2020 Predictions for employee advocacy

Moving towards the end of year with lots of new experiences, impressions and work with dedicated customers and partners from the year that passed, I have tried to boil it all down to 10 key predictions for employee advocacy in 2020. 

#1 It’s – really – getting strategic

It is impossible to browse through your feeds on social media without noticing that business is actually taking place amongst users. 

We have all seen, and participated in content/feeds/groups where someone in our network asks out for candidate referrals, possible partners, suppliers or knowledge and references on vendors or products. 

This is where social business is conducted today: Peer-to-peer and not at our company presences. 

To have employees take part in these business opportunities, strategic employee advocacy is essential for your company and your brand. So, 2020, will call for a strategic approach to employee advocacy where we need to involve, engage and equip all our employees to take part.

#2 Will your brand be “the Flying Dutchman” on social media?

This well known legend is actually already adhering to many company presences on social media. They are ghost ships, unable to ‘seek port’ thus relentlessly trying, by only using the corporate social media channels and paid, only to see engagement from customers, leads and talent in a free fall

If you don’t want to join the fleet of ‘Flying Dutchmen’ with your corporate presences, you need to reboot your strategy and start involving your ship mates.

Think of EA as your “pulse” on social media, where your content lives in not only your corporate channels, but in 100`s, 1000´s of employee feeds.

#3 Gamify – and die!

If you’ve based your employee advocacy on gamification, or if you are thinking about… Don’t.  

Firstly, gamification belong in games – not as a mean to get employees to involve themselves in your brand, and receive a virtual trophy for simply hitting the share button more times than their colleagues. Unless you only want to cater the 1% weekend CS warriors amongst them.

#4 You can’t do an Employer Value Proposition and Employer Branding without Employee Advocacy

A bold statement, I know. But I have seen so many EVP’s and Employer Branding campaigns having little or no effect by only using corporate channels and paid to execute them. 

It’s really an oxymoron to include and involve employees in framing the EVP and Employer Branding efforts, and then leave them hanging when it comes to executing it. 

So, for 2020 there is an additional mandatory ‘E’:

The 3Es

EVP 

Employer Branding

Employee Advocacy

#5 Measure the business outcome of EA

Many have, and are still, measuring the outcome of EA based on vanity metrics such as reach, likes, views, impressions, emojis.

This won’t cut it in 2020.

To sustain a strategic employee advocacy program, it needs to be tied in with overall strategic goals and realistic business outcomes.

If you are hunting talent, measure the effects of employee candidate referrals.

If you want a strong social selling position, track inbound leads from the program.

Is influencing agendas vital to your business, set up KPI’s to prove the effort.

To sum it up; Count the impressed – not the impressions!

#6 The EA organisation and stakeholders

Many EA admins are experiencing the bottleneck effect of not having the organisation and stakeholders behind the efforts in place. 

In 2020, all business units need to get on-boarded as stakeholders: HR, Comm’s, Marketing, SoMe, Sales etc. 

Your employee advocacy program is only as strong as your diversity in stakeholders – and it will secure the essential diversity and frequency in content as well.

#7 EA is not a content format & algorithm game

“We don’t have the right content to start an employee advocacy program.”

I have heard this many times when talking EA, and it’s quite natural that it comes up as it seems the social media ‘content game’ is still a thing.

For a while now, especially LinkedIn, have been dominated by an almost FOMO like tendency with format over context. Essentially ‘playing’ the algorithm – has been more important, than the content itself. 

Hopefully 2020 will kill ‘the double lineshift’, ‘links in the first comment’, ‘reply in comment to receive the report’ et al – at least, I would advice against nudging employees to use them.

Think this instead:

Leverage what’s all ready there!

Your content is in place – you just need to activate your employees.

#8 Employee Experience & Customer Experience

It’s not breaking news that employee experience plays a huge part in the customer experience, and employee advocacy serves you valuable insights on how employees opt in on your brand values – and how they ‘live it’ when interacting with existing and future customers. 

Your EA program should be telling you all about your employees brand engagement – because without it, you will have no clue of the correlation between your employees & customers brand experience.

#9 We are all social media managers

Employees’ social media profiles has become, more or less, personal professional brands. We have become picky in what we post or share, and with whom.

We are de-following brands and people more than ever, in order to fine tune our feeds with quality content only. 

This calls for companys to cater employees with content corresponding to this development, and have a plan and systematic approach for a continuous frequency.

#10 Relevance and Relations will be the key driver for EA in 2020

Each and everyone of us have a unique network demography in our professional networks on social media.

The majority of our connections are mirroring our line of work, industry, career level and professional specialities. 

This network demography can be a huge asset in employee advocacy programs, by including them in our EA content and activation strategy.

So when asking employees to involve themselves, filter invites based on relevance of the content and what the relation is to their network demography.