And how to overcome them.
We’ve worked with some fairly large enterprise companies and helped them build their employee brand ambassador programs from the ground up. As you can imagine, we’ve heard our fair share of objections and faced quite a unique set of challenges. So much so that we’ve reached a point where we’ve heard them all.
While the overall concept of an employee advocacy program may seem like a hard nut to crack – getting hundreds and thousands of employees to work towards the common good of the company’s social media presence – it actually boils down to just three roadblocks that can potentially break the program altogether.
Employee advocacy, at its core, is about people. And it is these people – the executives (the employees who are part of the program), the internal administrators (those within the company who are responsible for the brand’s social media content), and most importantly the SaaS providers (the company that provides the licences for the tool in use, like SocioAdvocacy) – who can either make it fly or crash.
Here are three of the most frequently experienced roadblocks that an employee brand ambassador program will face:
- Participating employees don’t believe in the value the program can bring (and hence won’t support it)
- Internal administrators will do a shoddy job (and think that it’s all up to the employees)
- The SaaS provider won’t provide sufficient support
Participating employees are hard to convince
A stellar employee advocacy program banks on the participation of the employees. They need to believe in the power of social media. More importantly, you need to have a leadership team that believes in it. When in doubt, junior level employees are always going to look at their leaders for support. If top management and executives do not support the program, very little can be expected from those who are in the core team.
Internal administrators don’t give it their all
Let’s take for granted that you’ve managed to get your c-level executives and all your participating employees on board with the new program, the next roadblock you’re going to have to cross is that of your internal administrators. Internal administrators are the ones who manage the program and act as a middleman between the participants and the vendor. They’ll mostly be responsible for tasks like curating content for social media, running contests for engagement, and basically managing the day-to-day internal marketing of the brand ambassador program.
This task would mostly be left to the social media team or marketing team in most organizations and is almost never the sole responsibility of the person. Because it’s an ‘internal’ program, most people are okay with being a little lax about it. This is where the second hurdle comes into the picture.
To save yourself the trouble choose an administrator who is passionate about social media and sees the worth of the program.
Although a brand ambassador program is not a cakewalk, having a good administrator takes the edge off and can be the decider in whether or not your program is a success.
Service providers provide limited support.
Last but definitely not the least of your troubles is the vendor you choose. The role of the vendor is pretty basic. They need to:
- Provide the best in class software that is easy to use while still incorporating required elements like real-time reporting.
- They need to provide support to the administrators and participants in the form of training and sustenance options.
As for the first point, it’s almost never a job requirement to participate in an employee advocacy program. So the platform that you choose needs to be able to make your employees want to log on and share content every day. There’s a reason why people prefer Instagram over Snapchat. The ease of use, the aggregation of everything you want to look at – pictures, stories, and long videos too. So regardless of the size of your company and the number of employees in the program, you need to first and foremost think of ways to keep your employees engaged on the platform.
Ask any of our clients here at SocioAdvocacy and they’ll tell you the reason they keep coming back to us, is because their employees keep coming back to the platform.
Coming to the second part of most vendor troubles. Most SaaS companies will simply provide the licenses and think their job is done. From our long history in the field we can attest to the fact that it almost never is. From providing the right training to providing insights into what keeps the employees engaged, the support from a vendor is invaluable to an employee advocacy program.