The article I have "passled" is from a software supplier of Employee Advocacy. We see a lot of software suppliers walk into businesses, do an amazing "pitch" and then gobble up the budget for the software platform. When it's not the software platform that's the most important thing. It's empowering the people to want to use it and to want to use it.
Employee advocacy is a bit like voting in an election. You need to be motivated to take the action to vote. You may care, but you may not vote. The job of the project is to motivate people to want to use it and empower the team to then use it.
Before we start, let's understand what employee advocacy is not.
Employee Advocacy Is Not ....
The way marketing worked in the past was ... you interrupt me and broadcast a message at me and I'm supposed to go "wow that's amazing, how do I buy one".
Problem is, it does not work like that anymore, in fact you may even have laughed or smiled when you read that.
But that is what advertising, cold calling and email is all about. Advertising from the 1930s, cold calling from the 1980s and email marketing from the 1990s, is all about interrupt and broadcast. In fact, most martech today is based around the same principles.
Employee advocacy is not about taking corporate content and blasting it out through employee social media profiles.
In fact, if that worked, you wouldn't need a salesforce.
If we carry on the election theme..
Yesterday I had a fascinating conversation with Mike Klein, he said that Employee Advocacy was like the Abraham Lincoln election plan.
Which was ....
Work out who your audience is
Work out who your allies are
Work out what it takes to get more allies
Make sure your allies are motivated not just to support you, but to go out and vote.
It's important to remember that your advocates are more than just your employees, they are x employees, prospects, customers and the network of these people.
Your job is to motivate and empower this broad spectrum of people to take action.
Employee Advocacy in the 2020s
In my previous company they implemented employee advocacy and training was an email telling me to connect my social profiles to the "tool" and start pumping out corporate content.
Things have changed so much. For starters, we are bombarded by 1,000 messages a day from companies, so they are plenty of corporate content. In fact there is a tsunami of content telling us how great the company is and how great the product is. Problem is, you are just another company and just another product. You are just one of those 1,000 messages.
I know you think your product is the best and "if only people understood this" but they won't as we don't care and have our own product to talk about.
Problem number one is that there is too much content and your not differentiated.
Your Only Unique Selling Point (USP)
Your only unique selling point today are your people. And actually people today, like sharing, creating and an interplay of sharing with each other.
The number one question I get asked is "why is marketing giving me this shit content to share?"
Employee advocacy is not about a platform or content, it's about empowering your people. In fact your employees, will want to do this. They are so used of using social media today, they will think it strange that a company is not doing this.
Content - The Research
Being as we do this day in day out, it has meant that we have been able to find out what works and what does not. Like a lot of things in life, it works on the basis of risk and reward.
If you post corporate content, there is little risk to the person posting it and there is little reward. Either there is no engagement (so what's the point?) or the engagement is all from the echo chamber of your business (so what's the point?).
Our you can post something about yourself, Eric Doyle, he's a partner of ours. He's posted about the fact that he has started riding his bike again. People see this as high risk. What happens if I annoy somebody? What happens if I make a fool of myself? But I have nothing to say. But high reward. At the time of writing Eric has 36 likes and 53 comments. That means with the average person having 500 connections on Linkedin that has reached 44,500 people. Think how long it would take you to build an email list of 44,500 people. We could assume that those 44,500 have 500 connections, so that connect could be seen by 22 million people.
Or you could get somebody to write the content for you. Which is less risk, but again the reward isn't as high as a piece of authentic content.
By the way, I can back this up with actual figures if you want to get on a call.
The conclusion of this is that actually, my audience is connected to me and they want content from me, not some content writer or your company.
There are three different type of people who will interact:-
1. Those that like you, they may well buy from you.
2. Those that don't like you, which is fine as you have qualified them out as they won't buy from you. You don't have to waste your time with them.
3. Those that have a "big mouth" they will take your content and re-share it.
Don't forget, in a network, not everybody is there to buy from you, some are to be your advocates and people who will provide referrals.
While I do know people who have posted on Linkedin and sold something, I know I guy who sold a Lamborghini on Linkedin, for example. Most of us are not posting and selling.
But what it does is create a conversation. It is conversations that sell stuff.
That is what your sales team need, conversations.
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.
Danielle also emphasises the need for training.
There could be a business case there, my 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
Indeed, ROI is so important that not only does it help get approval from executives but they can give you a speciality budget for this too. This is why it’s important to build your case, show the data, time saving capabilities, and implement that data into your own specific situation and information. Use these employee advocacy stats, crunch some numbers, use vendor case studies, talk to other people in your networks who are using employee advocacy, etc. Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Yeah, I wish!” when it comes to a specialty budget. Let’s be honest here, getting a speciality budget right off the bat is uncommon. Most executives are looking to be extremely effective with budgets, while driving the most ROI.