If you have great content and only rely on your corporate social channel to get it out…you’re missing a trick.
I moderated a panel yesterday at Salesforce HQ as part of Brand Innovators Content Marketing. Our panel was “Get a Digital Marketing Quick Win with Employee Advocacy.” Here’s a recap of the great insights from the panelists who definitely know a thing or two about this topic.
- Tiffany Hsu – Community Manager, Salesforce
- Marius Ciortea – VP Marketing, Contract Live (former Oracle Employee Advocacy lead)
- Eric Mann – VP Product Marketing, Castlight Health
What’s the role of social media in your digital transformation?
Tiffany: Social media is really important for us at Salesforce. We need to be where our customers are. We strive to build a community that trusts us and values what we do. We’re always looking for innovative ways to engage our community and share our amazing content.
Eric: Castlight went public about a year ago and has grown very quickly. We have a huge emphasis on driving sales and are building up our digital marketing team and infrastructure. The first step is engaging in social selling, which is really employee advocacy.
Marius: In my previous role, the focus was on a social selling strategy. The social focus 5 years ago was solely on the corporate social channel but engagement had been steadily declining. We wanted to continue to be social and digital but drive higher engagement and sales. Employee Advocacy fulfilled that need.
[bctt tweet=”We wanted to continue to be social and digital but drive higher engagement and sales. via @Radu43 #EmployeeAdvocacy”]
What was your “ah-ha” moment with Employee Advocacy?
Marius: I was at an event and saw just how much employees were sharing and engaging on social. We realized that employees were already on social and wanted to share. The real ah-ha is that the employees’ social activity drove more engagement than the corporate channel. Why don’t we help them share the right content?
Tiffany: We started with employees sharing on social for Dreamforce in 2013. It was so successful that we realized this isn’t something we just do at events; we need to do this all year around. Our employees are already our brand ambassadors, so why not give them a way to do that.
Eric: In 2005-2010 in the early days of social, I saw that employees were sharing the company newsletter content with their networks. We realized that the list of people signing up for our newsletter grew when employees sent it. Our epiphany was to include employees in our social marketing efforts.
[bctt tweet=”We realized that the list of people signing up for our newsletter grew when employees sent it. via @ericmannsf”]
What’s the business impact of Employee Advocacy?
Marius: We knew the industry stats and had the same goal to increase sales quota by 15%. We had a younger sales force who were socially savvy in their personal lives, so we started there with an expectation to rollout to all sales.
Tiffany: Our social ambassador program has been really key in amplifying important news or announcements, and for our content. Our goals are about increasing social reach, engagement, and revenue.
Eric: It’s about getting sales in the door with customers. We want sales to engage in more credible conversations with customers and prospects on social. My team generates content for sales and we want to personalize different content to different audiences. We want our employees to be more knowledgeable and look like experts.
What have your challenges been?
Eric: Trying to do this manually is the challenge. I’m currently running my advocacy program on a huge Google doc but it’s not scalable. It’s hard to manage the content and send messages to different teams on a regular basis. That’s where a platform like Dynamic Signal helps.
[bctt tweet=”It’s hard to manage #content & send msgs to different teams regularly. That’s where @Dynamic_Signal helps”]
Tiffany: Although we’ve scaled to thousands of employees globally with Dynamic Signal, scale is still the challenge. How do we get the right content to the right employee? A sales person in Germany doesn’t want to receive and share the same content as me. We want to make sure each member of our program is getting a relevant experience, as we continue to grow.
Marius: Compliance and legal can be a big hurdle if you’re at a large enterprise. My advice is not to start there. Start with employees that want to be involved and that are more socially active already.
What advice do you have for other companies looking at starting Employee Advocacy?
Eric: Just do it! Don’t make perfect the enemy of good. Don’t over architect it. At three companies, I’ve known that it makes sense so you just need to figure out how to make it work for your company. Have a mindset of sharing news and content with employees first, then with customers and partners.
Tiffany: Really understand your employees and the content they want to share. Your employees are most likely talking about your company on social already, so it’s about enabling them with safe, approved content and making it easy for them to share. Training is key to enablement as people have different skills and social experience.
Marius: It’s all about the employee. Think about the mindset for employees that are advocates, they already feel like they work WITH the company, not FOR the company. Learn what your employees want and give it to them. This is not a program you require employees to participate in. Listen and manage your program as you would any community audience.