Top-Shelf Tip No. 135:

"Your No. 1 customers are your people. Look after employees first and then customers last."

Ian Hutchinson

Give Employees More Influence: Engage Them, Part 1

The goal of any employee advocacy program is to better leverage the social networks of employees, both for the benefit of the company and for the employees themselves.

For a business, employee advocacy opens up opportunities to drive brand recognition, increase organic sharing and engagement, increase referral traffic, generate new leads and source new potential hires, all through the trusted voice of their employees.

For employees, participating in employee advocacy provides opportunities to burnish their professional profile online, grow their networks, better engage with their contacts, develop meaningful relationships and progress in their careers

Most organizations face a common challenge when rolling out an employee advocacy program— engagement. If you approach this challenge from a top-down, corporate-goals-before-all standpoint, your employees will be even less engaged and the results will suffer.

Today and tomorrow, Promotional Consultant Today shares tips for driving employee social activity in order to build your employee advocacy programs. The information comes from Cameron Brain, CEO and co-founder of EveryoneSocial, an employee advocacy and social selling platform

Put your employees at the center of your program. The success of your employee advocacy program hinges on engagement: how often and how much your employees are using the tool(s) you provide them. The more an employee engages with the tools, the more content they will share.

The catch is that it's no one's job to use an employee advocacy tool; they have to want to use it. Training, rewards and recognition are all important, however and to start, your employees need to understand why being socially active should be important to them.

Some key benefits include:

• Builds their knowledge and credibility

• Develops them as thought leaders in the eyes of their peers

• Helps establish their future career prospects and growth

• Allows them to directly contribute to the growth of their company

Fundamentally, an individual employee's success on any social network can be narrowed down to three things: their profile, communications and connections. It's in both parties' interests for the employee to improve his or her skills in each of the above areas.

Help your workforce establish professional-grade profiles. Helping your employees create professional-grade social profiles is an important first step. As the saying goes, "the medium is the message." The quality and authority of your employees' communications will be judged, in part, on the quality of their social profiles.

Provide your employees with basic resources (e.g., access to a copywriter, photographer and graphic designer) to spruce up their profiles. In total, we're talking maybe $100 in cost per employee. The result: increased authority and willingness to show it off and get involved in sharing content.

While you don't own an employee's social profiles, they represent your business and in many ways, are now an extension of your company's brand. You want your employees' profiles to look good, position your employees as trusted authority figures in your industry and help them reach success. Assist them in putting their best face forward.

For the right ways to get your employees engaged and representative of your brand online, read PCT again tomorrow.

Source: Cameron Brain is the CEO and co-founder of EveryoneSocial, an employee advocacy and social selling platform used by leading sales and marketing professionals. Previously, Cameron held roles as head of commerce and business development for Reddit, EVP for Mission Motorcycles, and founder and CEO of Open Box Technologies.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

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