I hear this a lot: ‘we have gone with employee advocacy product X and we're now trying to get these busy people to actually use it’. 

So why the pain? 

If you follow what is says on the tin, Employee Advocacy does seem straightforward, you can even track the revenue results in some cases. However, since you are asking humans to share, there are some other behavioural elements to hurdle….

  1. Value - Quite obvious but do the people being asked to share content understand the value? Many people in B2B companies, do not care about the 1000's of marketing views but do care about their own expert-to-expert interactions. 
  2. Audience - Do you know who you want to talk too? Put B2C to one side, if you are the busy person being told to communicate, surely you need to know who you want to talk too first? If they do not exist in the channels EA will reach, then people are, quite rightly, less likely to engage. 
  3. The content - It is natural to want to share things that you have taken the time to produce (or write). The research below looks at the creation of trust in virtual communities and that found this is built when "prior knowledge about members, a favourable history of community interactions, as well as members' skills and competencies (ability) in terms of having expertise within certain domain". Quite compelling to suggest that the content delivered through your new EA tool needs to come from the colleagues and internal experts of the firm. 

There is research by NYTCIG that says 78% people share information as it allows them to stay connected. It would indicate that the same set of people will only share content that will help these relationships, not hinder. Therefore making sure the content you ask people to share of value is vital. 

So my tip would be; before investing in one of these platforms you should be conducting an audience audit for the intended users. If I was selling one of these platforms it would be in my qualification to start stimulating that process for long term success.  Once in place, you need content produced by the trusted colleagues and domain experts being shared. Whilst this exercise will be great for the success of your EA platform, it will also be beneficial for business generally and will keep your team focused.