[Episode Forty-One of ‘The Employee Advocacy and Influence Podcast] 🎧
In this episode, Bradley and Lewis highlight quick wins that can help elevate your employee advocacy platform.
They highlight the wins that may seem obvious, but that a lot of program leaders overlook. They discuss how to implement these wins and the immediate difference it will make to your 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.
Welcome to the new and improved version of The Employee Advocacy and Influence Podcast. In this new format, CEO Bradley Keenan is joined by DSMN8’s very own Lewis Gray (Senior Marketing Manager) as a co-host.
BK: Welcome to The Employee Advocacy and Influence Podcast. My name is Bradley Keenan. I’m the founder and CEO of the employee advocacy platform DSMN8, and with me, I have Lewis Gray, who is our senior marketing manager. And for those of you watching on video, who may or may have not have watched the last episode of the podcast, Lewis has unbuttoned his shirt since the last episode to give the illusion that more than five minutes has passed since recording the last message. So if you’re confused and you thought to yourself, who’s this casual guy? on the podcast because last week there was this smart guy. It’s just Lewis in the same clothes with his shirt unbuttoned a little bit.
LG: Remind me to never talk about things like this before we hit record.
BK: I think we did it before. We recorded like four episodes in one go, and I basically was layered up. So I had like a shirt and overcoat, maybe like a gilet or like a body warmer. I think it was in the winter. And then, in every episode, I just took off one item of clothing. That had we have recorded one more episode, I would have had to have done it shirtless, which I think would have constituted some kind of harassment at work, given that Lewis and I are coworkers, so we just recorded four episodes, but today is two. and this is the second episode we’ve recorded today. So we’re fully warmed up ready to go.
LG: Yeah, I don’t know why I want to keep the illusion alive, as if people are going to think it’s a, I don’t know. We.
BK: I don’t think anyone’s going to watch the podcast. Hang on a minute.
BK: Did they Just record two episodes, and they’ve listened again? So I think we’re all right. I think we’re safe.
LG: Yeah, we’re all good. Cool. All right. Well, let’s get into what we’re going to be talking about today. So, we’re going to be talking about three quick wins for employee advocacy, which is kind of ironic. Cause if you’ve listened to the podcast before if you subscribe, you’ll know that we actually put out an episode recently on why quick wins can be detrimental for employee advocacy success. So, we’re talking about something very different today. So, I’d encourage you to listen to that episode for more context today. We’re just going to be talking about things that seem glaringly obvious when you say them but a lot of program leaders overlook, but they can almost immediately make a huge change to your employee advocacy program. So Brad’s brought three to the conversation. I’ve brought about six because I wasn’t sure if I was gonna say the same one as Brad, but Brad, I know if you’ve got three, you’ve probably got like nine banks in your head any way that you’ll be able to rattle through.
BK: Well, actually, Lewis, I’ve got 101 banked in a book called Employee Advocacy 101 Cheat Codes. So yeah.
LG: Oh, you are very welcome. That was a perfect tee-up.
BK: Yeah, I’ve done the homework.
LG: Well, do you know what? I’ll throw that in as well before we get started. If anybody wants to request a free copy of Brad’s book, we’ll pull up a QR code on the screen now. And if you’re listening, we’ll drop a link in the show notes so you can still get a copy of that but shameless self-promotion out of the way. Let’s get into it.
BK: Okay. So I think I’m going to start with this one, and it’s one that I’ve mentioned many times on the podcast before, but it’s so valid. I have no problem mentioning it again because it is my number one pet peeve when it comes to people who run employee advocacy programs. And that is, the easiest win you can get is to say thank you. It’s so simple. And I would honestly say more than half of employee advocacy program leaders don’t do it at all. If so, don’t do it at all. If not, doing it frequently. So. I use the example of saying when you hold a door open for somebody, and they walk through, and they don’t say thank you, they don’t have to say thank you to you, but it does annoy you if you’ve gone out of your way to either hold a door open for someone or do anything. So, asking somebody to join an employee advocacy program is typically a job that’s above and beyond their normal call of duty. So, to not say thank you seems just. It seems destructive to the outcome that you want, which is them to frequently do something. So whether you’re a toddler or, you know, this person in their midlife crisis like I am, you appreciate gratitude, and somebody saying thank you does make a difference. So by doing it, more people are going to do the thing that you want them to do more frequently. In this case, it’s sharing content. And there’s a number of ways you can do that. So simple way, saying thank you when you see them. But obviously, hybrid working doesn’t necessarily make that possible. Updates in company meetings, talking about the successes of the program, and calling out key individuals. And that doesn’t need to be the person that’s the highest achiever in the program. It can simply be to call somebody out who’s just joined the program shared their first piece of content. And then the other way that you can do it, again, if you use a platform, most platforms, DSMN8 would have this, I think everybody else would, is the ability to add some kind of pinned post in your program to the top of the feed. So we always tell people to put a post at the top of the feed that welcomes new joiners, saying, hey, this is, you know, DSMN8 or whatever you call your version of the program. Welcome, we really appreciate you being here. Here’s how you use it, and thank you. And then you can update that regularly saying, you know, last month we achieved this and kind of keep the buzz going. So simple takes, you know, literally a couple of minutes a month and makes a huge difference on the outcome.
LG: Yeah, that’s such a nice one. We spoke about this in a, do you know what I want to say in a previous episode, but obviously, listeners know now that this was about an hour ago, you and I were talking about this, but we, I think it was the, the Wi-Fi range extender, extender analogy that you use. Don’t treat your employees like a Wi-Fi range extender. Call it a talking billboard, whatever. You want to just show that bit of appreciation to just be like, you’re doing something, which is, Don’t get me wrong, there’s huge benefits in it for the employee, but ultimately, you start a program because it benefits the company. Just say thank you show appreciation for what they’re doing. I think another nice way of doing it. And we’ve seen a number of our clients doing this to tremendous success, just because they always talk about it and they start conversations with their colleagues off the back of it. But just when you see your advocate’s posts in your feed, just engage with it. Just, you know, drop them a like, maybe a comment, just so that they know. That you see what they’re doing, and it’s kind of saying thank you without saying it if that makes sense. It’s just like, oh, I like, you know, here’s a like, here’s a comment, it makes them feel good. But then also you’re just saying, I see you, I appreciate it.
BK: Yeah, I think it sets the tone for the program. I think if you, if you ask somebody to do something, if you, yeah, if you ask someone to do something and they do it, and you don’t recognize it, then that can only have a tone of arrogance. Surely like that’s, that would be the tone you would achieve if, if I asked you to come around my house and help me move a washing machine and then never mentioned it afterward, you would be like that, that was kind of expectant of Brad to ask me and so it sets it to outside of not saying thank you is it makes it look like I just expect you to do what I want you to do. And that’s definitely not the tone for an advocacy program. So, just saying thank you just shows that there’s gratitude there. And that’s a positive thing.
LG: Yeah, that’s a really nice one. And again, very easy to overlook because you get so in the weeds of just running your program that you forget to acknowledge people. So big fan of that one. I was going to go toward one of my backup points because this is kind of similar to what you’ve just said, but I want to touch on something else. So the one that I’ve got is talk to your advocates. So, obviously, saying thank you is, is part of that. So this is what I mean. It’s kind of similar, but. The thing I wanted to hone in on is actually just getting, say, ad hoc feedback from your advocates and the people using your platform, just to get an understanding of, you know, how are they finding using it? It’s, you know, it could be the platform itself. You can ask them about the content that’s going into the platform. Are they happy with what they’re being asked to share or what they’re being given to share if you’re not asking them to share per se if you’re just giving them that content feed? But. Actually, finding out, you know, what do they want to see more of can significantly improve the results of your program. Because if all they’re seeing is very company-centric content, and they don’t want their networks to think they’re just constantly pushing the company message, then actually making the effort to speak with them and ask them these questions is really the only way that you’re going to hear these things from them If that makes sense.
BK: And actually, it’s linked to my point, right? Because the appreciation is the program leader giving appreciation to the advocate by making conversation with the advocates and speaking to them and saying, how’s it going? What do you like about it? What do you not like about it? You know, some people might say, I don’t like the, I don’t know the usability of the platform. I’m sure it wouldn’t be an issue with DSMN8, but they may say, I don’t like the content, or they may say, I love the content, and it’s helped me start conversations with Prospect X, or Here’s how it’s benefited me. So, actually, not that people wanna go fishing for compliments, but by having the conversations, you open up the opportunity for people to show gratitude to you for running the program and hearing ways that, on the front line, it has actually helped them in their daily role.
LG: Yeah, exactly that. And we promised as well that these would be easy to implement changes. The customer success team have actually recently produced a template, which is kind of why I wanted to include this one, but they recently produced a template on. It’s a feedback template. So five, I think it’s five or six questions that you can just send to your employees and get a bit of feedback on. So you don’t have to sit down and dwell too much on it. You can just email these questions over to them, but we’ll drop the link to that in the show notes but. Such an easy win. And for the reasons Brad’s just built, the reasons Brad’s just said, like obviously, it can significantly improve the results from your program. So kind of built on your one there, but I’ll hand back over to you, Brad, to go for your next one.
BK: So my next one is making. Onboarding part of, sorry, making advocacy onboarding part of your new starter experience. So, like your employee onboarding experience. So an, a new recruit is what they do in their first week is far more likely to stick for their career than kind of taking something to someone that may be in year five of in the company. So, by onboarding your new users and new employees. You have a steady stream of new recruits. So the challenge that people have is if you have employee churn of 10% a year, I don’t know what most people’s employee churn is, but if you’re not adding 10% of people, then you’re naturally going to decline in the total amount of advocates in your program. So, you need to have that steady stream of new people coming into the platform or the program. And they’re more likely to share content because they’re kind of invested in impressing. and advancing their career.
LG: 100%. Yeah, that’s something that just came to mind for me. As you were saying, I feel like when you when you’re onboarding new employees, there’s always that, especially with junior employees, that phase where they’re very eager to impress, and it’s great. Obviously, it’s, you know, it’s only, it’s only a positive, but they are going to be way more likely to sign up for your program now and to start using your platform than they will be, you know, once they’ve, I don’t know, once they’ve realized their workload and they get too involved in their own day today, then it’s like, okay, well, Do you want to be asking them to do something else three months into the role? Yes, obviously, there’s a million ways you can onboard users at that stage, but it’s never going to be easier than when they first join the company.
BK: Yeah. And actually, there’s another point which I just thought about, which is when somebody changes their role. So if we assume that, let’s say, let’s say I’m a, I’m trying to use an example. I haven’t used before. Let’s say I work in the legal and compliance team, and I’ve just moved from one company to another. and it’s part of an employer branding strategy with with attracted someone to join our company by getting that person to share early in their career. Their audience is at a heightened state of interest of what this person has done because they’ve just left their company. There’s a change happened. It’s, you know, they’ve had a notification linked in to say Bradley has just joined, you know, X company. So, actually, the audience is going to be in a heightened state of interest and curiosity about what this company is. So, from an employer branding perspective, getting a new recruit to talk about the company is probably more effective than somebody who’s been there for five years.
LG: Yeah. No, that’s a really nice one. I am. I won’t build on that one too much. I’ve got a couple of other points, but for the sake of keeping them slightly different, I will. Do you know what? What I want to go on to is because this is one that I find myself doing quite a lot recently. So tagging others when you’re curating your content, I think, is a very easy win when it comes to generating a little bit more reach off the back of your employee’s shirts. So.
BK: Especially, let me just add to this. I don’t tell you this because I don’t like to tell you too many positive things, but especially tagging the person that pays for it. So, obviously, for us, it’s different because we don’t have to buy our own employee advocacy program, but where we put content out, I’m always tagged in posts that employees are sharing, which I see because I get notified to say, Emily has tagged you in a post, right? So, I then are more likely to engage with Emily’s posts, which I do, which encourages her to do it more frequently. And it shows me that the advocacy program is working because I’m getting tag loads and stuff. So if you’re able to tag senior leaders in a, you know, in a sincere way, then that helps promote the program and the reason why you’re doing it.
LG: 100%. Yeah. So, I was going to touch on the fact there’s an internal and an external way of doing this. And I think you’ve just summarized the internal one really nicely. The external one is, you know, if you’re sharing a piece of third-party content, just a very easy win is just to tag the author. So, when you’re writing captions for your colleagues to share, just tag the author in those captions where possible. If it’s a company, tag the company because that person’s going to be notified to say that, you know, they’ve been tagged in a piece of content, the company will get notified the same, and them engaging with it obviously just then shows that to their audiences as well. So, it’s just a really nice way to get your content in front of more people. I think you definitely have to be selective with it. So, there’s a sweet spot. So if you know, for example, that piece of content is going to be shared by 500 people, and all of them are going to be tagging that person, then in that instance, tagging isn’t going to be the right thing to do because it kind of removes that authenticity. The person who’s being tagged is going to be like, what’s going on? I’ve got 500 people tagging me, and maybe some of the captions are the same. The post might look different, but some of the captions might be the same. So, there’s a sweet spot. I think keep it to, you know, I’ve done this in the past when curating content for senior leaders, but then if I’m just curating content for our marketing team, so our marketing team is four people. So. if I’m curating a piece of content for them to share where we’re tagging somebody, there’s no chance that like any of those posts are going to be the same. And the person who’s being tagged will see four individual posts, and it’s not overkill. So it’s difficult to, I can’t really say exactly what the sweet spot is. I think you just have to make a judgment call. Just think, okay, how many people are going to be sharing this piece of content, and how’s it going to look when that person sees it? But It’s a very easy win for increasing your reach. And for the reason Brad’s just mentioned, if it’s internal, then it doesn’t matter if it’s, you know, three to 500 people sharing it because that person’s going to know what’s going on. They’re going to know that you’re using this platform for the reasons that you’re using it, and they’ll just engage regardless. So, for external tagging, there’s a sweet spot. Don’t overdo it. But for internal go-wild, you know, you could, again, it’s just a very easy win to increase the reach of your posts.
BK: Okay. So I’ve got another one. and it’s kind of a two, maybe it’s a two-parter. So keep the internal, internal comms engaging and friendly and kind of informal. So you do a really good job at this. I got a notification the other day, and it was like a story. And I was, I didn’t know what it was, but it was a story about Craig, and it was saying, I can’t even remember what it was, but I thought, what is, what is this thing I’m getting? And then I realized it was you would just click-baiting me into doing a boost pose for the platform. But it was quite an elaborate story of Craig, which I appreciated. So, keeping the internal feeling and communication to the platform engaging, even to the point of giving your advocates their own identity as a community or as a group. So, we talk about giving the platform its own identity. So some people will call the platform, you know, whatever. It’ll be their company name and then something else. But a good example we have a customer, Nissan. And they call that, I think, I think their advocates are called insiders, or they have this concept inside their company called insiders. And those people are like a select group of advocates, not just through an employee advocacy program, but just in general, where they actually are set up to be ambassadors for the company. So you can link that name to your name of the company, but even just having a name, which is more. I don’t know, more emotion, something which is more of an emotional attachment outside of saying a member of our advocacy program, because that can feel a little bit dry and a little bit detached. So, finding some kind of cool name for everyone who feels like they’re a part of a group and a community of people who are advocating for the company.
LG: Yeah, that’s really nice. I think with the notification side of things as well, the side of things, sorry, is to just consider how many notifications people are gonna be getting. So whether that’s on their desktop or on their phone, you’re competing with a lot of other apps. So if you’re just constantly saying the same thing, so we do try to keep this podcast platform agnostic, and I’m sure most employee advocacy platforms will allow you to do this, but with DSMN8, like if you’re uploading a piece of content. When it’s then ready to share, and you have it go live within the platform, there’s going to be notifications that are fired to all of your advocates, who you’ve said can share it. But you can customize that message. So you can write whatever you want. It doesn’t have to be. There’s new content ready to share. So this is what Brad was talking about. I will put the most random things in there. I’ll try to make them. I just think the more random, the better cause people see this notification. They’re just like, what on earth is this? Like you had it the other day when I was writing an elaborate, totally fabricated story about one of our salespeople, Craig. But it was just a way to get people’s eyes on those notifications and to get them to open it. And then once they’ve opened it, they’ve done, you’ve done 90% of the job. They just have to click a button to share. You can share in seconds. Or if you’re asking them to boost a company post, they hit a button, and they’ve liked it. So just get creative with it and remember what the competition is.
BK: People talk a lot about internal engagement, but they forget to make it engaging.
LG: Yeah, literally, literally That. And it takes seconds as well. Sometimes, I just throw song lyrics in there. I think you messaged me once because I put Lionel Richie’s song in there. I just wrote the lyrics to Hello, but make it very obvious. And then you messaged me like halfway through the day to feel like that song has been stuck in my head all day. But that just told me that I knew you’d seen it. So, I’ve done my job of getting your attention. I know, obviously, you’ll probably, I mean, I don’t wanna speak for everybody, but arguably one of the busiest people in the company. If it’s working for you, then I know others are going to be seeing it and doing the same. The third one I wanted to go with. I’m kind of deliberating between two now, but I’ll go with this one because we haven’t covered it in an episode before, or at least recently. So, an easy win, I think, is to speak with team leaders to onboard new people. So something that I think you’ve spoken about in the past, Prad, is about choosing the right person to run your employee advocacy program. You don’t want them to be too junior because they don’t have that internal clout to onboard people, but then you don’t want them to be too senior because, generally speaking, they’re too busy, and they’ve, they’ve got other priorities. If you’ve got somebody with that internal cloud, so you’re the advocacy program manager, let’s say you want to reach out to heads of departments or team leaders to onboard their team. So you might have a sales leader who has a team of 50 salespeople underneath them rather than going directly to those salespeople yourself. So let’s say you work in marketing. Those salespeople might, even if you do a good job of communicating the benefits to them, might just see it as a marketing initiative and think why am I marketing reaching out to me and asking me to help with this? If you go straight to that sales leader and speak to them about it and convince them that it’s the right thing to do one, you’ll get them using the platform because, again, if you’ve done a good job of communicating it, then they should want to use it. But then it’s so much easier to onboard the rest of their team because it’s coming from the top. We always say that, right? Influence starts at the top, but going to the team leaders is going to make it much easier to get. It’s almost like catching that big fish and then. The rest will just come with it.
BK: I think it’s talking, and we’ve spoken about the ideal advocate profile. And I’m sure you’ll put the template in the show notes, but the speaking to why that person should care is the, is the difference in whether that works or not. So, just asking somebody who’s in a senior leadership position to support you in getting their team on board. They may see this as a hindrance. So, if I’ve got my team of engineers posting on social media, then they’re not writing code, so they’re less productive than they would be. If I didn’t do this, but then if you talk about the employee, sorry, talent acquisition benefits and helping us attract more talent and more engineering talent, then that’s going to have a positive impact. And from a sales perspective, we talk about share a voice. I think LinkedIn actually announced their score, or somebody had showed the scrolling time on LinkedIn desktop versus mobile. I can’t remember what it was, but let’s say it’s 30 seconds. What do we want that 30 seconds to be in the mind of our ideal buyer? You know, whoever that is, whether that’s a chief security officer, if I run a cyber security company, what do I want them to spend that 30 seconds doing? Do I want my salespeople to be in that 30 seconds or not in it? And I can’t, I can’t think of a sales leader who wouldn’t want their company to be in that 30 seconds. The way you’re going to do that is by getting more of your employees to share on social. So, it’s framing the conversation around those people’s key objectives.
LG: Yeah, yeah, 100%. I think that’s the perfect way to end that one, to be honest. That was my third. I don’t want to say it’s my final cause if we’ve got time. I do kind of want to touch on the last one, but Brad, we’ve had two of yours. What is your third and final one?
BK: I thought I’d done three.
LG: Oh, have I missed, have I,
BK: I can’t remember
LG: Have I been miscounting?
BK: But I haven’t got one to hand, so you can use the end of the podcast to talk about your one.
LG: Okay, sweet. So my third, my fourth and final, my bonus, easy win. We have spoken about this before, so this is why I was reluctant to use this one because we try not to repeat the same points, but this is your first time listening to this podcast. You’re looking for an easy win, utilize third-party content in your employee advocacy program. If you’re a small marketing team, I mean, regardless, you need to keep a constant flow of new content in the platform to keep your advocates engage. You want them to come back and find something new to share every time they log into the platform. You want to be sending those regular notifications to let them know there’s new content ready to share. But if you’re a smaller marketing team or if you just don’t have the content output, maybe you’re only putting out two to three pieces of content per week. Third-party content is an absolute lifesaver. So obviously, it’s not directing traffic to your website, which I think, frankly if you’re going to run a successful employee advocacy program, you have to let go of. Because it serves an amazing purpose regardless, but it’s a very easy win. So it’s easy to find. So like, for me, the way I do it is I set up Google alerts for keywords that are within our niche. So, I have Google alerts set up for employee advocacy employer branding. And then I get an email every day to say, this is the latest content that we could find. This is Google. It’s just an automated thing. On employee advocacy, employer branding. And if I read something and think, yeah, this is relevant for the seven, eight employees to share that will then be uploaded to the, to the platform. So, I haven’t had to produce or find an original piece of company content. It’s a third-party piece of content that is going to resonate with my colleagues’ audiences and it’s relevant for them to share. It takes you no time at all to create the content. It’s just a case of finding it, and it doesn’t have to be difficult to find it. You don’t have to search for it every day. Get those Google Alerts set up and get it firing to your inbox, save yourself the aggro, and utilize third-party content.
BK: So that’s a really good point. And it’s actually given me an idea. And I’m going to use this as an opportunity to tease the next episode of the podcast, which we haven’t planned yet. But I’ve got an idea for another type of content that we’ve never spoken about before. And that’s going to be our next episode of the podcast. Literally was thinking about it as you were talking. Real-time planning.
LG: Are we talking about this after the episode, or are you spilling the beans now?
BK: Well, we will talk about it after this episode, so I can explain to you what it is, but the next episode of this podcast will be us talking about the thing that I just thought about.
LG: Okay, Nice.
BK: So, If you listen to this podcast wondering what it is that Brad thought about, and this podcast is more than a week old, you can just listen to the next episode and find out. It might have been completely poo-pooed by Lewis, so it might not even happen, but we’ll find out.
LG: Well, if I’m wearing the same shirt but just worn a different way, you know what happened right after this episode.
BK: Just a white t-shirt, and then that shirt’s like over your shoulder tied in a knot.
BK: Like He’s a real preppy Lewis.
LG: Yeah, exactly. Okay. So, to summarize, there are so many quick wins and things that you can implement in seconds with employee advocacy programs. It’s very easy to get your head stuck in the weeds and to, I don’t want to say set it and forget it, but I think that’s often something that people think when they launch any new initiative, it’s like, okay, I’ve done the launch. It’s gone well. We’ll just continue to do what we’re doing. No, you need to be. Constantly nurturing this, treat it like a living, breathing thing, keep the content coming in, and thinking about new ways to engage your advocates and to keep things exciting to ensure its continued use and its continued success. So again, we’ll link to all of these wins in the comments below. So, if you want a quick summary, you can just reread those ones rather than going back through the whole episode. But it does tear us up nicely to something that we mentioned at the start of the episode, but to mention it again. If you want more easy wins and cheat codes like this, you can still get a free copy of Brad’s book, Employee Advocacy 101 Cheat Codes. I’ve got a copy of it just here. We’ll pull up the QR code on the screen again so that you can scan it if you’re watching. And again, just a reminder, if you’re listening, we’ll pop it in the show notes. So, it will be there wherever you get your podcast. So you can click the link and request a free copy. But yeah, that’s everything from my side, Brad. Is there anything else you wanted to add?
BK: No, I just to beg people to give positive reviews for the podcast, as usual. But that’s all the begging I’ll do today.
LG: Nice, perfect. And again, as always, if you wanna connect with myself or Bradley, the best place to do that is on LinkedIn. But thank you very much for listening, and we’ll catch you in two weeks time.
More Content for Employee Advocacy Optimization
Senior Marketing Manager and Employee Advocacy Program Manager at DSMN8. Lewis specialises in content strategy, growing brand visibility and generating inbound leads. His background in Sales lends itself well to demand generation in the B2B niche.