Ever feel frustrated you haven't fully harnessed the power of your employees?
Have you ever wondered what's been holding you back? Is it your first time putting a program together? Maybe you're not familiar with the latest technology? Or, is it as simple as not having a good plan?
Are people in your company asking the following questions?
"We have a small marketing budget... how do we find effective ways to get our message out?"
"How can we modernize our sales team by having them use social media?"
"How do we create some 'buzz' to reach new customers?"
"How can we better attract candidates?"
How can an employee advocacy program help with the above questions?
Consider the following statistics -
- Employees have 10x more 1st degree connections than a company has followers. (Source: LinkedIn data)
- B2B sellers who embrace social selling are 72% more likely to exceed quotas. (Source: Forrester 2017)
- Content shared by employees receives 2x more engagement than the same content shared by companies. (Source: LinkedIn data)
- Socially engaged companies are 58% more likely to attract top talent. (Source: LinkedIn data)
Why can building an employee advocacy program be so hard?
There are a number of reasons. First, you need to get everyone aligned. Why can this be challenging? Because everyone wants different things. Don't worry - there's a way to design a program that accomplishes multiple objectives. You don't have to force yourself to choose one.
Second, you need high quality content. You may be thinking, "we don't have great content." You'd be surprised. Our experience is that there's never a lack of content - you just need to find a way to capture it.
Governance is another reason programs can be hard. You'll want to make sure there's a clear plan for how to work with different teams. You'll also need to make sure leadership is on board. Without that, you're not going to get the traction you need. Governance can be hard to tackle, but once a solid plan is in place, it ensures smooth sailing.
Why will some employees think about resisting your program?
The main reason is because they're skeptical. That's why having a good plan is critical. You'll need to win these people over by showing them you've thought of everything. Once you've done that, they're more likely to support you.
Another reason is that advocacy programs are still relatively new. As you know, it's hard to get people to change old habits. To have success, you need to get people excited and make them understand why it's important. You also need to give them the confidence that they'll benefit from the program.
You'll also find some employees may not be tech savvy. The good news is software has advanced considerably, making it very easy for someone with basic tech skills.
There are many reasons why a playbook is the key to building and implementing an effective program.
Here are the main benefits:
1) A good plan aligns everyone - If you only needed one reason, this is it. The playbook is your best shot at getting everyone on the same page. Once this happens, everything else falls into place.
2) Having an official playbook adds credibility - Since the finished playbook is professionally designed using your brand standards, it looks official. And when something looks official, people take it more seriously.
3) It's the right balance of strategy and tactics - Some companies make the mistake of getting too philosophical. As a result, they don't really enable their employees. Having a playbook is the right mix of strategy and tactics. It starts by outlining how it benefits everyone, and then delivers the "how to" parts so employees are successful.
4) It brings order to chaos - Your employees are already using social media. A playbook provides more clarity and guidelines for them. You can stop worrying about what you can't control anymore since you've given everyone guidance on what they should be doing.
5) It will create efficiencies - Having a playbook brings clarity to who does what. You'll quickly realize many employees are doing similar tasks which can be streamlined.
6) You'll understand the impact of your program - When built the right way, employee advocacy programs use strong measurement tools. The playbook has a section on measurement to make sure you're headed in the right direction. You also be able to justify the investment you're making in the program by understanding how many leads are coming in and how much media equivalency you're generating.
Without focus from the start, you can get pulled in unproductive directions. Having a playbook will organize and align various people and teams.
If it's not easy to do, people won't do it. Make sure you're using the right technology to remove any friction in how your employees share content.
Why are you creating a program in the first place? Make sure you agree and share those metrics with the right people to justify you're investment.
Here's how we usually build our playbooks. If we need to change a section based on your specific needs, we can do that as well.
1) Why is an advocacy program important? - This grounds everyone in the fundamental benefits. This section is used to win people over who may be hesitant to participate.
2) What channels are being used? - We map out what channels make the most sense for each company. Since we're in the B2B space, LinkedIn is usually the main channel being used.
3) How do you use each channel? - We get into all the details of how each social channel works. We provide step-by-step instructions for how to properly share and track content. This removes that common objection - "I don't know how it works."
4) Customer acquisition playbook - Some employees will want to use this program to find new customers. We provide a step-by-step approach for the best way to do this. This is important because if you're too aggressive or the timing isn't right, prospects will ignore your outreach.
5) Customer retention playbook - This section helps you understand how to provide an on-going publishing schedule to stay top of mind.
6) Key messages and themes - We take your key messages and themes from your overall marketing strategy and translate them into social messages.
7) Content production approach - This outlines how you'll create content from beginning to end. Having this clarity will increase alignment between teams and allow you to move faster.
8) Creative templates - We build social media templates to make sure you stand out in the news feed. These templates use your brand standards to make sure your brand is properly represented.
9) LinkedIn Starter Kit - We'll write 25 real social media posts to get you started. Having these available when you launch builds excitement since your employees don't have to write any content.
10) Measuring success - This outlines what goals are most important to you and how you plan on measuring them. We also create a media equivalency model that quantifies the value of your program.
Q. How much does it cost?
Click here to see the pricing.
Q. How long does it take?
It usually takes 6-8 weeks to build a completed playbook. This can change based on how much time you need to socialize the content with various teams.
Q. Who will work on my building my playbook?
Steve Goldhaber, the Founder & CEO of 26 Characters personally leads everything. Steve is the former global head of digital and content marketing for two Fortune 500 companies. He has 20+ years experience in marketing which makes him the right partner. We also bring in writers and designers for different parts of the project.
Q. How will we work with each other?
At the beginning of the project, we share our approach and what it covers. We then book all our meetings. Why? This makes scheduling easy and keeps everyone on track. We give you access to our real-time project management and collaboration tool so you're plugged into what we're doing. On top of this, we have various presentations and check-ins along the way. We'll also ask for feedback along the way to see how everything is going.
Q. How soon can you start working?
We can usually start a project within 1-2 weeks after you sign our agreement.
Q. What are the deliverables I get once the project is finished?
The deliverable is a completed employee advocacy playbook delivered in a PDF format. It's usually between 40-60 pages. We also include the creative files for the social media templates.
"I have known Steve Goldhaber for years and worked with him closely when he was leading the RFP and evaluation process for employee advocacy platforms, at Aon. Steve was impressive in that role, as someone who was data driven, and switched on to marketing technologies and content marketing techniques.
Now having gone out on his own, and launched 26 Characters, I have had a chance to look at the work he has conducted for clients, particularly through this employee advocacy playbook. I can say without a doubt that Steve’s approach is thorough and current on the best ways to think about employee advocacy value, and methods to evaluate various options and offerings.
The client focused playbook is customized and chock-full of data and recommendations. I can recommend Steve and 26 Characters to anyone who is considering employee advocacy platforms and looking to take the evaluation to the next level."
Let us build your employee advocacy program for you. Here's how we help: