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Jennifer Kelley (Jenn) is a Senior Strategy Consultant on the Jive Professional Services team.  In this capacity, she works closely with Jive customers to apply successful practices and define their roadmap to social business success.  Part coach, part tour guide and part cheerleader, Jenn helps guide companies as they establish and execute strategies to engage their employees, customers and partners and deliver business value.   Jenn brings perspective from an extensive and varied background in digital strategy and user experience design consulting. In this piece, Jennifer Kelley explains how to determine how many advocates you need:

As you'll hear from many of our Jive champions, an effective advocate program is a cornerstone of a successful launch strategy (for your internal community*). Your advocates will provide powerful examples, act as role models and mentors, evangelize your community and collaboration goals, and generally help supercharge adoption.   I wanted to tackle one of the most immediate questions customers raise around advocates: How many will I need?


Like with many aspects of social business strategy, while we'd love to be able to say "14" or "500," there isn't a tidy one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to a desired quantity of advocates.  The reality is the more the better. In many cases when an enterprise struggles with initial adoption, it starts from having too small of an advocate pool (and/or one that is not sufficiently empowered).  Here are a few additional rules of thumb to keep top of mind as you start recruiting your volunteer army of advocates:


  • Cast a wide net. While a percentage doesn't scale to large enterprise communities, for a smaller community we'd encourage aiming for 5-10% of your launch many.jpg
  • Represent diversity. Make sure your team of advocates reflects and represents the diversity of your employee base. Remember, people will look for and gravitate toward “someone like me” as a model to follow.  So these need to be individuals with whom your other employees can readily identify – not just a homogenous group of early adopters who are enthusiastic but whose behaviors may not resonate across your broader employee population.  Take the time to recruit and enable individuals from across your different divisions/departments, job functions, demographics, seniority levels and even tenure in the company.
  • Build in redundancy. You should expect some variability in the level of commitment and performance of your initial advocates. Some will emerge as natural, proactive leaders but others will falter due to other workload commitments or competing projects. Don't put all of your eggs in one basket!
  • Set clear priorities. While you want to think big, you also need to set yourself up to be successful if you are working with limited resources.  Focus on your initial or primary member segments and use cases first and then you can look to phase in other groups as you go forward. For information on empowering your advocates, check out 7 Steps to Empowering Your Natural Advocates.
  • Replenish and renew.  Rather than a stable or finite team, think of your advocates as a continuous pipeline that we want to maintain.  Expect some turnover as people shift focus or get pulled onto other things and welcome the new energy and enthusiasm from new advocates.  Watch your community activity to see leaders emerge organically, ask your existing advocates to identify other potential advocates and encourage candidates to self-identify through your community.  Make sure to encourage new advocates to self-identify.
  • Make specific asks. Be sure to make specific asks of your advocates. And plan to enable and reward/recognize in any way possible for their efforts!  That should also help with your recruiting efforts.


As you work on building advocacy, be sure to download this whitepaper 6 Secrets of Solid Social Business Deployments.

What obstacles have you run into in building advocacy?