Friday, July 8th, 2016 | 8 min read
You know your employees are your most valuable asset, but they might be even more valuable than you think. Not only do they work each day to bring your company’s vision to life, but they’re also perfectly positioned to be your strongest brand advocates.
According to Edelman’s 2014 Trust Barometer, 52% of consumers would trust information from a regular employee (a jump from 32% in 2009), and 67% would trust information from a technical expert within the company. The report also found that, in 4 out of 5 company-related topic categories (engagement, integrity, products & services, and operations), employees are the most-trusted influencers.
By setting up an employee advocacy program, you can ensure your employees are enabled with the training, guidelines, and messaging they need to effectively engage new and loyal consumers. As Social Media Today found, “nearly 64% of advocates in a formal program credited employee advocacy with attracting and developing new business, and nearly 45% attribute new revenue streams to employee advocacy.”
Those are some impressive numbers, but they can’t just be pulled out of thin air. If you want to understand how employee advocacy impacts your business—and demonstrates success for key stakeholders—you need to have a framework for measuring the success of your program.
Here are seven metrics you can use to do just that.
The reason for using this metric is simple: You need to understand how many employees are are effectively participating in the advocacy program. If you know how many employees are distributing content, you can better understand where your share numbers, traffic, and engagement come from. Also, if you find this number to be a low percentage, you can then optimize your program going forward to bring in better results. If it’s a high percentage, you can use this information to incentivize other employees to join the program.
Three months (or 90 days) is an appropriate trial period to see how your advocacy program is performing. If you’re just launching your program, or if you’re thinking of making some big adjustments, it’s helpful to gauge the participation and performance from the past 90 days. This way, you can arm yourself with a benchmark with which to compare future success.
For instance, by keeping track of these metrics, BMC was able to see how its own BeSocial program significantly impacted the company’s social engagement. In just three months, 850 members had participated and over 30,500 messages were shared, resulting in 12.9 million impressions and over 3,100 website clicks.
Which pieces of content do employees feel most comfortable sharing? What do they think is most appropriate for their audiences?
This metric can help you understand which content resonates most with your employees and their audiences. It can also help you understand where your consumer share rates are coming from. Perhaps this month brought in a lot of shares, but it was all from one or two pieces of content. You can use this information to either try and diversify content going forward, or to double down on what seems to be working.
Which pieces of content are consumers responding to? What information do they want to receive from employee advocates? Perhaps blog posts are being shared more than ebooks. Maybe tweets with questions are being shared more than tweets with just headlines and links.
It’s crucial to understand how content is performing in these communities because it can tell you if the content is high-value, and which content you should be creating and sharing more. It can also shine a light on the employees who have the most engaged social followings.
This metric is important for understanding how many employees have been equipped with the training they need, and how many have fully participated in the program. As with the first metric, this number can give you a better idea of where your distribution numbers are coming from.
Are they coming from employees who have gone through the necessary training? Are they coming from employees just putting content out there on their own? Comparing these numbers can help you gauge the effectiveness of your initiative. You can also use this percentage to incentivize those who haven’t already completed the program.
How effective is your advocacy program at retaining participants? Is there a natural progression between each stage? Perhaps you might need to optimize certain stages of the program. One easy way to do this is to establish check-in points where employees can provide feedback to the social team, and vice versa. The only way employees will be able to successfully complete the program is if they understand each stage and have the tools they need to advance to the next one.
This metric is important because it helps indicate the adoption rate of the program. You want this number to be as similar as possible to the number of employees who have finished the program. If there’s a big gap, that’s a sure sign that you need to optimize your program or better communicate with your employees about how they complete the initiative.
Employees have the power to influence customers for the better and humanize your brand. But the hard work doesn’t end after you set up your advocacy program. To ensure that the program is sustainable and doesn’t just get stuck in the pilot phase, you need a framework of metrics in place to help you demonstrate ROI for key stakeholders and optimize going forward. These metrics will also help employees see the impact of their work and understand how their efforts benefit the company’s bottom line.
As Chris Boudreaux, Digital Strategy Executive at EY, told Sprinklr, “Too many employee advocacy programs are launched without a plan for measuring and proving business value from the program. And it costs the p/?p=3356rogram dearly in the long run.”
One of the simplest ways to track all of these metrics, especially for large companies, is to use a technology platform that can measure the progress of each employee. With such a platform in place, you can easily monitor the performance of hundreds of employees across an organization and ensure that you’re getting the most out of your employee advocacy program.