Home Blog Uncategorized The number-one challenge facing social media advocacy programs (and why it really isn’t a challenge at all)

The number-one challenge facing social media advocacy programs (and why it really isn’t a challenge at all)


A few weeks ago, notable consultant, Jen McClure and JEM Consulting announced findings from its 2017 State of Employee Advocacy Survey.

Some of the results were surprising , including these two:

  • There has been more than 25% growth in employee advocacy program adoption and more than 30% growth in social selling in the past year
  • Facebook, Instagram and YouTube grow, while the use of LinkedIn for employee advocacy decline.

But, overall, my sense was these types of programs are growing, the people who manage them are fairly happy with how they’re going, and those people are still facing the same primary challenge they faced in 2016.

Sustaining active employee advocate participation in these programs.

This has been the number-one challenge facing employee advocacy programs the last two years.

But, is that really a realistic challenge?

What do I mean by that? Think about it. The “challenge” these people are stating is to get more employees posting more often about company activities, results and initiatives. But, put yourself in the employee’s shoes for a moment. Would you want to post non-stop about your company on LinkedIn? Would you post even 1-2 posts a week about your organization’s recent participation at a trade show?

Personally, I don’t think that’s anywhere near a “realistic” expectation for employees. And, I’m not even sure it’s the right expectation.

My expectation, regarding employee participation, would probably be more along the lines of one post per month–at most. Maybe even one post per quarter.

After all, how much do companies really have to say on a regular basis?

I know we’re in the “content age” and companies are pumping out content at record levels. But, how much of that content is suitable for employees to share?

Really think about that for a moment.

Again, my thinking would be something like this: Instead of inundating your employees with constant content to share on social media platforms, why not save those “asks” for the big “brand moments” where you really want EVERYONE to share.

Here’s an example. Your company is planning to make its first ad buy during the Super Bow It’s a big moment for your company. Your coming out party, you could say. In that moment, you want ALL your employees talking about this via social media. It’s a company pride moment.

But, if you’ve been asking them to share things non-stop for the previous three months, your employees may be a bit apathetic. And, you may miss out on a big opportunity to rally your troops for a monster brand moment.

That’s the danger with this line of thinking. Employees most likely don’t WANT to share a lot of the posts you’re throwing out there in your social media advocacy program. They may be proud of working for your company, but that doesn’t mean they want to talk about it on social 2-3 times per week.

To me, this all seems to be about expectations. And judging from this survey, it sounds like it’s time for a little adjustment among those who run employee social advocacy programs.



Catch up on the latest trends and insights in social media, PR and digital marketing.