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How to Know if Your Employee Advocacy Program is Working

Here at Leadtail, we’re noticing a growing interest in the topic of employee advocacy. And as our blog readers know, we’ve even posted about this topic. That’s why we’re especially happy that Russ Fradin, founder of Dynamic Signal and long-time employee advocacy proponent, has agreed to share his insights on measurement and success when evaluating an employee advocacy program. Read on… 

When you’re setting up your employee advocacy program you can do everything right – picking goals and objectives, identifying the right audience, program management, and rewards and recognition, but all of those efforts will be wasted if you aren’t benchmarking and measuring along the way. The tracking and measurement of data is essential if you plan to maintain growth, scale, and long term success.

It’s important that you understand what metrics and results are possible to track, and which of them are meaningful to your particular program and business as a whole. You will want to align the real time data your advocates are generating with your marketing KPIs and objectives. This way, you can easily determine the impact of the program and make changes accordingly along the way.

Every company is unique, and places a different level of importance on any given set of results. But, at Dynamic Signal we have found some common themes through our experience working with hundreds of companies over the past few years. The good news is, we want to bring that knowledge to you, so it’s easier for you to plan ahead, and measure the right metrics from day one.

I’ve broken down results into a few different buckets that we think just about every employee advocacy program manager will want to stay on top of in order to determine success.

Start with the vanity metrics

There are a handful of data points that you should very easily be able to view and extract insights from. When an advocate takes action they will generate an initial set of results we typically refer to as “vanity metrics.” These metrics are the starting point for you to better understand what’s working and what’s not in regards to content, cadence, location, and audience reaction. Examples of these would include:

  • Shares (an advocate publishing a piece of your content on their personal social channels)
  • Reactions (e.g. retweets, likes, favorites, comments)
  • Clicks (a follower, friend, or connection of an advocate clicking on the shared content)
  • Impressions (when shared content is displayed on an advocate’s social channel)

Once this data has been compiled, a program manager will want to use either an employee advocacy platform or analytics software to view, export, and sort data in a variety of ways (e.g., by advocate, date range, social channel, member group, etc). Having these results allows you to tweak and cater your content to get maximum value out of it once you see what’s working and what isn’t. This allows you to generate more of the content that’s getting traction and save time by cutting the content that isn’t.

Now it’s time to track conversions

It’s great that your advocates are sharing your content, and evoking a reaction from their followers. But, if you stop measuring at that point you’re literally only scratching the surface. To truly gauge success you must be able to track conversions, which in most cases means you’re turning a web visitor into a paying customer…or at least moving them closer to being one.

With the right technology it’s easy to associate the initial click with the end result. Employee advocacy platforms such as Dynamic Signal streamline set up and will integrate with your other lead tracking platforms like Salesforce, Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics. Integration can also be completed manually for those more tech savvy. Some examples of conversions that can be tracked are:

  • Downloads (a connection of an advocate downloading a gated piece of content)
  • Registrations (a connection of an advocate registering for an online or physical event)
  • Purchases (a connection of an advocate buying something online by clicking on shared content)
Also ask yourself – are you listening?

There’s another important set of data that pertains to the amount of online chatter and conversation happening around a certain topic, phrase, keyword, or hashtag. This is known as “share of voice” and can give program managers valuable insight into the tone, sentiment, and amount of mentions circling their brand or campaign versus their competitors. Tracking SOV can be easy, or incredibly involved depending on how in depth you would like to get. In the end, it’s a simple metric that compares the number of voices talking about YOU versus everyone else (based on parameters you choose).

Here’s an example:

Hitachi Data Systems worked with their advocates on a particular campaign over the course of a 24 hour period to increase its share of voice to 53% – its highest share ever. This was an excellent way to benchmark the impact of their advocate program by measuring the SOV pre and post campaign.

In Summary

There are numerous ways to measure success for your program. We recommend starting with the concepts above and expanding as things progress. Make sure you are transparent with your employees about what is important to the program so they can be mindful of their actions. In the end, their activity will define the results that come from your efforts as a marketer. Track them all, and make them count!

Learn more about Employee Advocacy and how to start your own program.

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Related Posts
Is Employee Advocacy the Next Big Thing for Marketers? ( 12 Feb 2014 )
5 Keys To a Successful Employee Advocacy Program ( 8 Mar 2015 )
Build an Employee Army of Social Media Rockstars ( 14 Aug 2015 )
How to Know if Your Employee Advocacy Program is Working ( 20 Nov 2015 )
Turn the Promise of Employee Advocacy Into Reality ( 19 Jul 2016 )
Written by Russ Fradin
Russ Fradin
Russ Fradin is the co-founder of Dynamic Signal and a digital media industry veteran with more than 15 years' experience in the online marketing world. Russ previously co-founded and was CEO of Adify and co-founded SocialShield. He was also SVP of BD at Wine.com, EVP of Corporate Development at comScore was among the first employees at Flycast. Russ holds a BS in Economics from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

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