Have you heard the news?
DSMN8 co-founder and CEO, Bradley Keenan, has written a book!
Employee Advocacy: 101 Cheat Codes is all about how to start and scale your employee advocacy program.
Bradley provides his expert insights from years of experience, condensed into 101 bite-sized chapters, or as he calls them, ‘Cheat Codes’.
You don’t have to read this book cover-to-cover. You can flip to any page, and discover a valuable employee advocacy insight or strategy.
We’ve already shared a preview of 25 Employee Advocacy Cheat Codes, but this time we’re focusing on the law and legal sector.
Employee advocacy can be challenging in regulated industries, but it’s not impossible.
You just need to adjust your strategy!
To prove it, here are 10 employee advocacy cheat codes that are suitable for managing employee advocacy in law firms.
Level 1: Ready, Set, Go!
#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.
We piloted employee advocacy with our executive team, and they absolutely loved it! They were the perfect advocates for our company-wide rollout. Each leader sent a personal note to their team, sharing the benefits advocacy brings to individuals and our company. Their support really affirms the value of our program, and we saw strong adoption rates.”
LEAH PETERS, DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL MEDIA, FRONTIER.
* Frontier is a leading telecommunications provider in the USA.
#7: Send Program Invites From the Most Senior Person Possible
When you invite people to your employee advocacy program, you’ll want to have the biggest impact from the outset. Naturally, there’s a diﬀerence in how many people will sign up if a junior HR manager were to send the invites vs., say, your CEO. People rarely ignore emails from their CEO.
You may not be able to get the CEO to send the invites, but you should certainly try to find the most senior person in the organization that would back the project. That way, when people receive the invite, they don’t just ignore it. You can even start by inviting department heads and have them invite their own teams.
We see that when somebody in a C-level executive position invites people to an advocacy program, there’s around a 30% increase in the number of people who sign up. This also sets the tone for the program going forward. It shows that the employee advocacy program has C-level support as a strategically important company initiative, and that management expects staff to engage.
It also works really well if the invites coincide with an event, such as an all-hands meeting or a company update. Mention it in the meeting, then send the invites immediately after.
Level 2: Select Your Characters
#28: Record Your Training Sessions
Employee advocacy training is vital. You’ll need to ensure your employees understand not only how to advocate, but also why they should want to.
Training sessions will give your employees the chance to ask questions about the processes involved in successful advocacy, helping you to create an FAQ list and a dialed-in onboarding process.
Don’t expect to be able to reach everyone you’d like on the same training call, especially if yours is a large company. Yet running a training session for one or two employees each week isn’t a good use of time, and one session a month might result in employees losing interest after waiting too long to join.
You can alleviate some of these issues by recording your training sessions. Making edited versions of these videos available to potential advocates will save you time and give you the ability to onboard employees at a faster rate. This makes it much easier to scale your program.
What To Include in Training Sessions:
Level 3: A Day In The Life
Aim for 1 post per day.
2 is pushing it.
3 is far too much!
#36: Cap It: Limit Your Employees' Daily Shares
You want employees to be excited about the launch of your employee advocacy program, and obviously, 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.
#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 you wouldn’t share a piece of content on your Instagram account, don’t expect anyone else to share it on theirs.
#56: Focus on Professional Social Media Channels. It's More Likely To Be Accepted By Employees, AND Reach The Right Audience.
It’s a misconception that advocacy programs expect employees to use their personal social media accounts to share company content. Most employees would see this as overstepping the boundary into their personal lives and reject the idea anyway.
In reality, most employee advocacy programs focus on professional networking, via platforms like LinkedIn.
It is possible to make advocates want to utilize their personal social media accounts by using gamification—but the tone and strategies required for successful advocacy on Instagram, for example, will probably be very diﬀerent from those you’d use on LinkedIn… and if you wouldn’t share a piece of content on your Instagram account, don’t expect anyone else to share it on theirs.
Your company might love the idea of its employees advocating on their personal social media accounts. We’ve seen amazing examples of employee advocacy on TikTok and Instagram—the well-known Dunkin’ Donuts advocacy program, for example.
But don’t be fooled into thinking that advocating on personal social media accounts will work for every brand.
Yes, your advocates could share company event pictures on their Instagram profiles, but will they reach your target audience this way?
Advocacy via professional social media accounts is far more likely to be accepted by your employees, and far more likely to result in an audience that’s actually interested in your company content.
Level 5: Executive Influence
#77: Boost Senior Leadership Posts: Their Content Is Strategically Important.
It’s likely that some of your employees will want to be involved in your advocacy program, but won’t feel comfortable posting themselves. That’s OK. There will be scope for them to help your program in other ways.
For example, you could ask them to focus on engaging with the posts of your senior leadership and strategically important advocates. These are the people in your organization who have the most expertise and the most valuable audiences.
We ran a test at DSMN8 to compare employee social media posts that were boosted via co-workers with those that were not. The results were clear. Where we had at least 10 interactions from co-workers (reactions or comments), the posts achieved a 3.8X greater reach. The more people engaged, the more reach the content had.
Giving senior leadership posts early engagement momentum boosts them up the algorithm rankings and helps drive further growth.
Level 6: Maintaining Momentum
#89: Create a Support Network for Your Advocates
Now and then, your advocates might feel the need for a little guidance about what to post, best practice, or perhaps something that might seem quite trivial to those in the know.
Everyone learns at their own pace and in their own way, and sometimes the answers are only obvious when you know them.
A dedicated support network your advocates can use to ask each other (and your program leaders) questions and swap ideas will be an important part of your advocacy program. Whether it’s set up as a Slack channel or part of your internal communications program won’t matter much, but the process must be simple and frictionless so your advocates won’t hesitate to use it.
Not every advocate will be ready to fly from day one. Give the less confident a safe space to seek help. This will also allow your program’s leaders to more easily gather feedback about the program from your advocates’ points of view.
Your Advocacy Comms Channel Should:
Level 7: The Score Card
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.
#92: 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.
Level 8: Career Mode
#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.
Discover More Employee Advocacy Cheat Codes
Employee Advocacy: 101 Cheat Codes by Bradley Keenan is now available to purchase on Amazon, in paperback and Kindle formats.
If you’d prefer to listen, an audiobook version is coming soon to Audible and Spotify.
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 interest below!
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SEO and Content Specialist at DSMN8. Emily has 10 years experience blogging, and is a pro at Pinterest Marketing, reaching 1 million monthly views. She’s all about empowering employees to grow their personal brands and become influencers.