There are some people you meet in your travels who make you step back and think: Whoa, they’re amazing.
For me, Danielle Guzman is one.
The Global Head of Social Media and Distributed Content at Mercer, Danielle has this incredible ability to create things from scratch and show people what’s possible. She is remarkably adept when it comes to designing great content and then using it in exciting ways. (You can read about the Mercer social media campaigns she has orchestrated at the Davos World Economic Forum here.)
I’ve been lucky enough to present with Danielle at conferences a couple of times now. Most recently, we were on stage together at this year’s Summit by Dynamic Signal as we led a workshop titled, “Avoiding Random Acts of Content.” It was about creating what Danielle calls “courageous” content and finding boundary-pushing ways to magnify the impact.
Danielle would likely consider herself as a life-long learner. But she’s also something else. Danielle is a life-long teacher who loves to share what she knows and build communities.
In 2018, she was selected as Communicator of the Year at The ECE Awards by Dynamic Signal. This year, Danielle was accepting more hardware as Mercer was honored as the Best Medium Employee Communication and Engagement Program.
My colleague Mark Emmons sat down with her for an on-camera interview at Summit. We couldn’t get all of the wonderful things she said into the final video. So, here’s a Q&A featuring more of her thoughts on Employee Advocacy, building personal brands, and why communication matters in organizations.
What does Employee Advocacy look like at Mercer?
“We create communities of our internal advocates, and then we provide content to each of them that they’re interested in and interests their networks – yet also benefits Mercer.”
Why is it essential that employees can talk about the company on social media?
“People like to talk with people. They don’t want to hear from brands. At Mercer, we empower our employees to tell our brand stories in their own voices to their own communities. The cumulative number of people that employees are reaching on their social media channels will always exceed what the brand can reach. More importantly, they have real relationships with those people and can engage them as individuals. So, when they tell our stories, we’re getting to the right people, at the right time, in a very authentic and human way.”
You’ve only been on social media a few years yourself?
“I was a latecomer. But I absolutely believe in investing in my personal brand and building community and relationships. I have approximately 45,000 followers on Twitter. I actually don’t count them at this point because the number itself isn’t important. It’s truly more about the conversations that you’re having and if those individuals are engaging with the content, and you’re able to drive value and give back to that community.”
You believe quality matters more than quantity?
“Some of my colleagues do get caught up in the fact that they may only have 300 followers. But those are 300 people who engage with you every day and actually look to the content that you’re sharing, and they want to hear from you. I always like to say that everyone influences someone. At Mercer, we encourage you to share what’s relevant to you and your community, and how you can connect that to the work you’re doing at Mercer. That whole ecosystem coming together is what truly makes you an influencer on social media.”
What is Dynamic Signal’s role?
“The platform enables us to create an ecosystem where we can serve up brand content in a way that colleagues can take it, leverage it, and then make it their own. Organizations can manage their brand voice. They can get out the key messages yet at the same time balance that eloquently by empowering their employees with suggested text and enabling them to make it their own without losing the core message. And for content that is compliance regulated, or for internal distribution only, the platform supports that as well. That’s pretty special because organizations want to feel that sense of control, and employees want to feel empowered.”
How do you know employee voices have an impact?
“The Dynamic Signal platform has an amazing amount of data and analytics that we dig into extensively. We look at what our colleagues are sharing. How that content is being consumed externally. Who’s clicking on that content and having conversations around it. That helps us to understand what their influence is, and then we give them back that information to help them become better. On a monthly basis, quarterly basis, annual basis, we let our communities and our marketing leaders know how our advocates are performing. That way, everyone knows the incredible work that they’re contributing to the organization, and how they’re a very big part of our marketing mix.”
Why is communication more important than ever for companies?
“What it means to work has been completely transformed. Organizations need to attract, retain, inspire, and engage their people. Communication is fundamental to all of that. It actually becomes probably one of the most strategic elements for an organization. Whether you’re in internal communications, executive communications, PR, or social media, what’s most critical for employees and individuals outside the organization is that you have an integrated narrative. The way you might articulate something internally will be different than the way you articulate it externally. But the key messages and the overall points that you’re trying to get across are consistent.”
And the companies that struggle with communication?
“I think when we look forward, those organizations that are able to bring together a strategic communications program are the ones that are going to be leading in the future of work. At the end of the day, it’s all about our people.”