Employee advocacy can be a cost-effective way to boost your company's marketing, sales, or recruiting efforts. The most effective advocacy is authentic and personal, a positive business outcome of a more engaged workforce. However, when trying to drive advocacy, it's very easy to fall into thinking of your employees as an extension of the marketing team that is responsible for sharing your copy and assets exactly as crafted.
Based on more than a decade of experience with employee advocacy, we know that if you focus too tightly on "power users" you will typically be engaging less than 1% of your employee base. We want to help you motivate the other 99% to be brand ambassadors too.
Additionally, the social media networks themselves are resistant to allowing cookie-cutter posts, which has resulted in some strict policies (see Facebook's policy against pre-populated messages) and minimal support of third parties passing along content. We have outlined some of the surprising things the social media networks might do with shared content in this article. In short, there can be frustrating results if your focus is on the piece of content rather than the advocate.
The good news is that our mission is to engage every worker, which in turn drives authentic advocacy. As your communications backbone, we are focused on reaching 100% of your workforce with the information they need on the digital channel of their choice. As a starting point for how to adopt general engagement to advocacy specifically, we outline some advocacy strategy ideas below. Your Engagement Manager would love to talk more about this topic!
In addition, while we can't control what the social networks do with the shared content, we can control what the user sees when they click on a link to our platform (see focus on click-through) and you can control what kind of content is passed to the network (see minimize sources of truth). Please read on for more insights.
Focus on Click-Through
When a post in the Firstup platform is shared to a social media network, the shared content will have a link back to Firstup. Exactly what clicking on that link shows the user depends on the content type.
When crafting shareable content, we recommend that you choose the Firstup content type based on your desired click-through behavior:
Article or Video - users will see the original content.
- When users click on a shared Article or Video post, it will open an external view of the post from your program on a page with your External Program Header at the top. Exception: a video post shared from the web experience to Twitter will display all of the post information in-feed.
- Users that click through the shared Article or Video post WILL see your image(s), description, and sometimes program branding.
Link - users will go directly to an external site.
- When users click on a shared Link post, they will be taken to the original source, bypassing your program.
- Users that click through the shared Link post WILL NOT see your image, description, or program branding.
Image - users will see a single image, nothing else.
- When users click on a shared Image post, they will be taken to the image asset itself.
- Users that click through the shared Image post MAY NOT see your in-program images (in the case of a multi-image post), description, or program branding.
Minimize Sources of Truth
If you are looking to minimize the variance in shared post appearance, you may want to consider the following strategies. Please keep in mind that even with these recommendations, social networks may still do surprising things with the shared content. We are not able to control exactly how the social networks process or present a piece of content, we can only control what content we pass to them.
- Do NOT use Link or Image content types.
- Target networks often try to "scrape" the original URL of a Link post - bypassing the image and text that you crafted in Studio.
- Target networks handle Image posts very differently, and can only handle a single image.
- DO use Article or Video content types.
- With article and video posts, SocialChrous is the source of truth about the post. The target network cannot bypass Firstup and scrape images or text from anywhere else.
- If you really want to do Link posts AND you have access to the source website metadata...
If your source content is on a website where you can edit the page metadata, implementing Open Graph tags in a webpage's metadata can lead to more consistent results when posting content across Firstup, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, as they all check for og: tags. Open Graph tags are an industry standard for helping platforms scrape the desired text and images, as outlined in our article about how images and text are generated from links.
Additional Advocacy Strategy Notes
Firstup can best support advocacy by getting the right information to the right audience in the right digital place to enable word of mouth and digital or social sharing. The strongest advocacy occurs when the employee decides where/how they’d like to share and does so in their own words. To promote this kind of advocacy, there are many things that you can do:
- Publish content that engages employees and helps drive their understanding of our business objectives and purpose.
- Publish shareable content every week. This can include content from feeds, external media, etc.
- Educate employees about the HOW and the WHY of advocacy.
- For example, if you have company hashtags, standard messaging, important brand details, etc., educate your employees to include these important details in shared content.
- Use data to understand when most users are in your program and use campaigns (Smart, Email, Push) to encourage advocacy.
- Encourage participation through contests.
- Recognize champions who demonstrate their interest in advocacy (e.g. Top Sharers per quarter).
- Share how the employee’s participation in advocacy efforts are supporting your program’s strategic goals.
Note, this list of strategy ideas is generic. If you are working on your advocacy strategy, remember to reach out to your Engagement Manager. They are a great resource for diving into the strategy, maximizing your platform usage, and positioning everything relative to your larger business goals.