Marketers use multiple channels to create awareness for their products. However, most of these channels are also available to a firm’s competitors, reducing their efficacy over time. But your firm’s employees are your exclusive channels to get your message out. This message can be carried with enthusiasm, knowledge and authenticity. Why not leverage Employee Advocacy as a force multiplier in your marketing efforts?
What is Employee Advocacy anyway?
People prefer to follow people rather than companies. This is the fundamental premise of employee advocacy. A tweet or a post from a trusted individual in your network is more impactful than a tweet or post from a company. Employee advocacy attempts to harness the latent brand potential of a company’s employees by encouraging them to authentically talk about the business of their employer including its product and services.
How does Employee Advocacy work?
Employee advocacy solutions are content management solutions with a social layer, an analytics layer and an administrative layer all presented via a user interface that is facile and frictionless.
Employee advocacy content comes from both the company and its employees. While content from the company is typically similar to the content that companies generate for their social media channels, the more interesting part of employee advocacy is the content generated by employees. This can be articles, blogs, tweets or posts on areas related to the company’s business (market, products, competition, trends, etc.). Before employee advocacy solutions existed, this type of content was typically posted by an employee to only his or her network, and as a result, found limited distribution. With employees advocacy solutions, this content is distributed to many (and perhaps all) employees to be authentically re-posted to their respective networks, resulting in an exponentially greater reach. Typically, employee advocacy solutions provide an administrative layer that allows control over what content goes out to employees to re-post.
The social layer of an employee advocacy solution allows employees to select social networks where their re-posts will appear. Typically this includes Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, but can also include other vertical networks that a company’s customers may care about. All posts via the employee advocacy solution are tracked on a per employee basis and can be presented on a leader board to encourage and incentivize employees to be active in the advocacy process.
The analytics layer of employee advocacy solutions is the most interesting. This is where tracked re-posts of employees are measured against business objectives. The business objective could be a social media objective (such as fan out via re-tweets per employee), or it could be an ROI based objective (e.g., how many new leads came in at the top of the sales funnel due to the Employee Advocacy fan out of a set of articles or blogs). The better employee advocacy systems tie into sales and marketing automation platforms such as SalesForce and Marketo and Act-On.
How well do Employee Advocacy platforms work?
Dynamic Signal’s Employee Advocacy product, VoiceStorm, is seeing impressive results from numerous top brands including Salesforce, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM, and Deloitte. Hitachi recently reported a 53% increase in share of voice surrounding their “Defining Moments” campaign, which was supporting a new product launch. Most impressively, that initiative only involved 100 employees, highlighting the impact an authentic voice can have.
Another well-known B2B Silicon Valley company initially adopted VoiceStorm to support a major industry trade event in 2013. Since then, they evolved the program to coincide with several additional campaigns. Within the first few months of the launch, they saw over 8K employee tweets prompted from the program, which produced 7M impressions and 4K reactions (replies, retweets, favorites) a factor of 2.5X more than their usual social media campaign. Once again, this came from a small group of employees.
And Employee Advocacy is not just for large companies. Trinity Ventures uses VoiceStorm internally at our firm. If we want to promote an article about one of our portfolio companies, we post it on VoiceStorm and all of our partners are notified on their VoiceStorm mobile app. They can then choose to comment on the article and re-post it with one click to all their social channels creating a multiplier effect.
Today, Trinity portfolio company Dynamic Signal, the leader in the Employee Advocacy space, announced the closing of its Series C. Trinity led Dynamic Signal’s Series A round in 2010 and we have been strong supporters of Russ Fradin and his team’s mission as pioneers in the employee advocacy space.