At Social Media Marketing World 2018 I shared the stage with Karin Aviles, Sr. Manager Demand Generation at Centrica Business Solutions and Conner Kutsunai, Integrated Marketing Manager, Global Employer Brand, at Microsoft. The three of us delivered compelling reasons and proven ideas (secrets) to get employees to engage in social media employee advocacy.
In my opening remarks I shared these compelling statistics:
- Only 3% of employees share company related content, but they’re responsible for a 30% increase in likes and shares of this content. – Source LinkedIn
- Brand messages reach 561% further when shared by employees vs brands social channels.
- Employees are the most trusted source of information in a company. – Source: 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer
Why Employees are Willing to Engage in Social Media
It’s always wise to begin with the “why” of anything. So, let’s look at reasons employees might be willing to share your company’s content and be an advocate for your brand on social media.
Help your company grow your social media following.
– These employees care about your brand’s social media following and want to help you grow it.
Help drive sales leads.
– Often, these employees are in sales or business development or another customer facing role and they want the company to succeed.
Educate their network about your company.
– These employees take pride in working for your company and they want their network to know when your company wins awards, closes big deals, contributes to charitable causes, etc.
Help your company recruit talent.
– Similarly, these employees want to help the company recruit the talent needed to grow and thrive. Many companies offer financial incentives to employees to help them source qualified candidates for open positions.
Look good to their management.
– These employees want to be noticed by management. Sharing content and advocating for the brand can get them noticed especially when these employees like, share and comment on posts from management.
Boost their professional reputation.
– These employees have a strong interest in building their own brand for credibility inside their company and in their industry. This can be one of the most powerful and beneficial reasons to the brand because of the halo effect – when the employee’s brand reputation reflects well on the company’s brand.
Participate in monetary incentives.
– When financial incentives are offered in combination with training, content and governance, positive results can be sustained. However, the absence of a formal employee advocacy program can dilute the long term effectiveness of monetary incentives.
We also discussed obstacles to get employees to advocate on social media.
- 12 % of employees don’t know what to share because there is no employee advocacy plan in place.
- 8% think they don’t have a big enough network to have an impact. This is symptomatic of a lack of understanding how to share content with hashtags or engage with other’s posts to have an impact.
- 6% of employees don’t see how it benefits them. This is huge and addressed through training.
- 15% of employees don’t want to sound like a company robot. This is addressed through process and efficient implementation of technology platforms.
- 14% of employees say they don’t have time. Usually, this obstacle is addressed through training and an employee advocacy platform that makes it easy and time efficient.
- 15% of employees say they don’t want to overwhelm their network with company information. Little do they know the diversity of content available, so they can pick and choose content that is relevant to them.
- 30% of employees say they don’t use social media for business. Again, by addressing the why, employees can learn the value of social media engagement. Plus, LinkedIn is a business-focused social network. Engaging on LinkedIn properly has little to no overlap with personal social media usage.
Employee Social Media Engagement for Demand Generation
Karin Aviles from Centrica Business Solutions took the stage to share the success she had with an employee advocacy program she rolled out at her previous employer. By getting executive leadership to engage on social media with employees, their response was very enthusiastic. At an industry event, Karin organized a social media “war room” where twenty-two employees took turns across three days posting about the activities at the event. They created a unique hashtag for the brand #VZCommunityMaker – which garnered the most shares at the event. The benefit to the company’s team was great exposure resulting in sales leads. Karin is in the process of developing a similar plan now at Centrica Business Solutions where she is mapping events to their social media plans and developing relevant content. She’s also rolling out the GaggleAMP employee advocacy platform to enable employees to easily share content and engage in social channels..@Karin_MktgSmart shares at #SMMW18 her success story about the positive impact executive leaders can have for #EmployeeAdvocacy by engaging on #SocialMedia with employees. @BernieBorgesClick To Tweet
Employee Social Media Engagement that Celebrates the Employee
Conner Kutsunai from Microsoft took the stage to speak about the #MicrosoftLife program. Conner is a Seattle native and never imagined working at Microsoft until a friend suggested he apply for a position that seemed a great fit for him. Conner joined the Global Branding team to help launch the #MicrosoftLife program. The three year old program began with research where they learned that job candidates wanted to know what working at Microsoft is like. They also learned that employees wanted to share their stories, but no structured communication outlets existed. The MicrosoftLife program is focused on celebrating employees to enable people both inside and outside of Microsoft to make a human connection with employees. Through a robust set of tools that include LinkedIn Elevate, Yammer and Sprinklr employees can share content and engage with each other on the topics that interest them.The #MicrosoftLife program is focused on making that human connection between management and employees at @Microsoft. Find out from @_ConnerK how they launched this program. #SMMW18 @BernieBorgesClick To Tweet
The Big Take Away
Clearly, the reasons for a structured and well managed employee advocacy program at Centrica Business Solutions and Microsoft are very different. The former is focused on demand generation and the latter is focused on employee recruiting and retention.
Centrica Business Solutions wants to harness its employees to help drive demand for their services. Microsoft wants to harness employees to staff the business. Do you see the similarity? All companies need qualified employees to market, sell and support customers. Gone are the days where the responsibility of a function such as sales, marketing or human resources are limited to those departments. The employee is the heart and soul of any business.
In the connected age where employees collectively have more reach potential than most brand’s social media channels, it’s only logical for employees to participate in social media engagement. The potential for the halo effect on the business is huge.
This leads to the logical conclusion that employee advocacy is a strategic initiative. As shown in these examples, it requires planning supported by processes and technology. The impact on the business can be substantial and it’s very measurable.
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