[Episode Eleven of ‘The Employee Advocacy and Influence Podcast] 🎧👇
Empower your employees like NEVER before!
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.
66% of Podcasts NEVER do This!
When we started doing our podcast, we were obviously worried that we wouldn’t get traction from it, and we were also worried that we wouldn’t keep up the process of doing a podcast because it takes some planning and it’s certainly been a bit of a learning journey for me and to the point where I can talk on a podcast, but we find ourselves here now episode number 11 and the reason why the 11th episode is so important, is that statistically 60%, I think, its 66% of podcasts never go beyond 10 episodes.
So we feel like, now we’re in the top 36% of podcasts.
Somehow that’s true, but what we really want to do is start to gain more and more traction and produce these on a more regular basis and one of the changes for episode number 11, if you’re looking at this on YouTube or you’re watching a video is you’ll notice that my mic is actually the correct way up. That’s something that my brother was very keen to point out to me. So apologies for the first 10 episodes. of the podcast.
And I posted on LinkedIn about this the other day and essentially was just talking about the process of doing a podcast. Because I feel like once you get to Episode 10 or I think it was probably from episode seven, you feel a lot more comfortable talking and you don’t need to edit the podcast as much.
So naturally, it happens a little bit quicker and the process is easier to do. I was tempted to delete the first four episodes of the podcast because when I listen back now, it just sounds like I’m, I’m reading it, which I kind of was, but I was essentially rehearsing it from notes on my iPad and then doing section by section, which was a real pain in the backside to edit.
So what I posted on LinkedIn was that my goal was to get to the point, where I could just hit record, talk and do this all in one take, and that is the goal of this episode. So I’m really hoping I can get through it without needing to edit.
The Cheapest and Most Efficient Way...
What we’re going to talk about today is employee advocacy in a downturn, in a recession.
Obviously different markets are in different situations. But the general outlook globally is that lots of companies are cutting back on marketing spend.
And naturally, if you’re in the position where you’re starting to think about running an Employee Advocacy program. You may consider that to be something incremental to what you already do at the moment and you may even be tempted to think, actually, now’s the time. to put the brakes on and to maybe look at this again in a couple of years’ time.
So I’m going to try and not turn this into a sales pitch for Employee Advocacy and really just try and give, I guess, the experience I’ve had in the previous financial crisis. and just give you some things to think about as you start to look at what programs can either be enhanced or stopped.
So I remember back in 2008, I was actually in New York when Lehman Brothers went under and how quickly that escalated to the point that every single deal that we had in our pipeline and this was in a separate business I was involved in back in 2008 that every client that we were speaking to even people who were really far into the sales process, Sales that were almost ready to sign, essentially everything froze because nobody knew what was happening and most people took an approach to the budgeting and just said “We can’t do anything” and what then happened was actually in 2008 I think it lasted probably about 10 months until marketing teams then realised, well if I don’t if I’m not doing activity, then maybe me as a cost centre to the business is also not needed. Because, if you’re running a marketing team that doesn’t do any marketing, then, you know, why have the people in the marketing team?
So what people started to do as they realised that actually what they needed to do is trim the fat and stop doing things that clearly don’t work and haven’t worked for years, but just became what most people would refer to as hygiene and just, you know, do we spend a certain amount on Google ads or we sponsor this event every year. So we’re going to continue to do it and I feel like that’s a very very similar story. A very similar situation that we’re in now because if you’re looking to stop marketing your product altogether, that doesn’t seem like a sensible business decision for any business, even in a situation where there are fewer budget dollars out there and yeah, so you want to make sure that you’re still marketing, but you’re doing something in the most efficient way and I would argue that Employee Advocacy is by far the cheapest and most effective way to communicate with your audience, especially if you’re a B2B company.
If you work in B2B, even if you’re a B2C brand with a B2B team, so a B2B2C for instance, if you’re looking to communicate with your trade then the most effective way of doing that is via social, because your trade marketing teams, your account managers are connected to your existing clients and also your prospective clients so you want to be communicating your message regularly and doing that in a cost-effective way.
Now, if you use LinkedIn and you use it for purchasing ads, then that’s not a cheap exercise and it’s not something that’s got any cheaper and doesn’t look like it’s going to be. Maybe as demand falls, maybe the cost will come down. But you’re still looking at anywhere between I mean, if you were paying $6 a click, you would be doing really well. Realistically, it’s going to be more like $10 to $15 a click.
So if you’re looking to communicate with your market that’s how you do it and every time you communicate with those people, unless they followed you on your corporate social accounts, then you have to keep spending that money. So what you really want to do is get those people into your community so you can communicate with them on a more regular basis but your employees already have people in those communities so you don’t need to go and find them.
They’ve already connected to your team themselves.
So finding an efficient way to share content on a regular basis that communicates with those people is by far the cheapest thing you can do.
So obviously different Employee Advocacy Programs perform better than others and some perform really badly – it really depends on how you run your program and the content that you produce.
Content AND Culture - the TWO Main Ingredients for Success
So we always talk about content and culture being really the two key ingredients, meaning if you have a terrible culture but you have some content, then even if you’ve got content, the culture within your organisation doesn’t support sharing that content.
However, if you’ve got great culture but you don’t have any content, you’ve got a similar problem.
So content and culture both working together means that if you produce something of value. Your employees will share it and you don’t necessarily want people sharing four or five pieces of content every single day and that’s one of the downsides.
If you choose to run, I guess like a gamification type model with your program where people are sharing because they feel it’s the way to win the game.
Don’t Over-estimate the Amount of Content and Employees Needed
If you have a sensible Employee Advocacy program running, you really want to be aiming for about, I would say, between 2 and 2.5 pieces of content per employee per week.
So let’s round it up to 8 pieces of content per employee.
Then when people look at Employee Advocacy sometimes they overestimate how many users they actually need in the program for it to work in an efficient way. So let’s assume that you’re a company that has more than a thousand employees and you choose to bring on board let’s say 10%.
So you’ve got 100 people sharing 8 pieces of content each month. That’s 800 essential shares that are happening at any given point.
So every time you share a piece of content, it’s either just an image and you’re just looking to get brand awareness, then it’s going to get reach on LinkedIn. But in most cases, people are looking to move people away from LinkedIn to their own real estate, their website, because there’s content there, whether that’s a blog post or a registration for a Webinar, or it can be a number of things but when you do that,
You Will Generate THIS Impact From Employee Advocacy…
You will generate between realistically about 4 to 8 clicks for every single share that takes place.
So my brain doesn’t move that quickly, so I’m going to try and I’m going to use a calculator. So if we’ve got 100 users sharing 2 pieces of content a week, over four weeks that’s 800 shares and if we say that our content’s pretty good and we’ll do another podcast about what makes good content, but let’s just go with its good content and you’re getting there, say five clicks per share. Your generating 4,000 unique visitors to your content every month from just 100 people.
The cost of doing that would be 1/10th of the cost of LinkedIn ads and it gets more cost-effective the more you do it.
Because if you’re running things like retargeting, for instance, having someone move from LinkedIn to your own web property means that you can do retargeting to them in the future. So actually that cost of acquiring that customer and your website becomes more.
So I guess the closing on this is when you start to think about Employee Advocacy in a downturn, think of it more as a way to divert costs away from things that deep down you probably know do not work, but you do them because everybody does them so whether that’s syndicating content for, you know, getting somebody to download your white paper or you have brand awareness on Google, all of these things have a place and work well, but in the short term, they don’t provide the same results that something like just putting your content in front of the people that can potentially buy your product which Employee Advocacy can.
We’ve seen it be a launchpad for people’s careers because what can happen is when you launch an Employee Advocacy Program the level of activity of sharing within the company is already probably only between 4 and 7% of total employee sharing content.
So to be able to move the needle from that 7% to 15 or 20% within the first 90 days is a huge success story. and does act as a great launchpad for people’s careers.
So I guess in closing, this is we will see that people will start to cut back on marketing budgets in the next two months. But I would say within the next ten to 12 weeks, people will start to realise that they simply can’t stop marketing and we just really want to find a more effective way of communicating our message.
So I hope that was helpful as always, there will be notes in the footnotes to the show along with some additional resources and if you do want to get in contact with me, please do connect with me on LinkedIn. We always like to hear that people have heard the podcast and got some value from it and if you are looking to build a business case for Employee Advocacy there are templates in the resource centre of our website all ungated, so you don’t need to speak to a salesperson. You can just go to help yourself to that and hopefully, that will give you give you some value so yeah, so really pleased that we got to episode number 11 and I’m also really pleased that I managed to do this entire podcast without any editing needed.
It just shows that if you stick to something, eventually it will become second nature or you’ve just done a terrible job and actually this did need to be edited. So again, thanks for taking the time to listen this week and I look forward to doing this again next week.