I had the opportunity to speak this week on a panel for the Technology Association of Georgia. The topic–as an overwhelming number of panel topics seem to lean–was around social media.
Panels or presentations on social media generally fall into two camps:
1) Tools, how to’s, and other things you should Google or network with practitioners to learn about vs. shelling out $$.
2) Case studies, real-world applications and results (and failures) of actual organizations just like yours.
To my delight, the team at TAG did a stellar job on crafting discussion provoking questions on camp #2. Of all the questions posed, our collective answers all seemed to point back to the same response–employee advocacy.
Tools and tactics will come and go, but your brand will be timeless (modified JLee quote).
Advocacy for any brand–including your employer brand–is a sign of trust. And trust is one tactic your competitors can’t replicate. Organizations with seemingly desirable brands (employer and consumer) understand the value of employee advocates and the impact their personal network can have on amplifying a brand message via channels like social media.
Strong employee advocacy = success in both sales and recruiting.
But advocacy is not something that happens overnight, nor is there a single silver bullet solution for organizations to convert and build brand advocates. Enter the cultural conflict spin…
Is your company’s culture in conflict with social media trends? Here’s a quick litmus test based on our discussion:
- Employees won’t become brand advocates if they don’t understand the brand. Do you have educational resources readily available that are easy for them to access?
- Employees won’t become brand advocates if the information they are communicating isn’t current. Do you have routine governance over those brand resources?
- Employees won’t become brand advocates in an environment of conflicting ideas and goals. Marketing, Corporate Communication/Public Affairs, HR and Talent Acquisition, etc. need operate in harmony with overlapping voice and shared objectives.
- Employees won’t become brand advocates without the proper tools, or knowledge of the proper tools, to communicate your brand’s value. Enlist your workforce to help advocate your brand’s message on social networks by determining the best mix of internal and external tools. Tools should:
- Aggregate your brand story and make it package ready.
- Maximize your strategy, not consume your team’s time.
- Monitor success. Employees want to feel the value of their efforts. I’m not talking about a formal rewards program, but a baseline understanding between collective brand amplification and bottom-line results.
- Employees won’t become brand advocates if they don’t feel empowered to engage in dialogue about your organization. On a scale from 1-10, how stringent are you on allowing internal employees, other than marketing employees, post content about your company via social media?
- Employees won’t become brand advocates if they feel their job security might be compromised. To what extent do you let your employees represent your company on social media? Do you react OR do you coach when a message is derailed?
- Employees won’t become brand advocates if you don’t let them. Consider revising your social media strategy to align with advocacy goals. Organizations should allow employees to share while brand stories are front of mind–and that typically happens in the 9-5 timeframe.
Your employees have the power to be your biggest asset in communicating brand stories. You just need enable them.
So tell me, is your company’s culture in conflict with current trends? Or do you have a thriving advocacy program we should know about? Let’s chat…
Holland Dombeck McCue is the former editor turned blogger here at Fistful of Talent. She plays in the employment branding and B2B marketing space and currently heads up Recruitment Marketing and Global Employment Branding for Delta Air Lines. So, it goes without saying that the opinions shared on FOT are hers and hers alone. She wishes it could go without saying, but hey, Legal runs a tight ship…