Create an employee advocacy program on LinkedIn. It’s like increasing your marketing staff.
By Beth Granger
If you aren’t using employee advocacy on social media as a way to engage and spread the message about the work being done at your organization, you are missing a big opportunity.
Studies show that word-of-mouth is more trusted than other forms of marketing or advertising. Your physicians and staff are already on social media, including LinkedIn, so leverage their networks to amplify the content you work so hard to create.
How to develop an employee advocacy social program:
Do you have a social media and a media policy? If you don’t have these policies you will want to develop them first. These policies can protect you legally. When developing the policies, include representatives from legal, human resources, and management. Things to consider include:
Will you allow your employees to use the hospital or organization name as part of their handle or name?
Who can post for the hospital or organization?
Who can speak to the media?
Do employees need to use a disclaimer such as thoughts are my own?
It’s a good idea to start with a small group of social ambassadors before expanding. This allows you to test the concept, policies, and procedures. Plus, it builds interest throughout the organization.
Share the concept of the ambassador program and ask for volunteers or approach staff who are already vocal advocates in person and on social media. Who is already sharing your content? Who is active on LinkedIn and social media?
Start with a small group. Ten or 20 ambassadors should suffice, depending on the size of your organization.
Bring the ambassadors together to share the vision, mission, and details of the program.
Help the ambassadors finesse their LinkedIn profiles. Provide a branded background graphic they can use.
Train them how to share content, give them the tools to do it, and communicate regularly with ambassadors. Consider recognizing them publicly within the organization to inspire others to join the program.
Consider a private LinkedIn Group to allow ambassadors to interact with each other and build community.
Bonus: consider gamifying the program. List of top sharers on your Intranet site or reward them.
Use existing content and create additional social media assets to support the ambassadors.
Develop a custom profile background image for ambassadors. This can also be shared with all employees. Note: do not put anything important, such as your logo, on the bottom left or middle of the graphic. The profile photo overlaps this area on the left on desktop and in the middle on mobile.
The graphic can be a JPG, GIF or PNG file and should not be larger than 8MB. The recommended size is 1584 x 396 pixels.
Encourage ambassadors to regularly check the company LinkedIn page, and other platforms if you include them in your program. They can share the posts and add comments.
Content that is most likely to be shared includes human-interest stories, technology advances, and case studies. Content should be emotional and/or educational.
Create evergreen content and share it in a spreadsheet on your Intranet, email, or employee advocacy software. Employee advocacy software allows you to post approved content for the team to share easily and often includes gamification and analytics. Several examples include:
Bambu, by Sprout
To help measure the success of the program, ambassadors can share the statistics that LinkedIn provides for them, admittedly, that’s not easy or efficient. If ambassadors share content from the company page, you can estimate extra site visits to the program or use trackable URLs. Most software tool analytics offer built-in measurement features.
Things you can do right now for all staff
While you build the program, you can do two things right away:
Develop and share a LinkedIn profile background image, as described above.
Remind or teach staff how to link to the LinkedIn company page on their profile.
Your staff is a great resource to help amplify the content you create. By designating ambassadors, training them, and providing content, you can be sure the content is professional, approved, aligns with brand standards, and presents your organization the way you want it to be seen.
Beth Granger is a social media, social selling, and LinkedIn consultant, trainer, and speaker. Beth works with organizations and individuals who want to find prospects, book meetings, and build their professional brand using social media. She loves helping people who are not comfortable with technology to embrace its power. Connect with Beth on LinkedIn.
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