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Becoming an employee advocate for your company
Becoming an employee advocate for your company

Tips for becoming an employee advocate and engaging with influencers

Jack Morel-Paulo avatar
Written by Jack Morel-Paulo
Updated over a week ago

Have you been asked to become a social advocate for your company? Nervous?

It’s natural to be nervous. I was when I was first asked to advocate for Onalytica. 

Initially I felt pressure because I was afraid of sharing the wrong thing and wanted to make sure everything I wrote was on point and would get shares, but then something clicked, and I realised I had been worrying about the wrong thing. I had been focusing more on what people would think of my tweets than about what I wanted to talk about.

What made the big difference was figuring out the right way to build out my social media profile. At first, I tended to retweet a lot, and never got much engagement. Retweeting isn’t a problem, but if you only ever repost someone else’s words, you’re not showing any opinion on anything, which makes you more difficult to engage with. Your followers would probably rather follow the original poster of the tweet, because they can clearly see what they think themselves.

I used to also share articles with just the link, but I rarely put a comment, or voiced my own opinion. This is similar to a retweet in the sense that although influencers can engage with you directly on your tweet, you’re not sharing much of an opinion. 

Once I realised where I was going wrong, I started sharing my favourite quotes along with the article or suggesting another angle the author could look at. I replied to other people’s tweets with opinions of my own or mentioned influencers who I knew would be interested in what I was saying in my tweets. I got some great responses, some of which you can see below. 

I have now been doing this for about 7 months now. As a result, I have seen my following grow by 170% (it’s still not huge but it’s a start!). On average, I get one retweet or reply, which wasn’t happening at the beginning. It’s led to interesting conversations about topics I wasn’t aware of, and I now feel much more confident when I start my tweets.

 “You’re joining the party, not starting it.”

If you haven’t been involved in a conversation before, you can’t just rock up to a new group of people at party and suddenly change the topic of conversation to what you want to talk about. You have to listen first and then join in in a relevant way until you have the opportunity to tell them/ask them what you wanted to from the beginning. It’s the same on social media. There are loads of conversations already happening and our influencer feeds and notifications will direct you to the ones most relevant to you.

What are they talking about?

If you want to ask an influencer to do something for you, it’s best to build a relationship with them first. You wouldn’t just walk up to someone in the pub and ask them to write a blog post for you (if you would, please don’t talk to me at the pub). It takes time to build a relationship, and it’s easier, and far more successful to do it gradually, much as you would with a friend.  

I would recommend starting out slow, perhaps with a like or a retweet. Look for a tweet that interests you and start to engage with a reply. If they answer back, great. If not, remember that people aren’t necessarily on their phones all day – it’s easy to miss a reply or forget to answer so don’t get discouraged and think they’re ignoring you. Engaging with a public post is not like sending a direct message, so not getting a reply doesn’t carry the same weight. 

I’ve often heard people say they’re scared to reach out to influencers because they might say the wrong thing, or they don’t know how social media works. I think we all have this fear, especially when we do something in public, but you don’t have to start the conversation in front of everyone. If you’d rather reach out in private, why not send a private message on LinkedIn, or a DM on Twitter (or even email, if you have their address)? 

Still feeling a bit worried? Remember many influencers do this for a living, or certainly dedicate a lot of time to it. They like spending time on social media, they want to start conversations, so you’re not asking them to go out of their way to reply to a tweet. You’re not being asked to lead the way and entertain everyone, you’re not the party host. So, grab a snack and get chatting!

You can’t run before you walk

You may have an end goal of chatting to Influencer X, let’s say the CEO of a super cool company who also happens to be an influencer, have a great following, produce stellar content etc… But you can’t contact them out of the blue, especially if you’re new to social media. Top UK Cloud influencer Ian Moyse has a strategy worked out, and says he identifies his “end goal” influencer and then works back a few steps to see how he can get into that influencer’s sphere. You can use our network maps to help you find the people best connected with them. Build up relationships with as many people around them as possible. The more you do this, the closer you’ll get to Influencer X, while building up your own profile along the way! 

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