Humana: Build a social employee advocacy program, presented by Jason Spencer’s Brands-Only Summit is the conference for social media leaders at the world’s greatest brands. To learn more, visit

In his presentation, Humana’s Jason Spencer explains how to empower your employees to share your brand messaging and communicate with employees in new ways through social media.

Below is the live coverage from this event:

— Jason: Today, I’m talking about employee advocacy. I lead it at Humana, as well as our social customer care.

— What is employee advocacy? It’s essentially empowering your employees to share your brand messaging — but it’s also being able to communicate with your employees. We often think about “how do we get our employees to share our content?,” but it’s also a way to communicate with your employees in a new way.

— The key is they’re opting in to the program. We all hate emails, right? Employee advocacy is a program where employees say, “I want you to communicate to me.” It’s not just saying we’re “using” employees — because that’s a really bad term. You’re not just using them to gain impressions and shares, you’re giving them information that they may otherwise skip.

— Jason shares some data: 50% are already sharing about your brand on social media. It’s the same reason you joined social in the first place: People are talking about you, you need to join the conversation.

— Step 1: Create your strategy. What are your objectives? Drive traffic, brand lift, engage employees, increase sales? What do you want to get out of the program.

• Benefits for employee: Be first to know (insider); better understanding of company, help shape the company’s brand; increase networking opportunities, etc.

— Step 2: Define benefits. Of course there are benefits to the company. He highlights a few:

• Sense of community: One is a greater sense of community among employees. If you’re on a global or national scale, you can connect in a way not possible before.
• Establish advocacy team: Can be really powerful. You can tap them for feedback. See employees as a test group for new ideas, etc.

— You need to define compliance. Not everything is going to be OK for your employees to share. Another question is how much content — and the short answer is you can’t give your employees too much content. The rules are different than your external audience — you can’t really overload them. A good rule of thumb is 6-8 pieces of content to share. This gives them a reason to keep coming back to look for more to share.

— Give a good balance between third party content and branded content. Don’t go with exclusive branded content — people can get really bored. As a health insurance brand, we share a lot of third party content around wellness, health, and eating right. People rally around this content.

You can also measure what performs better, whether it’s branded or third party. The more third party content to share, the more your employees can share as thought leaders, and the more their followings will grow.
Jason talks about legal risks. You want your employees to say, “I work for _____, and this is my opinion.” Work with your legal teams on how to make disclosure clear and conspicuous.

— He also talks about issues around hourly employees. His brand faced this issue. So, they created a 1-hour training session. They go over existing policies, FTC regulations, and for hourly employees, they 1) check with their manager first to make sure it won’t interfere with regular work, and 2) only participate during regular business hours. I posed the question of, what if an employee goes to Facebook and shares their own? — but the difference here is this is a formal program where we’re training and encouraging people to do.

— Step 2: Selecting your vendor. There are a lot out there. One thing you want to do is ask them for a test community — they’ll often hesitate, but they’ll do it. When we were looking, I really wanted to test everything out — what the hub looked like, what content looked like when posted, etc.

You’re going to ask a lot of questions — does it have a mobile app, what channels does it support (not all support all of them), can we edit content, what’s the cost, etc.

–Find full coverage of this presentation here:

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