Employee advocacy programs need to grow as cultures, so embedding a sense of tribalism could really help big brands.
We often say that employee advocacy breaks down the barriers between departments and encourages a more open sharing culture that’s company wide. So, it may come across as a contradiction to suggest that going tribal can nurture your own company’s program. But you’re about to discover that, for global brands especially, it really can work wonders…
Teams will better motivate advocates by taking them closer to the ‘why’
Splitting your advocacy or social selling program into smaller teams will have a number of benefits. Sometimes, it’s hard to understand the importance of your role as a part of something when it seems so much bigger than you, or if there are many others like you involved.
We’ve all been instilled with a team mentality from our experiences growing up and certainly as part of our careers. Whatever job or role you have or had in the past, you will almost definitely have been placed into a team based on your skillset or your geographical location.
Because of this, we’re used to being team players rather than company players. We imagine our influence to be at its peak when applied to matters closest to us, gradually diminishing the further out we look. Tapping into an environment that feels most natural to everyone, will make your advocacy program all the more comfortable and engaging. This is why breaking it up into teams, with their own leaders makes such great sense.
Teams have a tradition of creating their own subcultures and mini-ecosystems that can form strong bonds not just between the people within them, but also with the way they work together. This is why a ‘one-size fits all’ philosophy could actually be holding back your advocacy program from reaching its full potential. It’s also important to embrace the differences because this is where so much learning can be done.
Addressing the more human element also takes your advocates closer to understanding why they are so valuable because it is much easier to see the positive impact that are having on their team. Also, a team huddle has a much more positive impact on engagement than an email from HR (unless of course your team is HR).
Whether you’re at the very beginning or have an already established program, embrace tribalism for the sake of your advocates own motivation and engagement.
Better engagement with more relevant content
Engagement is the lifeblood of your advocacy program so it’s important to bring it up again but this time in the context of content. It’s great when you’re producing amazing content and it’s now being shared by all of your advocates, as you’ll no doubt have noticed better click-rates, more leads and perhaps even better sales.
There’s actually even more you can do strengthen this and tribalism, as you may have guessed, plays a big part. Larger brands, especially if you’re a multi-national are made up of employees and customers from different countries with different cultures. If so, then your advocacy program needs to reflect this in order to stay relevant and tap into those markets.
Content written and produced in the US about a product that isn’t available in Japan will most likely not be shared by your Japanese advocates, because it’s in English and isn’t relevant to them. In fact, you probably won’t even want those advocates sharing it for that reason.
Organising your advocates into teams, based on parameters like this will allow you to give them much better control of what content they can share, while also preventing irrelevant content being shared by other teams. If you use an advocacy software or if you’re looking to adopt one, you should ensure that some sort of content filtering system can be applied.
It also opens up opportunities to embrace and focus on events and cultures that are unique to that locale, making your content all the more relevant and also so much more valuable to your audience. Create your tribes and let them guide your program’s content where they are most influential and you are not.
It’s an easy win but a fun way to end an article on tribalism for sure! Who doesn’t like a bit of healthy competition to spice up an advocacy program? Like I said near the beginning, tribalism is hard-wired in us and we are built to be team players. So why not harness that natural energy to get the best out of your advocates?
Like a family, your advocates will probably most competitive with those closest around them and generating that level of competition within every team will no doubt improve the engagement factor. Furthermore, nobody takes pride in their team quite like its manager, so pitting teams against each other in a league or challenge based environment will bring out the best in them too!
We always encourage our clients to promote good-natured competition for the health of their programs. Again, if you’re looking to enable specific advocacy software, there should be features and support to nurture this.
Employee advocacy is designed to break down departmental barriers and promote sharing from all of your valuable employees. But organising your program into teams will nurture our natural roles as team-players and tribe leaders!