The writer of this article, Mike Klein, has taken a different approach to employee advocacy.
Rather than write an article about employees sharing content, he draws the metaphor that a company is like Iceland. You need to read the article to understand.
Mike's background isn't sales and marketing but politics. What difference does this make? I think there is a different view. Politics is about people having a view or vision and then feeling so deeply about it they go and vote.
Sales and marketing is about giving somebody a vision and then them feeling so much about it that they buy something.
While the same, they are also very different.
The Problem With Employee Advocacy
In my previous company they implemented an employee advocacy tool. I received an email stating, please attach your social profiles to the tool and share the corporate content. That was it. That was the training.
Whenever I shared corporate content, I found I lost followers, so I disconnected myself from the tool.
"Why is the content on LinkedIn so boring?" is probably one of the questions I get asked the most.
Where employee advocacy is seen as a chance to push content, this is a problem. Put it another way, people are using it to "interrupt" me and "broadcast" ... which is the same as advertising, email marketing and cold calling. Wrong! Social Media isn't about "interruption" and broadcast". It's based on "permission" and "conversations", for many marketers, this is scary as they don't understand how the world has changed.
People want content that will educate them ..sorry but details about your company and its products is .... boring.
Employee Advocacy is Changing
The change that has taken place is that new generations are in the workplace, one that have grown up with social. Even if you take text messaging as social
Most people in their 40s and 50s understand texting, people in their 20 and 30s understand instant messaging.
What does this mean?
It means that people are used to interacting and sharing information, using short form text.
So as well as understanding "social media" we are used to sharing to our networks, we are used in having conversations with social and we are used to asking questions of our networks. Facebook is a good example of this. Many a grandmother and grandfather, while not saying they are experts on social are now quite capable at keeping up with the grandchildren on social media and talking to them through Facetime or Zoom.
Within and Outside the "Firewall"
The firewall is a technical boundary used in business, it comes from the IT department. It is a technical barrier, which keeps the "bad guys" away from your companies internal systems.
This is also a great metaphor for how we see communication. Internal and external to the business. There is certain communication, the Financial figures for example, that you want to maintain as internal. Either way, a company, internal or external is about communication and conversations.
The original idea of employee advocacy was to create content that can be shared externally. The problem with this is that it is bland, boring and talks about the company, and, nobody is interested.
Who's the most important person in the world?
The client is .... they don't want to hear about your company.
Content - Our Research Shows
We've been in business now for 4 years and have undertaken transformation with social across a significant number of companies and we have found out what content gets engagement and what doesn't.
Corporate content does not create the conversations you want externally. And if it did, you wouldn't need a salesforce.
What does "work", is employee (or advocate) created content.
Employee advocacy has changed from the constant push for corporate content to a culture of interplay. This is where employees, customer and advocates can share and create content, internally and externally to the firewall. They will also want to share it with each other.
This will be partly about a "tool" so platform in which you can do this. But it will be more about the culture and the dynamics you create.
But There is More - A Business Case Maybe?
In this interview with Danielle Guzman who is Global Head of Social Media for Mercer and we discuss "5 Things to Kick Start Your Employee Advocacy Program" and she shares the value they have gained from empowering their employees with social media.
Mercer are getting 3 to 4 times the attributed revenue than the brand generates. Can you believe that? If the brand is creating $10 million, then empowering your team on social will generate $40 million.
There could be a business case there, ny suggestion is that you use an outside company to help you. Hint, hint. ;)
The Word Has Changed However Much You Deny It
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently said
So what as a marketer and a sales leader are you going to do about it?
To quote my good friend Larry Levine
"has the window of relevancy closed with many of your customers and prospects?"
You can find me on social here
A great Icelandic example was an off-color conversation at a Reykjavik bar called the Klaustur, where a number of politicians left work early for a drinking session that ended up being recorded and shared by another bar customer. It was not simply that the conversation was seen as outrageous by many Icelanders - it was the speed at which it spread through society. More pertinently, it's because the single term "the Klaustur" has become shorthand for the conversation and its aftermath. Outside the boundary, "Klaustur" means nothing to billions. Inside, "Klaustur" means a deep, divisive controversy at the heart of an intense and close-knit society.