You’ve heard all about the benefits of employee advocacy: greater brand awareness, access to a larger talent pool, increased sales leads and incredible potential for your business. As you structure your employee advocacy program, how do you ensure that you measure the most meaningful results?
Implementing an employee advocacy program on social media requires buy-in from a number of stakeholders. This group generally includes a range of people from executives to day-to-day program coordinators. The numbers that signify success to your CMO may not be the same ones that interest your Director of Talent—and the numbers that measure program participation may matter to your internal communications team but mean nothing to a CEO who wants to hear about external performance.
There are a number of different ways to measure the impact of employee advocacy, and the metrics that matter most vary based on your objectives. If your goal is to recruit qualified candidates through employee referrals, the numbers you track will differ from those that demonstrate brand awareness or measure leads. Using an employee advocacy platform will help you track some of these numbers, while others may require looking at external analytics.
While success in one area often has an impact in another—for example, increased brand awareness may lead to increased sales leads—we have broken down how to measure your program based on distinct, high-level objectives. Take a look and join the conversation in the comments to let us know how you define success for your employee advocacy program.
Objective: Increase brand awareness
Employees can be your brand’s greatest asset, provided you have an employee advocacy program in place to help them share the right content with their networks. Brand messages reach 561% further when shared by employees than when shared by a brand’s official social channels—and what’s more, employee shares and recommendations inspire greater trust from consumers than messages from your brand itself.
How to measure brand awareness
When it comes to measuring the external impact of employee advocacy, consider:
- Impressions generated per employee, per network, per story or campaign and overall
- Social shares
- Clicks and click-through rate
- Engagement rate for social posts shared
- Hashtag mentions, for example, when tracking performance of a specific campaign
- Audience growth for brand’s official social channels
- Audience growth for company thought leaders
Objective: Recruit top talent
Research has shown that socially engaged companies are 58% more likely to attract top talent. And while the first step in using social media for recruitment is having an active company presence, getting your employees to share job postings and content that builds your employer brand can drive far more significant results.
Employee referrals are one of the best and most cost-effective ways to recruit. Employee referrals account for only 7% of all applicants, yet they make up 40% of new hires. The majority of employers and recruiters have found that candidates identified through employee referral have a shorter and less expensive recruiting process than candidates from other sources.
How to measure recruiting results
If one of your primary program objectives is to identify and recruit top talent, evaluate your success by measuring the results of posts shared through your employee advocacy platform. These metrics might include:
- Social shares of job postings
- Traffic referred from social to your careers page or job portal
- Applicants who found your company through social employee referrals
- Applicant-to-hire conversion rate for employees sourced through social employee referrals
- Length of recruiting process for applicants sourced through social employee referrals
Objective: Drive sales through social media
One key benefit of an employee advocacy program is that you can share content that helps your employees become even better at their jobs. Whether you share articles from industry thought leaders or news about upcoming product updates from your company, curating great content can help your employees and brand drive better results. As a salesperson, being active on social media and sharing smart, relevant content shows that you are an expert in your field and keeps you top of mind for prospects.
Considering that 82% of prospects can be reached via online networks, and prospects complete 70% of the buying process before engaging a sales representative, engaging regularly on social media can help your sales team put your products, message and company expertise front and center for prospective customers.
By sharing helpful content about your product or services, as well as pieces designed for lead-generation and sales enablement, you can help your sales team drive more leads and a higher conversion rate through social. Leads developed through employees’ social marketing efforts convert seven times more often than leads from other sources.
How to measure social selling success
To gauge whether your employee advocacy program is helping to build your employees’ social presences and leading to social selling results, track:
- Volume of sales leads
- Conversion rate
- Employee audience growth (new connections and followers) on key networks
You can also look at factors like where in the purchasing process you typically encounter leads on social media compared to leads from other sources.
Objective: Activate your employees as brand advocates
When you roll out a new platform or communications tool to your employees, you want to know that they are finding it valuable and, consequently, that they are actively using it.
How to measure employee adoption & engagement
As you measure the success of your employee advocacy program, start with these baseline metrics to track employee adoption:
- % of invited users who make an account
- % users who log-in regularly and frequency of log-ins
- Social profiles added
- Average shares per employee
- Employee engagement with your brand’s official social properties
Keep track of the first two numbers over time to ensure that adoption is growing, and know that average shares per employee will generally rise at first until hitting a natural plateau. If you find that adoption has stagnated or started to decline, you may need to address common issues that could prevent employees from signing up for or using the program. These might include a need for product education, privacy concerns with connecting social profiles, or a lack of understanding about how and why your company is using this tool.
Objective: Measure and scale your employee advocacy program
Clear, compelling internal communication is crucial to fostering employee advocacy, yet fewer than 30% of employees report that their employers communicate with them and keep them in the loop. If you want to cultivate employee advocacy, start by keeping your employees informed about company announcements, industry news and stories relevant to their expertise, and share this content in a way that encourages them to engage with your branded properties on social media.
Your employee advocacy program should have a dedicated manager or team responsible for regularly adding content to your platform so that your employees always have something fresh to read.
How to measure content and team performance
In order to learn which content resonates with your employees—and their audiences—measure your content team’s output and content performance. Look at metrics like:
- Stories added to your employee advocacy platform
- Number of stories targeted to specific teams
- How many shares an average story receives
- Which networks your employees are most likely to share on
- Which topics or types of content are most successful
As you learn the types of content that your employees find most interesting to consume and share, you can adjust your employee content marketing strategy to share posts with a greater chance of successful performance.
Above all, listen to your employees. If you find that certain teams are more or less active when it comes to employee advocacy, reach out to managers and employees to get feedback on how you can better tailor what you’re sharing to their professional interests and needs. Ongoing training on both social media use and the goals of your employee advocacy program can help keep your team engaged and active for the long haul.
Alicia Johnston is a Brand Marketing Specialist at Sprout Social, where she focuses on internal and external communications. When she isn’t writing about social media, she loves to cook, hike and explore Chicago’s street festivals.Find Alicia Johnston on Twitter @aliciabjohnston.
How to Measure the Success of Your Employee Advocacy Program
Written by Alicia Johnston on March 14, 2016