[Episode Twenty Seven of ‘The Employee Advocacy and Influence Podcast] 🎧👇
What Makes an Enterprise Employee Advocacy Program?
Organizations all over the world in every sector are driving strategic competitive advantage by scaling the impact of their employees’ voices… and now YOU can too! As we delve beyond the why and get straight to the how so that you can put employee-driven growth at the heart of your organization.
Hosted by employee advocacy practitioner and CEO of DSMN8, Bradley Keenan.
In this episode, find out what enterprises need to consider when choosing an employee advocacy platform. Plus, find out how to distribute your content in a smart way, and learn our tips for managing an enterprise employee advocacy program!
Welcome to this week’s episode of the Employee Advocacy and Influence podcast.
My name is Bradley Keenan. I’m the Founder and CEO of the Employee Advocacy Platform – DSMN8.
In today’s episode, we are going to be talking about what makes an enterprise Employee Advocacy platform and do you need one, essentially?
Platform or No Platform?
So there’s plenty of examples of where people have run Employee Advocacy programs and not used technology.
So if you have a very simple small team where you can distribute content to them and just ask them to share it, in many cases that is powerful enough and you don’t need technology to do it.
But there’s a few considerations that if you are thinking, do I go for a platform or do I just build a Google sheet?
Then here are just a few considerations that you may want to think about.
So the I guess let’s start with features. So there’s features of products and there are, I guess if you look on something like G2 Crowd, there’s probably 10 different Employee Advocacy platforms that are claiming to be Employee Advocacy platforms.
But when you remove the companies that just offer Employee Advocacy as a bolt-on, most of these would be social media management companies.
They have an Employee Advocacy module that they add to it. In pretty much all of those cases, as a standalone Employee Advocacy platform, it would be missing lots of features that anybody looking to run a serious Employee Advocacy program would would simply miss.
Jedi vs Stormtroopers
So let’s talk about those, let’s talk about the features that essentially make a serious Employee Advocacy platform and go from there.
So the first thing to think about, and I’ve mentioned this on the podcast before, is this idea that Employee Advocacy is just about smashing social media with the same message over and over again.
And sometimes as a marketer, you might think that that’s what you want.
You think, I’ve got a blog post, I’ve got a webinar, I’ve written some copy, and I want everyone to use this. And that’s great until everyone does use it and then you realize that you’ve just completely carpet bombed LinkedIn with the same message over and over again.
And we have something we use in our sales presentation, which my sales team, I don’t think they, I think they hate it actually, but they use it anyway and it’s something that I put in there, which is this idea that when we create Employee Advocates, we want to create people with unique identity.
So the way that we show that in our sales deck is we have a picture of a load of Lego Star Wars characters. So because I’m a big Star Wars fan and you can see these, this idea of having social media Jedi’s vs stormtroopers, and the stormtrooper is that idea that everyone says the exact same thing.
It looks identical and it just looks like there’s a lack of personality in that copy.
So one of the key features that would be required if you’re looking at an enterprise Employee Advocacy program, is the ability to have multiple variations of post copy.
When I say post copy, I mean the text that supports a post and images as well.
Because the image, that scene with the post, that’s an image in its own right or it’s a image that supports a weblink.
So the actual data inside the link where you have the preview image, having variations of that mean that when you see on social you don’t see the same image over and over again and the same copy, varying those will essentially solve that problem.
Distribute Content in a Smart Way
Then the next feature that is important is the ability to distribute content in a smart way, and that comes in 2 components.
So firstly, it’s distributing content to people where the content is relevant to their job, and that comes in either creating topics inside a platform or teams and groups.
So you may say that this webinar is for our Asia-Pacific region, and we only want people in our Asia-Pacific region to share it because it may look strange if they don’t.
So that’s the first piece, the distribution piece, and then there’s a time component to distributing in that content as well.
So when people share the content, we want them to share it at the right time.
And the right time based on their time zone is one consideration.
And then also so that people in the same team aren’t sharing the same content at the same time.
So if you and I both work in the sales team and we operate in a similar industry, then if I share a piece of content that the company’s created, ideally you and I share it slightly different time and even just spacing that out over a few hours makes a huge difference.
Anybody who’s scrolled through LinkedIn realizes how much content there is there.
So just by spreading that out means we’re not going to see the same things over and over again.
Why Auto-Scheduling is Essential for Enterprises
So as we think about other features that we want to bring into the platform, there’s the idea of having auto scheduling.
So auto scheduling means is that I can pick a topic and a group that I have content that resonates with me.
And I can create a workflow that means that I always share a piece of content on a Wednesday morning.
So the biggest barrier to any Employee Advocacy program is this idea that we need to create a habit and essentially get somebody to adopt a new piece of technology.
And of course, we want to do that.
But in many cases that’s unrealistic because as we explained in a previous podcast, the higher value that a potential advocate audience has to you as a marketer.
Actually the less likely they are to use a new piece of technology because either they are going to be C-level executives inside the company or they are going to be high performing salespeople.
As an example, all of which are time poor.
So relying on something that relies on them to go in every day and to build posts themselves may be a little bit unrealistic, and especially if you think about doing this yourself through something like a Google sheet, that friction, every time you add a step that goes into that process of them finding content and sharing it, you essentially reduce the probability that somebody is going to do it.
If they could do it in one step, they’re more likely to do it if it’s ten steps.
Even better, if there’s zero steps involved and they can essentially create automated workflows, that’s going to be much more attractive to your most valuable advocates.
And then I guess finally there’s things like single sign on. So giving people the ability to access an Employee Advocacy program with the same credentials that they use for their email is going to make it, I guess again, it’s going to remove a point of friction that allows somebody to come into the platform.
And our number one support ticket is, “I forgot my password. I don’t know how to reset it.” I think pretty much every single technology has the exact same thing.
So as you think about those things, the other consideration and I guess the final point to choosing a platform over doing something yourself is the volume of users that you want to bring into the program and the impact that has.
How To Manage an Enterprise Advocacy Program
So if I ran a small digital agency with 10 people, we all sat in the office together and I created a blog post once a week.
Sure, I can put that on Slack and say, “Hey guys, can you share it?”, and it doesn’t take very long for me to work out, did they share or not?
So I can just look if I’m talking about 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000 advocates, clearly that’s not going to be realistic.
So having that many users, both bringing them into the platform, but also removing them when they leave a company, require you to have single sign on so that you can manage that in essentially in real time, and allow your existing company processes to essentially be mirrored inside your Advocacy program.
And then the other part of that is managing that level of content and those users.
So creating teams and group structures that have owners inside your organization that run that team or group.
So if I use the homegrown solution, the Google sheet version of Employee Advocacy, I can invite everybody to it and there’s 20 people in it.
And it’s fine if I have content which is going to specific departments or geographies, that’s going to be very difficult to administer, and as a single admin user is going to be impossible.
So what I want the ability to do is invite multiple team leaders, multiple administrators, different content curators that have different roles and permissions, which essentially mean that I can create an ecosystem where Employee Advocacy essentially runs itself without me needing to be the bottleneck inside my entire organization.
So that’s just a few of the enterprise considerations.
There’s lots of other things as well, things like IT security, which is becoming more and more important. So if you used, even if you compared an enterprise version of Employee Advocacy versus, say, a tool that you could get that may be considerably cheaper than things like, are they ISO 27001 compliant?
Do they have all the security procedures that your company would need?
Because as an internal advocate for an Advocacy program, the last thing you want to do is bring in a supplier that doesn’t pass your security and ultimately mean all of those conversations were a waste of time.