Last week, CEC hosted a teleconference cohort for members who have an active employee ambassador program and are thinking of deciding the future strategy for their programs. There were five members on the line and a number of interesting ideas were discussed during the two-hour session. One of the common concerns everyone talked about was keeping the ambassadors engaged within the program . Today, we bring you some highlights from that discussion and useful tips for engaging ambassadors:
#1. Make it easy for ambassadors to contribute
While ambassadors may be willing to go above and beyond to contribute to the program, many times they’re left directionless. Just as it is important to get them on board, it’s important to tell them how they can contribute. One member mentioned how they have created a list of “Five Things You Can Do as an Ambassador” which is very specific and easy to remember.
Here are some other simple tips that can make it easy for ambassadors to contribute in meaningful ways:
a) Provide training and guidelines to generate awareness about how they can contribute. For example, if your program involves sharing information externally on social media, tell them what they can share and what they shouldn’t.
b) Create a platform, for example a portal or a discussion forum, where ambassadors can share ideas and discuss queries.
c) Create specific calls-to-action to minimize time and effort required for contributing.
#2. Foster “on their terms” engagement
Employees daily receive hundreds of messages from various stakeholders. To cope with message overload, they sometimes slip into the habit of ignoring or deleting the messages, regardless of message importance . One of the members voiced concern about the decreasing open rate of their ambassador program related e-mails.
While it’s useful to remain connected with the ambassadors through e-mails, it’s important to maintain the fine balance between “information” and “information overload,” so as not to turn them off. Design a “pull” strategy, for example by creating a portal for ambassadors to access and share information, to promote “on their terms” engagement, rather than “pushing” the messages every time you want to communicate with them.
#3. Provide social proof
People have a tendency to conform to behaviors that they see in their immediate environment – known as social proof. This is why employees often get influenced by behaviors of their peers . One of the members mentioned that they conduct social media training workshops for ambassadors where they also talk about how other ambassadors are contributing. By showing evidence of peer contribution, ambassadors are encouraged to display model behavior.
#4. Get senior leadership endorsement
By design, employee ambassador programs are volunteer programs and require employees who are passionate about the organization. When such employees see the senior leadership sharing their passion , they get encouraged even more. Enthusiasm, after all, is contagious.
One member talked about how one of their senior executives started video blogging and tweeting and became so passionate about social media that he asked all employees to wake up to the opportunity of social media as a communication tool. The comms team leveraged this “visible” executive endorsement by talking about it and also educating employees about how they can contribute using social media. Other members acknowledged that getting senior leadership endorsement can be a low effort/cost yet high-impact engagement technique.
So, which engagement methods have worked for you and which haven’t? Share your thoughts on this topic in the comments section below.
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