Q: We want to get our employees more involved with the company. We do a lot internally to create a good company culture, but we keep hearing about employee advocacy and how it can help you grow your audience on social media. How can we take advantage of this as an MSP?
No matter how big your or small your MSP is, employee advocacy is a great way for your employees to talk about your MSP services, brand, and culture—while reaching followers outside your network. In fact, 92 percent of employees’ followers are new to your brand. It can be a little difficult to get employees started, though, because you want employees to genuinely be authentic and excited about your IT services.
To give you an in-depth look at what employee advocacy is and the best way to start incorporating this activity into your company culture, we talked with Francis Brevik. Francis is a strong promoter of employee advocacy and works on social media campaigns at Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda. He dives deep into employee advocacy and shares advice on how MSPs can implement it.
Employees are the heart of the brand
Employees are an important asset because they are the voice of your MSP brand, whether you’re a team of three or a team of 300.
Employee advocacy is an easy way to get employees involved and excited about what you’re doing as an MSP. You can use it to promote tradeshows, internal events, and blog or website content, all while strengthening your company culture. Encouraging employee advocacy gives employees the opportunity to share their knowledge and passion for the industry and why they’re proud to work at your MSP.
Getting employees to act as advocates also increases your reach to other people in the area. Different people have different connections, which provides an opportunity to reach prospects that otherwise might not have heard about your services. Plus, when employees are actively connecting with prospects online, employee advocacy can lead the way to social selling.
When employee advocacy is used effectively, it’s a great way to see different points of views about a certain topic across your organization. For example, your engineering team may have one take on a new product or a certain ransomware threat making headlines, whereas someone in sales might have something completely different to say. This creates a more dynamic view of the subject, especially as you’re getting your brand in front of new perspectives.
And as an added bonus, employee advocacy can help your MSP attract new talent. Companies are 58 percent more likely to attract top talent if they have a successful employee advocacy program.
Where to start
The first thing you want to do is create a company account—if you don’t have one already—and a set of social rules and best practices you want your employees to follow. For example, a few of your rules could include not posting pictures of onsite visits, and not sharing financial information or competitive strategies. Sit down and develop a style guide on how you want employees to advocate on social media. How often should they do it? What are the best times to do so? Set clear guidelines and then give them space to represent your brand authentically.
Next, decide how you want to amplify this new strategy. While it isn’t necessary, there are tools like Hootsuite Amplify, LinkedIn Elevate, Oktopost, and GaggleAmp that you can use to pre-craft tweets or social posts that employees can easily share or put their own twist on. Out of these tools, the most affordable is GaggleAmp, which encourages employees to interact and share posts as they compete on a friendly point-based leaderboard—either for bragging rights or, if you’d like to, for prizes.
Finally, if your employees are going to be your advocates, you want to ensure that they have a professional profile. While it might be cute to have clever profile pictures on Facebook, it doesn’t look great for your brand. If you need to help out by taking a professional headshots for them, do so. Also, have them create a professional tagline like Technician at Better MSP on Twitter and have them add a personal spin to make it feel less robotic, such as “Biker by day, saving small businesses by night.” You want them to come across as professionals, but they should still have a personality.
Now is the time to start embracing employee advocacy. It’s quickly becoming more relevant in the market, making it the right time to jump on board and embrace your employees’ excitement. After all, what is there to lose?
Ask an MSP Expert is a weekly advice column answering common questions from MSPs and IT service providers. It covers topics ranging from pricing and selling to marketing and communications—and everything in between.