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The power of your employees’ authentic voice

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Is there something missing in your advocacy program? Learn how to put the special sauce—authenticity—into your workforce sharing and boost your results.
authentic voices

By now, you know the untapped potential of your employees as your advocates. You know that people (not brands) are the most trusted source on social media, with Nielsen finding that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from acquaintances more than any other form of advertising. And you probably even know that employee advocacy drives higher returns through earned media value, with employee social media posts generating 8 times more engagement than posts from the employer, and increasing brand awareness by 14 times.

Based on this knowledge, maybe you’ve even launched a structured, formal employee advocacy program. You’ve made it easy for your workforce to find, select and share approved, curated content, position themselves as thought leaders, expand their presence in their social networks, and support your own social media objectives.

But does it feel like something is missing? Like your team of ambassadors is simply taking the content you’re providing and pushing it out without adding their own, special twist? If so, you’re missing out on more than just the opportunity to help your employees do better—you’re missing out on significantly improved engagement and additional reach.

Authenticity: The secret sauce

As part of the services provided by the Expert Services team at Firstup, we’re constantly monitoring program performance to identify opportunities for improvement. A recent analysis of a customer’s platform revealed some fascinating results. To provide variety and options, the communications team offered three suggested share text choices for each post—one written in a formal, traditionally corporate style, one in a more informal tone, and one that was purely conversational. Initial analysis was completed to determine if any of the three approaches performed better based on external engagement.

The baseline findings revealed that the majority of members chose to use the traditional tone, indicating a greater comfort level among employees with the “safe” option. Performance, based on average clicks, average click-through rates, and average total reactions, was largely similar across the categories, with the greatest distinction in reactions to “traditional” share text.

The results got really interesting, though, when we dug deeper and reviewed engagement when share text was customized.

While fewer employees took the opportunity to customize, even mildly altered share text far out-performed other options, generating 4.5 times average clicks, 3.5 times average CTR and 1. 5 times average total reactions.

Authentic Voices

What does this mean for you and your advocates?

Invest time in training, empowering and encouraging the customization of share text in your employee advocacy program. Consider providing rewards and recognition for ambassadors who go above and beyond in creating compelling share text. Highlight and showcase posts where employees have done an excellent job to inspire others.

7 easy ways to make it happen

  1. Pull a quote, and build from it: Not sure where to start? Find something from the original content that stands out to you and build off of that.
    • Original: Watch yesterday’s webinar on Predictions for Employee Experience in 2022 On Demand—available now!
    • Customized: Great quote from yesterday’s session, “Having employees work from home did not break trust any further than when they were working in the office or working face-to-face. If trust was broken, it was likely happening inside the office already and became more apparent once working from home.” Watch Predictions for Employee Experience in 2022 On Demand—available now!
  2. Make it personal: Pull something from your own experience or background that ties in with the topic, and add that to the pre-written share text. Your friends and followers want to know why you’re sharing what you’re sharing—don’t be afraid to add that level of detail.
    • Original: Working mothers are paying a career penalty during the COVID-19 crisis, and it’s expected to get worse. Our study shows the impact. Click through to learn more.
    • Customized: Shout out to my spouse for not making this the reality in our household. True definition of the word partner. I know this is true for so many, though, and think it’s important to recognize the trend that working mothers are paying a career penalty during the COVID-19 crisis, and it’s expected to get worse. Our study shows the impact. Click through to learn more.
  3. Be authentic: Remember the reason you’re sharing this specific piece of content is because it matters to you. Tell people why it matters, and why you think it’s important they know about it as well.
    • Original: Women are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Here’s how to help—read more in the Five Fifty report.
    • Customized: Women are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Everyone is struggling right now, but the burden is even more to bear for some. Lend support where you can and ask for support if you need it. Here’s how to help—read more in the Five Fifty report.
  4. Add relevant hashtags: Your followers (or potential followers) might be interested in broader subjects related to the post. Add hashtags that support the content for additional reach.
    • Original: COVID-19 pushed companies over the technology tipping point and transformed business forever. Read more in the latest report. #technology #empowering
    • Customized: Amazing to think prior to the pandemic, respondents to this survey thought it would take more than a year to implement the level of remote working accomplished in an average of 11 days! COVID-19 pushed companies over the technology tipping point and transformed business forever. Read more in the latest report. #technology #empowering #remoteworking #digitaltransformation
  5. Pose a question: Adding a question to pre-scripted share text can help drive engagement and create conversations. What are you hoping people get out of your share? Ask if they did!
    • Original: Innovation starts with you—boost your Digital IQ knowledge and skills with our new Digital Fitness app. Download in the App Store or on Google Play.
    • Customized: FREE ASSESSMENT! I got an 8 of 10—what’s your digital fitness score? Innovation starts with you—boost your Digital IQ knowledge and skills with our new Digital Fitness app. Download in the App Store or on Google Play.
  6. Don’t be afraid to be funny (when appropriate)—but keep the brand in mind: Humor works! But remember when you’re sharing on behalf of the company to always keep the brand and the tone of your organization in mind.
    • Original: To successfully counter employee fatigue, leadership must partner with HR and #InternalComms teams to create a plan that arms them with the right knowledge and keeps them fully engaged. Check out these 6 ways to begin strategizing.
    • Customized: What, no coffee IVs? 😀 Seriously, though, great suggestions for leaders here: To successfully counter employee fatigue, leadership must partner with HR and #InternalComms teams to create a plan that arms them with the right knowledge and keeps them fully engaged. Check out these 6 ways to begin strategizing.
  7. Read twice/post once: Before you hit share, re-read your post and make sure the info you’ve added complies with the social media policies and guidelines.

The bottom line

Consider the thought, time and effort you’ve taken to build your employee advocacy program. Now, imagine empowering your team of ambassadors to take that same ownership with the share text they’re using to promote your carefully curated content.

It won’t be immediate—you’ll need to create space for people to learn and feel comfortable sharing in this new way.

And don’t be discouraged by potentially fewer shares with customized share text. In the research above, you can see the percentage of individuals who customized text was lower, but the impact was exponentially higher. And this impact can lead to enhanced interaction, stronger social relationships and greater followings—the next level of employee advocacy.

Want to learn more? Download our new guide, Employees are your best ambassadors in an era of declining trust now!

Related resources

Margaret Trietsch

Margaret Trietsch

Expert communications strategist specializing in creative solutions, employee engagement, and collaboration.

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