Employees can be one of your company’s biggest assets when advocating for your business on social media. They can generate new leads and customers simply by using their distinct personality and voice to talk up your products and services on their personal social networks.

But many employees aren’t automatically going to be on board with being employee advocates for your business on their personal social media accounts. They need to be convinced it’s worth their while and that they can make a meaningful contribution. Thus, it’s important to show them how much you value their advocacy – and to give them the training they need to be successful employee advocates. Here are 5 key ways businesses can inspire employee advocacy on social media:

  1. Help your employees develop a personal brand: Your employees probably will want to advocate for your brand on social media, but they may be nervous that they’ll just sound like a mouthpiece for their employer. When employees develop a personal brand, they learn how to speak in their own voice, and they learn how to write in a way that reflects their own values and tastes. You can help your employees develop their personal brand by offering coaching sessions and other ongoing training opportunities.
  2. Encourage development of thought leadership: Employees who are particularly talented can do more than just develop a personal brand and speak about your business in their own voice; they can become thought leaders. Thought leadership involves developing subject-matter experts among your employees who write regularly about news and trends in your niche industry, and who develop an authoritative voice in the process. Thought leaders know how to effectively advocate for your business and your brand, while simultaneously giving their social-media followers compelling, engaging, meaningful content. Your business should train and cultivate thought leadership among employees who show particular promise and aptitude for social media.
  3. Show employees the big picture: Employees tend to perform better at any task when they understand why they’re supposed to do it. You should tap into this innate tendency by always showing them the big picture of any social media advocacy initiative. You should explain why the business has decided to promote a particular product or service on social media, and how each social media post by an employee can help further the goals of the publicity campaign.
  4. Create incentives for participation: Given that your employees tend to be more motivated to churn out a better product when they’re promised a tangible reward, there’s nothing wrong with strengthening your employee advocacy program by creating incentives, including rewards, contests and prizes. You can even use a leaderboard to let employees see how they stack up in their social-media advocacy involvement – and to fuel a spirit of competition.
  5. Invest in a platform to track employees’ social media advocacy: A social media management platform that can automatically track how advocacy posts are moving through social media and being shared and retweeted is essential to make the most of your employee advocacy initiatives. EveryoneSocial.com offers the leading platform in the industry, offering not just a way to track the reach of all social media in real time, but also a way to streamline the process of sending and sharing corporate social media content.

Inspiring employees to become brand ambassadors on social media is essential to the success of any business’s social media initiatives. Fortunately, with a little time and investment, you can give your employees the skills and empowerment they need to advocate for your business. The keys to success are to train employees in building a personal brand and thought leadership, to show them how their efforts fit into big-picture goals, to incentivize their participation and to track their advocacy efforts in a systematic way.