website traffic. That ‘earned media value’ figure might well get pretty big indeed, creating a compelling story inside your company.
Level 8: Career Mode
#98: The Path to Promotion: Use this as a Career Launchpad
So, you’re launching an employee advocacy program. It’s likely that the concept is completely new to your company. Or perhaps advocacy was happening organically on a small scale, and you’re looking to grow this activity and turn it into an official program.
Either way, you’re the person who is taking the initiative to build this thing. The opportunity for your own career is huge. When you drive a huge spike in social media engagement, you have the potential to become internally famous at your organization.
Use the opportunity to network internally, and become known as someone who gets things done. Whether you’re looking for a promotion, or for external career opportunities, it’s a sure-fire way to increase your visibility.
If people in your company don’t know who you are, they certainly will when you deliver results.
If you’re using technology, you’ll have a wealth of data at your fingertips. These stats tell a compelling story. Use social media to tell it! Share your journey from starting to scaling your program, and inspire others to do the same.
#99: You’re Not Alone!: Network With Program Leaders From Other Companies
While advocacy used to be a fringe idea, it’s becoming more mainstream. These days, you’ll see people adding “Employee Advocacy Program Manager” to their LinkedIn bios or work experience.
Following and networking with other program leaders will further your understanding of the employee advocacy and employer branding space overall, as well as spark content and strategy ideas.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to them and have a conversation. As long as they’re not direct competitors, most employee advocacy program managers will be down to share their insights.
Take a look at the content their advocates are sharing. Knowing what other companies are doing well, and what might not be working will help you manage your own advocacy program.
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to building your strategy.
We hope you enjoyed this preview of 101 Employee Advocacy Cheat Codes by Bradley Keenan!
The book is available to purchase on Amazon, in paperback and Kindle formats.
If you prefer to listen, an audiobook version will be available on Audible and Spotify soon!
We do also have a number of free copies available for those looking to improve their employee advocacy efforts. If you want to get your hands on one, register your interest below!
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