We have many clients that have purchased an employee advocacy tool and we always get asked

"should we post natively or through a third party application?"

Do algorithms prioritise content that is posted natively vs through a 3rd party app?

It all depends on which social network you are on, Instagram for example does not like 3rd parties posts, whereas there is little evidence that Twitter promotes scheduled posts over native posts.

Research for LinkedIn does not show that there is any difference between third party apps or native posts.  

I would add a number of caveats

A. Dual posting, that is posting to many different social networks at the same time often can look spammy.  Social networks now are "different" and a Linkedin post, for example, is very different in structure and context to a twitter post.

B. I always post my LinkedIn posts natively, this is partly do to the historic nature of the platform and the fact it often finds images a struggle.

C. Sharing your own content, written by yourself, will always do better than sharing articles.  Let's not forget that there are thousands of readers of the NY Times, The Economist, etc and your post can soon get lost in the "noise" of everybody else who posted the same article.

D. Posting where it's clear you have used automation will make you look lazy and unauthentic. 

E.  You should take research from suppliers with a pinch of salt because:

i) An employee advocacy tool publishing research that says “you are going to be more successful if you don’t use the employee advocacy tool than if you do” is unlikely to see the light of day, and 

ii) If I were LinkedIn (or any other network) I would not want people to remotely post their content and never visit the platform - I would want them to come to the platform to post and be active so that I could advertise to them (Linkedin make money from advertising and not you posting) whilst they were there.

F. Beware of the article that concludes that just because one social network does all social networks are the same. As research for this article I read some research that concluded that because Facebook does A, then we can conclude all social networks are the same.  Buyer beware!

What is the DLA Ignite view?

We have seen many a piece of research, where employee advocacy tools will justify their use.

Of course they will.

Often, it's not actually research, it's an opinion, disguised as research. 

We recently were sent a document from an employee advocacy tool, where they used two posts to justify their opinion.  Research needs to be more than a sample of two!

Research undertaken by Telstra, here, concludes that people are on social to be social and not there to read automated posts. 

We see many companies that ask employees to post "general posts", posts like this go nowhere, they get no engagement. 

If you don't use hashtags at the end of your posts on LinkedIn the post is only used to the top 10% of people who you interact with. 

The best posts come from native posts!

In fact, our research has shown that in fact all of the best posts from the DLA ignite network have come from native posts. Obviously, this is a difficult thing to prove/disprove as if you post duplicate content it is penalised and posting different content isn’t a direct comparison as some posts are simply “better” than others.

The last word

That last point is the key one. Remember when Mark Zuckerberg was up in front of the committee and when challenged (video here) “how do you offer this service for nothing to so many people - how does your business work” he simply replied “we sell advertising”…he can only do that when people are not the network.

It's worth saying that we not saying that tools for posting don’t have a place, because scheduling content to fill-in the gaps when you can’t post because of meetings/travel etc is infinitely better than not posting, but our advice is usually “post natively wherever possible” and if it’s an important piece of content always post it direct in the platform.

So who's social selling?

In case you missed it, the Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch have banned cold calling and have moved all their people to social selling. This isn't some trendy tech company that might have decided to do this on a whim, this is a very conservative financial services company that has made a decision based on data.

But surely cold calling has a better ROI than social selling?  Not according to Merrill Lynch.

"They will also be encouraged to contact prospects over LinkedIn, which has a higher hit rate than cold calling"

The CRO (chief revenue officer), Richard Eltham of Namos Solutions, of one of clients posted a comment on LinkedIn about social selling. See here.

“Social selling is not an option now it is the way of the world and you either learn and execute it or fear getting left behind” 

Kevin Murray who is the Head of Sales at MacArtney Underwater Technology recently posted about his success with social selling here and wrote an article about the transformation that has happened in sales here.

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