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Director, Employee experience and communications
“… So everyone please like and share our post!” Harnessing employees to spread your company’s message is easier said than done. Successful in employee advocacy is the result of work that takes time and patience. Advocates need communication skills, enthusiasm, curiosity, ingenuity, and the ability to see things from another person’s point of view. Does everyone have these qualities? No. To get the best results, focus on inspiring and supporting a handful of motivated employee ambassadors.
Many organisations aim to increase and strengthen their external communications through so-called employee advocates. The basic idea is simple: let the employees talk about their work in their own words. A real person’s genuine excitement is often more convincing than an organisation’s communications.
However, many organisations have noticed that using the power of employee advocacy is not that simple in practice. Despite repeated requests, the company’s social media posts aren’t flooded with employees’ likes and shares. You can’t force employees to act as advocates, and bribing people to spread company messages won’t result to much, either. Instead, you’ll achieve the best outcome when you identify a few people as suitable candidates and invite and train them to do continuous and regular advocacy work as employee ambassadors.
At Miltton, we have planned and implemented dozens of different employee ambassador programmes. This blog will focus on ambassadors who communicate externally. Earlier this spring, we wrote a blog about internal ambassadors.
People who are trying to find information on social media prefer talking to real people rather than faceless company profiles. Therefore, it’s a smart move for a company to train some of its personnel to communicate as experts and the company’s representatives.
The key to successful employee ambassadorship is a low threshold. Participating should be made as easy as possible. Consequently, it’s crucial that you let the ambassador be themselves on social media. That way, doing the work is more likely to become routine and a natural part of their everyday life.
It’s also important to be realistic about what you can expect from employees. It pays to have an open and honest discussion about expectations. Besides, not everyone wants to be on social media or spend time on tasks outside the role they’ve been hired in.
The most interesting employee ambassadors talk about their work through real-life examples: how their work affects people’s lives or increases well-being, what kind of tasks they do daily, or even how the equipment they use works.
To find interesting angles to communicate, the employee themselves must find their job interesting and meaningful. Moreover, faked enthusiasm isn’t credible.
Another crucial factor is whether the person feels communicating is something they enjoy doing. This can be affected by the person’s own experiences about their communication skills. You can support them in developing their skills by offering them training on writing and photography, for example.
However, the most important thing is that the ambassador understands social media as an operating environment. An extensive knowledge of the cultures and qualities of different channels and an understanding of concepts that work in each channel will help the employee to discover their own voice and a way of expressing themselves on social media.
There are five keys to helping your employee ambassadors succeed:
We have extensive experience in planning employee ambassador programmes across industries. Every programme is individual and designed according to the client’s goals and resources. The one thing all programmes have in common is that they help the ambassadors to learn, grow, and shine.
Kira Hagström is a senior social media advisor, trainer, and a do-gooder, who has helped thousands to discover their own voice and a way of operating on social media.
This blog is the second part of a three-part series. You can find the first part discussing about internal ambassadors here.
Are you interested in discussing what kind of employee ambassador program would suit you best?