Today, more and more businesses are calling on ambassadors to attract and retain talent, promote their products and services, facilitate their communities or boost the adoption of new collaborative tools. These ambassadors can be active on social networks such as LinkedIn or Twitter, but also on the organization’s very own enterprise social network!
There’s a lot of content out there detailing how to turn your employees into ambassadors on social networks, but very little of it relates to enterprise social networks. That’s why we’re dedicating this article to enable you to:
- understand why it’s so important to use ambassadors to launch your enterprise social network
- identify the right candidates for ambassadors
- communicate with these ambassadors
- train them in their new role
Now, let’s discover why and how to make your employees the best ambassadors for your enterprise social network!
- Why use ambassadors to launch an enterprise social network?
- How can I create a network of internal ambassadors?
First of all, let’s start with a few definitions. An “ambassador” is an employee (in a managerial role or not) who’s responsible for convincing future users of the added value of your enterprise social network, but also for setting an example by applying best practices in how they put the tool to use.
Using ambassadors has many advantages for companies looking to set up an enterprise social network (ESN), as it is a way of:
- make employees understand why this platform is being set up, what type of information they’ll be able to find on it, and what benefits it offers them
- lend credibility to the project (especially when ambassadors are higher up on the totem pole)
- boost connections to your enterprise social network during the launch phase as well as engagement over the long term
- make it easier for users to integrate the tool into their daily work (when ambassadors double as the trainers)
- identify needs and challenges employees encounter in the field, and then transmit them to the project leaders
- convince even the most reluctant employees of the benefits of using your enterprise social network
If you want to deploy your platform successfully, we eagerly encourage you to turn your employees into ambassadors for your enterprise social network!
How can I create a network of internal ambassadors?
Clarify your objectives
The first step in launching your employee ambassador program is to identify your needs and how you wish to meet them. To get a clearer picture, here are a few questions you need to ask yourself:
- What role(s) will the ambassadors have before, during, and after the deployment of your enterprise social network? (Evangelists for employees? Sponsors for management? Facilitators? Trainers? Admin? Managers for one or more groups? Content creators?)
- What are their goals (Share two publications a week? Organize one training session a month?)
- How are you going to help your ambassadors reach these goals (With tutorials? Webinars? Coaching? A support program? Maybe a few case studies?)
- What would drive employees to become ambassadors? (Greater recognition? How about some sort of bonus for attained objectives? Gifts, of greater influence?)
- Do you have a community of devoted team members who’d be willing to get involved in the project?
Clarifying these elements will make it easier for you to identify those who could fulfill these roles and objectives—but also to find arguments to convince your committed employees to become ambassadors.
Identify and attract the right candidates
List your criteria
Now it’s time to identify your ambassadors! To make the process easier, we recommend that you list your search criteria while taking into account the roles and goals defined beforehand. For example, what traits are you looking for in your employee ambassadors:
- comfortable with new technologies?
- with good speaking skills?
- able to convey the company’s values?
- not afraid of change?
It doesn’t have to be a one-page list. The important thing is to be clear about the candidates you need.
Call for volunteers
To attract these candidates, you’ll need to launch a number of internal communications:
- Broad communication to let your employees know that you’re looking for ambassadors for your enterprise social network. This announcement can be made via various channels, such as on your intranet (or another internal communications tool), in your internal newsletter, or on your premises via a poster campaign. Note: you’re more likely to receive applications if the announcement comes from management!
- More personalized communication, which you can send directly to employees identified as ideal candidates (like via your instant messaging tool).
- Informal communication, which your teams can relay during discussions at the coffee machine or during lunch breaks (nothing beats word of mouth!).
Following this—fingers crossed🤞—you should receive a few applications. If not, don’t hesitate to ask those around you for feedback. Your colleagues might have some good advice for you (and who knows, they might even become ambassadors😉).
Create a dedicated community
Now that you’ve identified your employee ambassadors, you’ll want to find a way to facilitate communication and create connections among these ambassadors. That’s where your enterprise social network plays the perfect part!
Within the ESN, you can create a group dedicated to your ambassadors that will allow you to:
- test the platform and make sure it meets everyone’s criteria
- centralize all the information you’re going to share (key messages to get across, arguments to convince employees reluctant to change, training documents, and more) via publications, the drive, and the library.
- facilitate exchanges and the sharing of best practices between ambassadors (via chat and videoconferencing, in particular)
- brainstorm on actions to be launched and allocate tasks to be carried out
- keep in touch and answer questions
- facilitate networking and boost group cohesion.
No need to jump around on multiple platforms—one will handle all! On Talkspirit‘s enterprise social network, you can create communities, share information in a personalized way, communicate instantly, manage projects, collaborate on documents, and much more! Feel free to test our platform with your ambassadors.🙂
Training employee ambassadors
To fully fulfill their roles, your ambassadors need to not only have all the key communications to convey to employees at their fingertips, but also be able to lead by example. The best way to ensure they know how to do this? Allocate time to their training!
This training should cover a few basics:
- why the company wants to set up this enterprise social network
- what benefits the tool will bring employees (both those working in the office and in the field)
- when and how the project will be launched
- how to use the platform’s main functions
- best practices for writing publications
- which groups to find important information about
Make other training resources available for your ambassadors, for example, to explore the platform’s advanced features, master the art of persuasion, or drum up ideas for publications. These resources can then be presented during a webinar to make training more interactive and allow everyone to share questions. Ah yes, and find out how to organize your training webinars on Talkspirit here.
Let’s not forget: the aim of these training courses is not to formalize an official speech for your ambassadors, but rather to give them the right keys to communicate effectively and authentically.
Integrate ambassadors into your communication plan
Creating a communication plan is a way of organizing the actions you and your ambassadors need to launch throughout the deployment of your enterprise social network. This communication plan can be created directly on your enterprise social network with Talkspirit’s Projects module, which enables you to track your projects in tabular fashion.
Here are a few examples of actions to include in this communication plan:
- organize an event to announce the platform’s launch
- invite members onto the platform
- prepare content to welcome newcomers
- run a competition to test members’ knowledge of the enterprise social network you’ve set up
- launch a survey to gather employee feedback on the platform and various activities offered
Running short on communication ideas? Brainstorm with your ambassadors to come up with original concepts.
Developing mutual support and recognition
Encouraging mutual support and sharing experiences among ambassadors are also key elements in enabling them to continuously develop and hone their skills.
For example, you can:
- Suggest that ambassadors share problems they encounter by posting in the respective groups. Other group members can then suggest solutions and share their feedback in comments.
- Create a Q&A page in your knowledge base to bring together employees’ questions and frequently asked answers that relate to the enterprise social network.
- Gather the most effective publications each month in a document or on a project board so everyone can find inspiration.
Also, don’t forget to reward all your ambassadors’ efforts! A simple “thank you” or “bravo” can let ambassadors know that the organization recognizes their efforts and that they have meaning. When they reach targets, you can also reward them with a gift or bonus.
Finally, if you’re short on budget, keep in mind that it’s the thought that counts!
Now you know how to make your employees the best ambassadors for your enterprise social network. As we’ve seen, creating an ambassador program requires a certain investment (mainly in time). But believe us: it’s worth it!😉
Of course, you don’t have to do it alone. Our team can offer personalized support to help you create your network of employee ambassadors and successfully deploy your enterprise social network. Contact us today to learn more.