Cisco Ignites Social from the Inside Out Through Employee Advocacy

Cisco Ignites Social from the Inside Out Through Employee Advocacy

By Alex Montuschi

September 30, 2015

Employee Advocacy can take on a number of different shapes and forms depending on what your goals are as a company.

Cisco’s main objective was to inspire and encourage our employees to have a more active presence on social media, as we know how important their voices are in the market. We wanted to create a more engaged workforce, and empower them to share valuable content with their audience.

In the Beginning

We began our journey by listening first. This way we would have a good benchmark to compare to once our program was launched. We tracked how active our employees were on social (specifically on Twitter) as a starting point. We looked at employees across different departments, and gauged the volume of their social activity, especially as it related to the Cisco brand.

Another important aspect in the early stages involved social media training. We knew we needed to help employees become more socially-savvy and learn how to improve their social influence. Our team dedicated over 120 training hours to ensure employees would feel confident in their posts and engagements on social.

We launched our formal Employee Advocacy program with a team of senior executives in EMEA, many of which we knew were already socially active and would make ideal leaders for the program. This was a critical component, as we felt employees would be much more likely to participate if they saw the leadership team onboard themselves. We followed up by inviting several hundred employees within our marketing team to join. The initial feedback was overwhelmingly positive and we started to see results almost immediately.

Critical for #employeeadvocacy success, incorporate your execs to lead by example via @montuschi Click To Tweet

Give the People What they Want

Our content strategy was also critical. We focused on delivering content that we knew employees would likely enjoy sharing. We included brand oriented and 3rd party content in order to give advocates plenty of options to choose from. We found early on that the more visual the content was the more it was getting shared (e.g. videos, infographics, etc). There was also good interaction with research based content and items that centered around the “Internet of Things,” which is an important topic for us as a company.

I was pleasantly surprised how motivated Cisco employees were to participate and learn more. The gamified aspects of the program (i.e.; points and leaderboards) continue to be a big driver of activity, and employees have been vocal about wanting to continue their training to further enhance their social presence and profiles. The ability for our advocates to easily view the results their posts are generating has also been important, as it provides immediate feedback and recognition for their efforts.

Gamification has been key for @Cisco's #employeeadvocacy program, it's motivated employees to participate Click To Tweet

Measuring the Impact

The results we’re already seeing have been fantastic. The average number of tweets posted by employees has increased by 55%, from 0.9 a day to 1.4. In just 6 months we’ve seen social activities increase by over 140% overall.

Having the ability to easily activate employees on social for our live events has been a highlight. Never before have we been able to react in real time to broadcast information to our employees in a way that motivates them to share and participate in the conversations online.

In addition to driving engagement and increasing awareness for the company we’re now also exploring ways to expand our uses of the program for more demand generation activities. Given the level of trust and reach our employee advocates have with their networks we’re excited to give them the opportunity to drive more leads and conversions.

.@Cisco employees are 140% more active on #socialmedia within 1st 6m of their #employeeadvocacy program Click To Tweet

Employee Advocacy for Cisco is all about scale and engagement. By partnering with Dynamic Signal we’ve been able to achieve high levels of both, and look forward to continuing to expand our program to achieve even greater results in the future.

Post Author

Alex Montuschi
Alex Montuschi
Italian but international at heart. Digital Marketeer @Cisco. Passionate about #marketing in a #digital world, inspiration seeker and innovation lover.