Late last year, our good friend Sarah Goodall of Tribal Impact released a framework for classifying employees on social media in 9 different buckets based on their maturity, ranging from Influencers (people that have a rich network and are actively shaping discussions about different topics) down to Inactives (people that have a very small social network and low to non-existent activity). We recommend you to read her post to see a detailed description about each category, but the bottom line is that if companies could knew how “mature” each employee is on social media, they could provide a tailored approach (trainings, guidance, amplification, and so on).
Since analyzing employee activity on Twitter is our specialty, in the last few months we have worked with Sarah to run an analysis of SAP employees based on the stages of social media maturity. And we are finally ready to release the results today! You can read all the details on the study in Sarah’s post on the Tribal Impact blog. Why did we choose SAP? Because it is one of the largest tech company in the world, and it has a massive presence on Twitter: more than 5,000 accounts have identified themselves as SAP employees in the bio. So we analyzed their tweets for a period of one month (March 16th – April 15th) in order to get their activity stats (tweets and retweets). By coupling them with the number of followers for each account, we were able to place them on the 2 axes of the model (Level of Social Activity and Network Size).
I will keep this post short by inviting you again to read her article: Know Your Advocates. Focus Your Social Training . And hopefully you will here more from us (and from her) about the employee social media maturity framework in the coming months.
But making your brand known requires communities of people and advocates that believe in your brand who are ready to tell your story. Finding them the traditional way, starting from the networking platform towards identifying the partners that will help you acquire success, is much harder.
You should first search within your company, as statistics support this. According to a U.K. business Growth study, a 12% increase in brand advocacy, on average, generates a 2x increase in revenue growth rate plus boosts market share. That alone should be reason enough to invest in this brand awareness strategy.
How your buyer chooses your brand
The decision of what to buy and from whom has changed a lot in the last decade. There was a time when most of the buying process was driven by TV ads, but that changed a long time ago. Today it’s not about the ads anymore. We are so used them being everywhere that we don’t even see them anymore.
What makes us choose a brand over another is the positive experiences brand awareness brings to our attention – success stories, word of mouth and what the communities inside the company have to say.
That’s why more and more consumers check social media sites before deciding on a purchase. They expect referrals from friends or people just like them that have more knowledge about the company. Brand awareness doesn’t just mean getting your name out there.
It’s about making your clients and future customers understand what your values are and the vision they are investing in when buying your product. Moreover, they expect to find out this information from a friendly face, not a marketing name.
The benefits of raising brand awareness
Implementing employee advocacy to raise brand awareness brings numerous benefits not only for the image of the company, but also for the internal environment. Just imagine how it makes your customer feel when they find your own employees giving them information about your projects or products.
But not the sales or marketing team. Someone like them, a person they can relate to. And at the same time consider how it makes that one employee feel – that they are part of the overall image in that one action of brand awareness. The conversation is public, open and shareable, and that is what employee advocacy is all about today.
Some of the main benefits that your company will experience are:
Raised engagement with the content you share
Fast and easier buying processes
Driven website traffic
Attracting fresh talent
Improved cooperation within the company
Increased brand awareness
How to implement employee advocacy
In order for this strategy to work you need to have a plan. Infrastructure is required to make sure that your advocates have everything they need: from knowledge to materials and support. Here are a few of the first steps you can take to start implementing the strategy into your company’s plan.
Social media training
The first aspect you need to consider is that if you want a large number of your staff members and employees to be part of the brand awareness plan, they need proper training. Consider this as either a training for all employees or an optional one that every employee is aware of.
Give them information about the platforms and how they can use them. The basics should be enough, but also consider a little information on the materials that work best for your own strategy, like video, quizzes, etc.
Make clear how it is different for them to publish something in their name or as a representative of the company. Make the policies well-defined, but leave them space to be creative and evolve.
File sharing infrastructure
In order for their engagements to be relevant for your brand awareness campaigns they need to have access to and be aware of the materials you are sharing. Building an infrastructure will make the process fast and easy for any campaigns.
After creating it and implementing within all departments, it will show results over time. It will also offer your employees the opportunity to always be up to date and informed about what is happening with the company.
This will help them give better explanations and relate closely with the community. Being able to refer future employees and customers to the right materials will have a positive impact on the brand.
Managing brand awareness
Another important aspect of implement employee advocacy is being able to keep track of it. Community managers and digital marketing departments have an important role in this step.
They need proper tools to stay on top of the engagements and have a clear overall image of how the outside parties consider them. This is needed in order to be able to manage each situation accordingly and offer guidance and support to each staff member involved.
If the platform you need help managing is Twitter then we have the answer for you. Try out SocialLook in order to know how well the engagements with any employees are going.
Raising the impact of your company
The benefits are clear and they involve each aspect of the business. If you haven’t considered employee advocacy for improving brand awareness yet, you should.
Understanding how your buyer decides on your brand is essential. At the same time, getting employees more involved your brand will also reflect positively in your image and inner work.
Consider social media training for each every employee regardless of whether they work in your office. Offer them new materials and information about the brand to share with your audience and communities. Give them the chance to shine while living your brand but also offer them support.
Don’t forget that there are amazing tools out there to help you stay on top of all their activity and have clear reports to know how this strategy is working out for your brand.
Most companies’ CEOs don’t know much about employee advocacy and how they could use it to their advantage. Basically, it means that your employees will be working to promote your company, in most cases on social media.
Your employees are your best advocates out there, and I will tell you why.
First, they love your brand (I assume) because otherwise they wouldn’t be working with you. Second, people trust your employees more than they trust the company itself (it’s a fact). And lastly, your employees’ messages on social networks are not filtered as much as those that your company sends.
Nowadays, audiences relate the most to human interaction, not to brand interaction. Many people have stopped believing in brands, in the content they share, and in what they post.
Social media is probably the easiest and most personal way to reach out to your audience and engage them in conversations.
Even today, some companies still have that nonsense policy that doesn’t allow their employees to use Facebook, Twitter, or any other social network. And that’s a total waste for the company.
First, it’s a waste because it limits the employees’ freedom and, second, because the company loses a great opportunity.
I’m not saying that all your employees should be on social media and using it actively during work hours, but those who can influence your audience should, like your marketing, sales, customer service, and of course, social media departments.
That’s why companies need to move towards building a social business and using their employees to regain trust. Employees are also a very important part of the promotion of your business and of building influence.
Employee advocacy can help you build a stronger social media marketing strategy, which will not bring benefits for your company in the short term but will in the long term.
At the same time, your employees can reach a much broader audience on social media, which means more customers for you.
People tend to trust employees that don’t have executive positions. According to this fun infographic, a customer is more likely to buy a product if it’s recommended by someone they trust. At the same time, the engagement will be much higher when an employee shares something on social media.
Probably the most important fact is that the traffic generated by one of your employee advocates will convert twice as many customers than what your brand would.
Aside from getting you more customers, your employees’ activity can also attract people that are interested in working with you, and that will help you keep this advocacy culture going.
Do you believe in the long-term benefits of employee advocacy? Is this a better strategy than the traditional marketing methods? Let me know if you’ve ever used your employees’ influence to build the influence of your business.
Over the last few years, the way your audience interacts with your company’s presence on social media has changed. Whether it’s a good thing or not doesn’t really matter. What matters is that every company needs to adapt to these changes.
The limits of organic reach for your brand's profiles
You’ve probably noticed that people no longer favorite your posts on Twitter as much as they used to. Your Facebook followers don’t like your posts as often as they did in the past, not to mention making fewer comments. It’s like they don’t even exist anymore.
Organic reach on Facebook is dead for some time now. You have to pay a lot of money for your posts to reach your fans. And even if you invest some money in sponsored posts, the interaction is not the same as when the posts reached them organically.
Out of thousands of likes, a big company barely receives tens of likes nowadays, and zero comments.
Maybe soon, Facebook’s strategy to limit the organic reach of what companies post will be extended to other social networks as well. So what will you do then? You will use your employees in your social media marketing strategy.
How your employees can help you
Everyone is on social media nowadays. Well, at least the audience you want to reach out to is. But even if they are active, they stopped interacting with your company’s profile.
Your audience sees your posts but ignores them. Why does this happen? It happens because companies have lost their human side. People are more drawn to and they are more likely to share, comment, or like content that is shared by real people, not corporate profiles.
At the same time, posts that are shared by friend profiles are still seen by all of their friends. This is why it’s worth investing in your employees rather than paying money for some sponsored posts.
Employees are the newest distribution channel, and they’re much more trustworthy than anything you’ll ever find. That influence is authentic, and that’s why it’s so successful.
At the same time, your employees can help you reach more people than your brand’s profile can. And you don’t even have to involve all your employees here – just the ones that have strategic positions and are key factors in the growth of your company.
Think about it. An employee has hundreds of friends on social media; some may have even thousands. If a few of your employees share posts on social networks, the posts will reach and engage more people than your actual company profile would.
Also, your employees may have profiles on social networks you’re not even using. Thus, they are able to reach new channels, and new audiences as well.
Engaging employees makes them more productive and happier at the workplace, and they also feel more connected to the company. Why waste all of this?
Every human being is going to be more interested in hearing about a product from a friend, not from some company, whose goal is just to make money. Take advantage of this opportunity you have in your company – your employees – and turn them into your most valuable asset.
They are the solution to increasing your organic reach, thanks to their social media profiles.
Do you use your employees for brand advocacy?
Would you be interested in applying these methods?