This is Part I of a two-part post. The second part will run next week.

I’m asked repeatedly, “What’s the secret to driving employee engagement for employee advocacy programs?”

The reality is, there is no secret recipe. In this post I’ll share a few thoughts which I hope aide you in evaluating the design of your Employee Advocacy program and help you make the necessary adjustments to drive more employee engagement.

To be sure we’re on the same page, let’s start with what I mean by “Engagement”. My starting premise is that the employee has already agreed to:

  • Participate in the employee advocacy program
  • Has been through the pre-requisite on-boarding, training and certification steps required to be officially granted program participant status. This means, they’ve been fully trained and equipped to engage across the social web, they understand the companies guidelines, policies, governance model.
  • They know their role and how their engagement aligns to helping the company achieve specific goals.

If you need further guidance, reference the second chapter of my book: The Most Powerful Brand on Earth, which explains how to establish a program framework which provides the foundation for your people to create and nurture relationships that drive engagement and create business value. Specifically, you’ll better understand how to plan the roles and skills needed, then attract, onboard, support, and measure the people whom you empower in social media.

Program engagement doesn’t imply program success.

Employee engagement in the program is a means to an end. Constant, high engagement is a condition for a successful Employee Advocacy program, but it’s not enough.

Unfortunately, program engagement rates are sometimes considered as the most important key performance indicators (KPIs) for the program’s success. As a result, program managers are tempted to adopt tactics that will artificially boost engagement in the program.

Stop right there! Increasing the amount of activity will not impact achievement of program’s goals such as driving an increase in lead generation or increased prominence and ability to influence to drive consideration, preference and choice of your brand’s offering.

To address this, make sure that you are clear on how your program defines program “success” standards:

  • Align the Employee Advocacy program’s goals with business objectives
  • Define the Employee Advocacy program’s success in terms of business impact (sales, conversion rates, cost savings)
  • Establish meaningful business KPIs for program’s success, which aretrackable and quantifiable
  • Link performance assessment of Employee Advocacy program managers to achievement of program’s goals (aligned with business objectives), not to program engagement KPIs

The basis of the word “engagement” means commitment.  Approach engagement and adoption from the value to the employee in service of customers and your business will benefit.

About Susan Emerick

Susan Emerick is recognized by industry leaders as the foremost authority on building, implementing, and measuring successful advocacy programs for leading brands.

Susan is the co-author of The Most Powerful Brand on Earth: How to Transform Teams, Empower Employees, Integrate Partners and Mobilize Customers to Beat the Competition in Digital and Social Media – A must read for anyone striving to build brand advocacy.

Prior Susan led global enterprise social business and digital marketing programs for IBM where she led the technology giant’s social media strategy including social media listening and planning, brand engagement guidelines, social media governance, policy and measurement standards.

She serves on the advisory board of Social Media Today and is an active member of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association where she serves on the Research and Measurement Council, and in 2013 she co-authored the WOMMA Influencer Guidebook. In 2011, Susan was named to the elite iMedia Top 25 Internet Marketing Leaders and Innovators.

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