Creating your college's social advocacy programme
There’s no doubt about it: your employees are your most valuable asset. But are you tapping into the full potential of your team when it comes to promoting your college?
You’ve probably heard of employee advocacy. In a nutshell, it’s the promotion of your college by the people who work for it. Employee advocacy has proven to be incredibly effective in supporting a college’s marketing and recruitment strategies. Why? Well, because people are more likely to trust an employee saying your college is great, than it coming direct from the horse’s mouth.
In an age where many of us trust peer reviews over branded content, inspiring your employees to become advocates of your college could really help you to attract and recruit top talent. But how do you do it?
One thing you need to do is create a social advocacy programme to inspire and support employee advocates within your college. We’re about to share some top tips, inspired by the ‘How to create a successful employee advocacy program’ guide by SoAmpli.
An authentic way to promote your college
As the report notes, employee advocacy is a more authentic – and often, more affordable – way to spread the word about your college and build meaningful relationships with your audience, including prospects and parents. It’s essentially a digital version of word-of-mouth marketing, where staff promote your college through their own social channels.
And it’s effective: Nielsen found 83% of people trust recommendations from their connections because they know the person sharing it. But to be successful, advocacy needs a long-term commitment, including constant internal reinforcement to help staff grasp and remember why advocacy is important.
Inspire your team to proactively talk about your college to their social network audiences, and you’ll extend your college brand’s reach and drive up awareness.
Building a successful advocacy programme
Get buy-in from management
Buy-in and support from education leaders within your college is vital – ideally, management won’t just support the programme, but participate in it, as this helps with authenticity. When senior staff support and recognise the importance of an advocacy programme, this inspires engagement from middle management, who are more visible to employees.
Set your goals
Think about what you want to achieve with the programme. Set effective and measurable goals – e.g. you want to increase traffic to your career page by 15% over the next quarter. Make sure your goals remain front of mind when promoting the programme, as it’ll help you make better decisions on how to proceed.
Recruit employees to the programme
It’s time to recruit! At the risk of stating the obvious, lecturers are very busy people, so you’ll need to demonstrate how taking part will benefit them. You’ll increase your chances of success if you communicate effectively and clearly with your staff about expectations of their involvement, the programme framework, and how it fits in with their daily role.
There are many non-monetary incentives you can offer employees to inspire them to be part of your advocacy programme. For instance, you could:
- Create a competition where each employee who shares a particular piece of content is entered to win a prize.
- Track the ‘top sharers’ and flag to managers as proof they’re making a positive contribution to the programme.
- Launch a leaderboard between employees, with prizes for employees who share the most content or receive the most engagement.
- Use your college’s social channels to share the most creative messages from employees for a double boost of recognition.
Keeping your team engaged
Advocacy programmes are only effective if they are long term, so you need to think of ways to keep your team engaged. Make sure you:
- Engage with the content employees share on your college – for instance, by commenting on, sharing or liking posts.
- Give shout-outs to staff members who are making positive contributions to the programme, for instance by acknowledging them in internal newsletters or during meetings.
To help maintain the programme as it grows and develops, consider appointing a programme lead, who will help to keep things on track and make sure everyone is happy, engaged and making good progress. Also make sure you document the process behind the programme, which will act as a good reference point to new employees who come on board as the programme grows.
An advocacy programme can help to support your college’s recruitment efforts, and FEjobs can help with the rest! Find out more or get in touch today.