A couple weeks ago we had the great pleasure of co-presenting a webinar with Deloitte about their employee advocacy program. Titled 3 Brilliant Ways Deloitte Took Employee Advocacy to the Next Level, this webinar featured Turner Roach and Aida Ahmed from Deloitte discussing how they have continued to scale and improve their program over the last several years.
If you’ve joined our previous webinars you’ve heard many examples of how enterprise companies have launched employee advocacy programs with Dynamic Signal. For this one however, instead of focusing on launching and establishing a new employee advocacy program, we chose to focus on growth and development; think “employee advocacy 2.0.” It has been five years since Deloitte launched their program, and we asked Turner and Aida to share their best practices for growth.
This was by far our most popular webinar yet, and despite an extended Q&A session, we were unable to answer all of your questions at the time. Hence, we have invited Turner and Aida to come back again and do a deeper dive into some of the more popular topics.
Question #1: What do you find employees usually get out of your Ambassador Program?
Turner Roach: We have tried to position the program as an opportunity for employees to expand their personal brand. What do you, as a professional, want to be known for in the marketplace? In what areas do you want to be seen as a thought leader? Once you have identified those things, it’s very easy to leverage an employee advocacy program like ours to share polished, thought-provoking content on your personal network, which will help establish your credibility in a particular area.
Beyond that, we also talk about the benefits of relationship-building through social media. This is a program that helps people really connect with their followers and grow their network. The more they share, the more they talk about a specific area of expertise, the more people there are that will be interested in hearing what they have to say.
At the end of the day, it’s a simple, easy way to keep their professional social channels active. One of the things that we talk about when it comes to social media training is that you need to have a consistent presence on social media so there’s a way to give them content on a regular cadence that they can post to their channels, and have an always-on presence.
We’ve also heard from our ambassadors that one of the indirect benefits of our employee advocacy program is that it helps them stay current on industry and company news. They say that they’re more connected when they’re on a master program and understand more of what Deloitte has to offer, even if it’s outside of their day-to-day job. Frequently, we’ll get replies from people saying, “I didn’t know we did this,” or, “That’s so interesting that we’re involved in this area.” It really helps them connect with the heart of the company itself.
Aida Ahmed: The Ambassador Program is truly an introduction to social media for many employees at Deloitte. I think it’s a learning opportunity for them to understand the value of social media in general, and how it can help their careers, both at Deloitte and beyond.
Question #2: Have you compared what resonates with your ambassadors (them sharing) vs what is resonating externally. Do these always align? If not how do you address it? What is the balance?
Turner Roach: We have! We work with our analytics and metrics team on a monthly basis; they help us identify how much traffic is being driven by our branded social channels vs our employee advocacy program and where that traffic is going. As you may expect, these two audiences do not always align. A great example is with press releases. While our ambassadors are eager to share our press releases, their audience is not as keen. We’ve seen much higher bounce rates from clicks originating from our program compared to the people who are coming in from our branded marketing channels. It’s not necessarily a good or bad thing so much as something to be aware of.
Question #3: What would be your advice to other companies trying to engage upper management with an employee advocacy program?
Turner Roach: I would advise them to start with telling employee stories. It’s a lot easier for someone–even at the management level–to relate to a story rather than us saying, “Here’s what’s in it for you.” When people see somebody actually using our platform to build a relationship and land a client meeting–it’s very convincing. It’s kind of like, “Well, if this person can do it, I can do it. I’m just as busy as they are. I’ve got as many priorities as they do. If they’re making it work, I can make it work too.” Every chance we get, we try to root out these success stories and feature them as much as possible.
Another thing we’ve done is to take a more hands-on approach with managers. We often reach out to managers and ask to take a look at their social media profiles and help them understand what they could be doing differently and how they can improve those profiles. By having these conversations, managers began to organically understand the value of social media and employee branding. It helps that the Dynamic Signal platform delivers real, quantifiable metrics so they can see exactly how much of an impact their social media efforts are making. Of course, it’s hard to scale something like that, but for the highest level members of management, that high touch approach has really paid off for us.
Aida Ahmed: I would also add that there are different use cases. So, while we have a great success story where a user had the opportunity to win business through social media, there’s also the personal branding angle, which usually comes down to how many followers you have accumulated and how big of a social presence you have created. There are a variety of metrics we can track that help employees benefit from the program in different ways. Showing those numbers is always important.
Question #4: How do you use your branded channels to compliment your ambassador program?
Turner Roach: We try to focus our content strategy on higher priority items and/or content that has traditionally resonated well with our ambassadors. A lot of times, the high-priority pieces are naturally popular, and we do a lot of cross promotion between high-level campaigns, promoting them on both our branded channel as well as through the brand ambassador platform. I’d say maybe 15% of our content falls in the category where it works well for both the branded channels and the ambassadors.
Question #5: What has been the most effective way to train employees how to use the platform?
Turner Roach: The most effective training method we’ve seen is one-on-one conversations with someone, or when we are able to demo the product in front of them. In those cases, they are able to download the app onto their phone, and we can walk them through it almost immediately. Of course, that’s also the least feasible, as we can’t scale that. So instead of approaching each employee one-on-one, we’ve created training videos as an alternative to a live demo.
These videos are as close to a real walkthrough as we can get, so we broadcast the actual phone and app, not just screenshots. That way, employees can actually see us scroll through the app live, tap on different icons, and bring up the next screen. That has helped us sell the idea a little bit better than just having a PowerPoint slide with different screenshots.
We also try to be visible at internal events and speaking engagements. This past November, during Deloitte’s biannual partner, principal, and managing director meeting in Las Vegas, we set up a help desk so partners could come up to us if they had any questions about social media.
Aida Ahmed: It’s hard in the beginning for an employee to immediately visualize and understand what the Ambassador Program is and how it works. You can explain it, but until users actually see it, they struggle to understand it. Our video series helps people when we cannot go to them, because at such a large organization we don’t have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with everybody. But I think when you are first implementing an employee advocacy program, a top priority should be to get some face time with new users, or the core group of users that you’d want to be focused on using it.
Thanks again to Turner and Aida for an excellent webinar and for going the extra mile to answer even more questions for this blog. Please do yourself a favor and check out the full webinar, and we’ve embedded the slides below as well.