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10 Principles of Psychology You Can Use to Improve Your Employee Advocacy

There’s no one who can amplify your brand message like an employee advocate can.

However, humans can get complicated. Fortunately, psychology figured us out enough to know what we have to say and do to get motivated.

In this post, we’ll cover 10 principles of psychology that will help you motivate your employee ambassadors, and channel that motivation into your social advocacy program.

Let’s dive in!

1. Treat Employee Ambassadors as Influencers

You should keep the focus on your employees even as they’re creating value for your brand.

Everyone likes feeling important and if you make them feel like superstars, they’ll be more willing to help you and ultimately, connect with your company on a deeper level.

They’ll be loyal.

And out of loyalty comes the willingness to share how awesome your brand is.

Once that happens, your messages will reach 561% further than if you’d just shared them on the official company channels.

So whether you show your appreciation through improved work culture and more causes for celebration, or simply highlighting the success and stories of your employees on social media, make them feel special and they’ll show everyone else your brand is special, too.

2. Offer Incentives for Brand Advocacy

Employee ambassadors are willing to do a lot for a company they believe in, but they have to have a root cause.

Psychology has long ago determined that incentives are necessary for taking action. Even our primate cousins were more willing to do certain things if they knew what’s in it for them.

This ties in directly to the psychological need to feel special. When you’re treating your employees better, they’re treating you better in return.

Ideas for Employee Advocacy Incentives

  • Special perks
  • Gift cards
  • Bonuses
  • Recognition

3. Encourage Healthy Competition among Employees

Speaking of motivation and incentives, extrinsic motivation is one of the strongest forms of motivation for people in general.

Unlike intrinsic motivation (actions that are performed because of internal desires), extrinsic motivation is fueled by external factors such as: competition, punishment and rewards.

A great way to use this to improve your employee advocacy is by keeping score of employees’ engagement and actions.

Image Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/WUmb_eBrpjs

You don’t have to pit them against one another, but you can encourage a healthy competition that ultimately drives improved job performance and job satisfaction.

Some tools make this really easy. DrumUp offers integrated leaderboards and an easy social advocacy program administration.

4. Gamify Employee Advocacy

Another way to further motivate your employees is through gamification. Our brains are wired to respond better to games and interactivity because it provides constant motivation.

By now, you’re probably realizing that quite a lot in our brain happens (or fails to happen) because of motivation.

Typical gamification features that increase employee ambassador engagement include:

  • Leaderboards and score-keeping
  • Awarding points and badges
  • Contests

You can find all of it in DrumUp, and it works like a charm if you want to make your brand advocacy program more interesting.

5. Provide Educational Content

If you want your employees to share about your industry on their social media (and consequently, your company), you need to help them educate themselves. This contributes to the intrinsic motivation factors.

This is also a perk if you want your business to stay competitive.

However, this typically means investing into expensive seminars and conferences with no clear metrics to see if the employees benefitted from going.

Image Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/group-of-people-watching-on-laptop-1595385

With a good employee advocacy tool, you can give them the educational content they need through industry news streams.

These simplified feeds can be set up automatically to display the news from relevant news sources so your employees can share and comment, proving themselves to be an authority and consequently, proving that your company is credible because of the people you hire.

6. Focus on Your Employees, Not Your Brand

 As a rule of thumb, any good employee advocacy program shouldn’t be all about the brand, but all about the employees.

This positive psychology approach drives engagement both from your employees, and people receiving the message they shared.

Show your employees how they benefit from it, regardless of whether that’s through turning themselves into thought leaders (opening up new career and promotion opportunities) or feeling more esteemed within their own community.

You should also pay attention to different types of employee ambassadors and help each achieve their potential.

7. Consistently Remind Employee Ambassadors to Share

Our attention spans are shortening all the time, which is why you need to consistently remind your employee advocates to share.

Now, you could leave post-its on their desks, but you could also get a tool like DrumUp and set up recurring notifications.

Image Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/WUmb_eBrpjs

When you post something interesting, they’ll be notified and motivated to share. It beats waiting for them to see it or coming across as overly pushy.

8. Stimulate Intrinsic Motivation Factors

While extrinsic factors are the most prominent ones, intrinsic motivation is just as powerful.

A very simple thing you could do is encourage your employees to create their own content.

Ask them for their opinion, and ask them to share what they like about company the most, or what they’ve been working on during a given day.

Encourage them to become the superstars of the show.

9. Measure the Right Things

When you’re setting up your brand advocacy program, it’s easy to start tracking the number of shares, reshares, likes, and reward the employees who generated the most impressions.

However, that’s the best way to motivate everyone to stop participating.

What to Measure in Employee Advocacy Programs Instead:

  • Engagement milestones
  • Meaningful connections (e.g. conversations around your content)
  • Creativity

Show employees that their follower count isn’t the main thing that’s valued. And instead of berating them, reward positive behavior through positive reinforcement.

10. Remove Friction from Employee Advocacy

Finally, around 70% of business programs fail due to poor engagement.

This is partly because of systems that are difficult to navigate. If your employees don’t know what to do, what to share, and when to share, they’ll be lost.

In short: they need a structured program and routine

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The best way to remove friction from your employee advocacy program is by using DrumUp.

Its features offer everything you need to get started or improve your brand advocacy; from scheduling and content curation to gamification and motivation.

Start your free trial today