7 signs your organization is mishandling employee advocacy

Simply establishing social media accounts with staffers’ names and faces doesn’t cut it. Your people should help shape the brand’s online voice, even if they’re singing in harmony and not in unison.

Employee advocacy might be a hot topic, but many business leaders fail to ensure that it delivers real benefits in today’s workplace.

The key to its success is empowering, training and encouraging employees to collaborate, share and build communities and to help amplify the brand’s content, culture and story through social media channels.

Employee advocacy is essential for successful efforts such as social selling, marketing to key audiences and customer service. Too many leaders are just going through the motions or automating employee advocacy to the point of eliminating the human element. This takes the social aspect out of social business, and that does more harm than good.

Here are seven signs a company is handling employee advocacy poorly:

1. Leaders talk about “employee advocacy” but have no active part in it.

2. Your organization has social media accounts with employees’ names on them, but they’re managed and automated by your social media team.

3. All employee accounts share the exact same post at the exact same time.

4. Your employees’ social media accounts share only brand advertising, marketing and sales content.

5. Vanity metrics and social media measurements—such as number of posts, Klout score or number of followers—are rewarded and regarded more highly than valuable social actions such as engagement, collaboration and community involvement.

6. Employee advocacy is assigned to one department or point person, instead of its being a companywide effort that spurs innovation while redefining the company’s culture and philosophy.

7. Employee advocacy is set up solely to benefit the brand. There’s no investment in employees’ personal brands, in establishing managers as industry experts, or in training employees to contribute content, insights and suggestions about the overall social media strategy.

Employee advocacy requires fundamental change and clear communication across every department, along with a trusting, transparent, employee-focused companywide culture.

Brian Fanzo is the chief digital strategist at Broadsuite. A version of this article first appeared on Social Media Today.

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