Given the importance of employee advocacy, it goes without saying that businesses need to be investing in efforts to measure the value of advocacy. The good news is that measuring the value is no different than measuring any return on investment; it’s ultimately about making sure the investment is paying off and figuring out how to tweak that investment over time to optimize its chances of success. The bad news is that the value of social media itself is tough to measure from a financial standpoint.
There are a few general strategies that a business can use to get a strong sense of the value of employee advocates on social media. Let’s go into a more in-depth discussion of those strategies:
- Track employee performance, not activity levels: Employees who participate as social media advocates should get some recognition for their participation, but their activity level (i.e., tweets, shares, likes) should not be the primary measure of their success as a social media advocate. Rather, you should track their performance. Your goal should be to design performance metrics that properly measure the impact of the efforts that your employee advocates are putting into their social media advocacy.
- Align employee performance with strategic business goals: The employee performance metrics that you develop should be based specifically and exclusively on how they will advance your business’s strategic interests and goals. For example, are you trying to hit a new sales target? Or perhaps you’re trying to get a new demographic of customers to start following you on social media? Or maybe you’re seeking to increase the level of engagement of your existing followers? You want to ensure that the goals you develop can be clearly tied to the bigger-picture objectives set by the company.
- Recognize that progress on social media doesn’t happen overnight: Social media does not produce sales leads and other measurable results instantly; rather, all benefits that stem from corporate social media initiatives tend to be indirect and develop over time. Keep this in mind as you design metrics to measure the success of your employee advocacy efforts. For example, an employee advocate who becomes a thought leader for your business isn’t going to develop a loyal following in a week or even a quarter. They need adequate time and resources to incrementally build their own skills and abilities, and then wait for a social media audience to find them. EveryoneSocial’s social media sharing platform provides valuable analytics that make a base line to compare any individuals advocacy efforts over time.
As long as you keep in mind the limitations of placing metrics on your employee advocates’ performance, you absolutely can and should track the value they add to your corporate social-media strategy and, indeed, to your business itself. The keys to designing an effective measurement system are to track performance as opposed to activity, to align performance with strategic goals, and to recognize that progress won’t happen overnight.