The reality is nobody trusts your brand – or any brand.
That’s just the world we live in today. But people are far more likely to believe people just like us. The same exact message coming from an employee carries more weight than it does when it’s delivered by a company. It’s more credible, more authentic, more real.
That’s the theme to the new guide, “Getting Real: Employee Advocacy in a Time of Eroding Trust.” It explores how advocacy, as part of an Employee Communications Applications strategy, is critically important for building and maintaining trust in your organization.
It’s more than just theory. Dynamic Signal is the industry leader in internal communication and Employee Advocacy with 350 customers, including more than 30 percent of the Fortune 100, and empowering 1.7 million employees globally.
Hojeong Kim, Senior Director of Insights & Analytics, combed through the treasure trove of data on the platform searching for best practices and insights to get the most out of a program. Here are some Employee Advocacy recommendations from Kim and Becky Graebe, Senior Director, Communication Expert.
Timing is Everything
Insight: Platform activity depends on the time of the year. The months when engagement is highest: January, September, and October. (And October is Employee Engagement month.) It’s lowest during the summer months of July and August, and the holiday season.
Recommendation: Expect seasonal ebbs and flows to your program. Have a plan in place to drum up interest during slow times and take advantage of the months when employees are most engaged by providing compelling content to share.
Becky Graebe’s Takeaway: “Platform activity can fluctuate throughout the year. You also have to dig into what are the most important times for your business. If I’m a retailer, Black Friday and the holiday season is important for me. If I’m at a tax preparation company, tax season is big. A key time for technology companies is around their user conferences or big innovation events. The challenge is to figure out your own seasonality.”
Off-hours, More Clicks-Per-Shares
Insight: While fewer people typically are active online at night and on the weekend, the click-per-share is higher.
Recommendation: Employees shouldn’t be afraid to share content at off-peak hours.
Hojeong Kim’s Takeaway: “This is a bit of a mixed message. There are more clicks-per-share because there is less competition from other content during these times. But there are also less people online to see the content. So, your potential audience is smaller. But my message is that you don’t have to wait until Monday morning to post something to your employees.”
Video or No Video?
Insight: Video generates about the same frequency of sharing as text.
Recommendation: Don’t be overly concerned about the type of content you want employees to share.
Becky Graebe’s Takeaway: “Video can be polarizing. People either love it or they hate it. Personally, I like video. But I also know that with text, you can just skim it quickly. You can’t skim video. So, there are pluses and minuses. You may want to experiment with some A/B testing. I suggest having your leader appear on video and see if there’s more engagement.”
Mobile + Desktop = Success
Insight: Employees who use both desktop computers and mobile devices have more shares than employees who use just one. Also, heavy sharers tend to use both more than light sharers.
Recommendation: Encourage employees to access their Employee Advocacy platform from both types of devices.
Hojeong Kim’s Takeaway: “This makes sense because maybe you check your mobile device when you first get up in the morning or later at night, but you’re on your desktop during the workday in the office. We especially see that the heavy sharers are using both because they always have access to one or the other.”
High Frequency of Posts Attract Employees
Insight: Employees are more active on the Employee Advocacy platform (in terms of frequency of visits) when there are between 60 and 100 posts of content per month and more than half come from community managers and employees.
Recommendation: Post between three and five pieces of new, quality content per workday to increase the number of high-active employee users.
Becky Graebe’s Takeaway: “You will need a volume of content to support the various categories that you have in your organization. I don’t think most teams will be able to create three to five pieces of content each day. So, a feature like Dynamic Signal’s SmartContent can help aggregate relevant, third-party content to supplement original posts.”
More Internal Posts Increase Sharing
Insight: A higher percentage of internal posts created by community managers and employees results in an increased percentage in shares of content.
Recommendation: While it’s an ambitious goal for smaller teams, generate two to three internal posts and supplement with one to two pieces of third-party content per workday if possible.
Hojeong Kim’s Takeaway: “It’s very important to have a good mix of posts available every workday from both community managers and employees to increase shares.”
The Sweet Spot
Insight: Pushing two to four pieces of content directly to employees – broadcasts – each day is the “sweet spot” for engagement. It increases platform visits by more than 50 percent and engagement by up to 104 percent. Also, sending broadcasts five days a week increases platform visits by 260 percent.
Recommendation: Send three broadcasts of strong, quality content to every employee each workday to increase engagement.
Becky Graebe’s Takeaway: “This is very enlightening to me. I would think this would be too much because of the fear that employees would tune you out. On the other hand, I get more alerts each day from my local news outlet. The challenge for communicators is making sure that when you’re reaching out to employees via broadcasts, there’s real news and information worthy of an alert. It had better be something that they need to know.”
Advantages of Going Big
Insight: The larger the size of the community (based on registered users), the more broadcasts that are sent and the greater the engagement.
Recommendation: Roll out an Employee Advocacy program to the entire company as quickly as possible rather than carving it out only for a portion of employees.
Becky Graebe’s Takeaway: “Too often people let fear hold them back. Digital transformation is here. We’re not going back to the old ways. The sooner you get there, the better. You lose momentum if an executive stands up and talks about the investment they’re making in employees, then adds, ‘But most of you won’t get this until next year.’ You get the most benefit when you roll it out big in a shorter period of time.”
Meet Employees Where They Are
Insight: Customers with employees who are largely deskless workers have the highest use of the platform on mobile devices. Meanwhile, customers with workforces made up mostly of knowledge workers see less use on mobile devices and more on desktops.
Recommendation: You will see greater activity and adoption if you provide your platform to employees in the way they prefer as well as in the channels where they interact most, such as SharePoint and Slack.
Becky Graebe’s Takeaway: “It’s really pretty simple. Meet people where they are. You get the best response when you make it convenient for employees.”
Becky Graebe: “The reality is you don’t know what you don’t know. We all have hunches. But having data to support your program can make all the difference. Data should inform the decisions we make to give us a better chance for success.”
Hojeong Kim: “An important metric to measure is if people are coming to the platform on a regular basis. You should focus on the frequency of visits, not the engagement once employees are there. It’s more important that they keep coming back because it shows that they are consistently finding content that is meaningful and useful. Once people are coming at a regular frequency, then you should focus on engagement.”
To learn more about the impact of mobilizing your workforce into a powerful arm of social media advocates, download our free guide, “Getting Real: Employee Advocacy in a Time of Eroding Trust.” Read more about Employee Communications Applications and activating your workforce here.