[Episode Two 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.
Welcome to episode number two of the Employee Advocacy and Influence podcast. My name is Bradley Keenan and I’m the founder and CEO of DSMN8 the Employee Advocacy Platform.
It’s no secret that tech companies love alliteration and we are no exception. So today we are going to be talking about the three C’s of employee advocacy, and they are content, culture and coordination.
The First C: Content!
A question that pretty much every client who launches an advocacy program will ask is how much content do I need in order to run an advocacy program and reduce the risk that everybody’s going to be seen to be sharing the same pieces of content over and over again. And while it’s a difficult question to ask because every client is different, there is a general rule of thumb that we follow and that is that you have 3.5 pieces of content per 100 users in the platform.
Now, let’s say as an example, you are a company with a thousand employees and you estimate that you’re going to have 30% of them in your ambassador program. So what we’re talking about is 300 active users. So for every one of those, you need 3.5 pieces of content. So essentially we’re looking at ten, nine to ten pieces of content going into the platform every week. You might not be producing that amount of content at the moment, so that may seem like a lot, but you don’t need to produce all of that content because actually there are three different types of content that we recommend that our clients use on a weekly basis.
The first is what we would refer to as company-centred content, and what mean by that is pretty much any content that your marketing team a producing. So that could be your regular
blog post, it could be information that shows on your news page, but often it’s going to be more gated content like access to webinars or client case studies. Company-centred content that works really well is where we’re talking about successes in the organization. So sometimes that can be things like a recent acquisition of another business. It could be the financial results of your organization if you’re a public company. And in some circumstances, it can even be new hires. If you’ve got new members of the board joining, that content can also perform really, really well and the interesting thing that I find about looking at our clients and seeing how well they perform is that they often can’t predict where the content is going to be a success or not, because if you don’t work in the industry that that content is specifically about, it can seem really dry. And we have clients in oil and gas as an example, and I literally have no idea what the content is about, but it often gets better engagement than some of our more, I guess, known brands where you know, the general public would know who they are. And I think the reason that is, is that as people share content, naturally, their audience is highly curated because if I’m an engineer for an oil and gas company, as an example, the probability is I’m connected to lots of other engineers for oil and gas companies. So while the layman like myself might not understand the content that the company is producing, their network naturally does. And I think sometimes we’ve more B2C brands is the content can sometimes feel almost too, I guess, coming from too much of a place of branding as opposed to thought leadership. And ultimately, that’s where employee advocacy really thrives.
Then we have industry news. So this is where a third party of producing content or editorial about our industry or our company, but it’s not produced by us internally. So that’s a combination of using things like industry press or external awards and pulling that content into the platform for employees to share. And the nice thing about having a blend between those two things is that the employee doesn’t feel like they’re being used as a conduit for the organization’s marketing message. And actually it gives them more of a position of being a curator of content, which ultimately increases the trust in the program overall. Where I’ve seen this work really well is one of our clients is one of the largest affiliate marketing agencies in the world, and they are fantastic at getting their SEO onto podcasts. In the press. And what they do is listen online for that content. When it becomes available, they syndicate that content via their employee network and the great thing about that is the employees almost have an extra incentive to become ambassadors for that content because they know that they’re supporting the SEO in pushing out the message of the company.
And the third most common type of content is what we would refer to as employee-centred content. So that is where we are producing the content as an organization, but we’re not talking about our products and services. We’re actually talking about our employees and our employee experience. It’s no secret that companies are looking for smarter ways to hire and access talent. So naturally, if you have a network of engineers inside your organization, then it’s probable that they’re connected to other engineers, either through university or, you know, where they used to work as an example. But the mistake that companies make is they’re too quick to push out job opportunities or LinkedIn by their employees and just like the examples I used before, the employees feel like they’re being used as a way to, I guess, cut out the middlemen being recruiters. So it’s fine to share job opportunities, but what you have to do first is you have to use the networks of the employees to show what it’s like to work in your organization. So employee centric content can be anything from pictures from a team away day. It could be a tour of your office or just simply talking about the successes that happen in specific teams as opposed to the successes of an entire organization. And if you treat it as almost an 80, 20% split. So 80% being that we’re talking about what it’s like to work in our organization and then 20% talking about the potential opportunity of actually working there, then that’s a much healthier mix of the two and ultimately will deliver better results. So like any good technology company, what we’re looking for when we engage with a client is finding someone that’s not only going to be successful in year one, but is actually going to see success in the year two, three, four and beyond. So when we look at a client, we’re really looking for two key ingredients that make a great advocacy client, and that is the content which we’ve already covered.
The Second C: Culture!
And the next critical ingredient is the culture. And I say critical because even if you’ve got the content, if the culture is bad, then unless you highly motivate people with very expensive rewards, then the program will really never get started. So if you are looking to launch an employee advocacy program, then the probability is that you are aware of your organization and you believe that your culture is a good fit. But I would recommend that there are a few things that you should check prior to launching now. Things like Glassdoor, looking at the recent reviews of the organization, is hugely beneficial because if there is an overall negative sentiment about people feeling overworked or failed projects in the past, then bringing another project to the table at this point, might be a mistake because the last thing you want to do is launch an advocacy program and for it not to work. Because if you try six months or 12 months from now, people are going to say, Hey, I remember when we did that advocacy thing and it didn’t work. So timing is really important.
Another thing to look out for is are employees already sharing content organically without the need for an employee advocacy tool. Now, that doesn’t mean that you won’t benefit from bringing technology in place in fact, the opposite. It’s a really positive sign because it’s showing that something’s happening organically. And if we add technology to that, it’s only going to amplify even further. So there are a number of ways that you can do that. You’re probably connected to many individuals within your organization already. But in addition, to that, you can contact people like us, and we will write a report for you to show you how active your employees already are on social and how that splits down by seniority and geography. So you can get a picture of if I was to launch an advocacy program, where am I most likely to see good results? And finally, as you think about the culture, another good sign is if you could think right now of ten to 20 people that you would love to be ambassadors in your program from day one, then that’s a really good indication that there’s plenty of other people out there that would also join. So a common mistake that we see that people make is that they they almost think that they know everyone in the company that would make a great employee advocate. Now, 80% of the time you get it right. So often people talk about senior leadership, obviously high performing salespeople, but often there can be people in your organization that you had no idea that they had such influence than they actually do. And it’s I’m not going to say it’s not uncommon. It almost a dead sir that every single time we work with a client and we do our cubicles and we look at who the high performing members of the advocacy program are out of the top ten, they’ll be two or three in there that the marketing team have no idea who that person is. And often it’s somebody who sits in an engineering role, who’s just highly passionate about the products that the company produce. So again, the combination of culture and content is really the recipe or the foundation for what makes a great employee advocacy program.
But there’s one other. And that is coordination.
The Third C: Coordination!
So even if you’ve got great content and great culture that is the like I said, it’s the foundations almost for organic employee advocacy, where you’re going to get a percentage of your organization that take it upon themselves to share. But the whole reason why we create an employee advocacy program is essentially to make the process of sharing content more simple, to make the outcome the desired outcome of people sharing more probable so we can move that needle and amplify that content even further than we could just by doing it organically. So clearly, having an employee advocacy platform or a technology partner in place is a critical component to it, but it’s not the only one. So the other things that you really need in place to coordinate employee advocacy is firstly having some form of either social media policy or some form of training that tells your employees what type of content you’re going to be sharing. And almost the do’s and don’ts of social where, how they would behave outside of the employee advocacy program. And that can be things as simple as how to shoot a good profile picture, how you want them to describe the company on their professional social networks. And putting those frameworks in place almost create the confidence in the employee that now they have a great profile and they know what’s accepted, what’s not accepted. Then they feel that they can advance to take in the content that you’re producing and start to develop an audience.
Now, naturally, as your advocacy program grows, you’re going to need assistance administering the platform. So the way that we run our programs is that we have two different types of administrators. We have a global administrator program leader, and we have what we call a team leader. And a team leader is essentially an administrator for a specific team. So let’s use the example that you’ve chosen to launch your advocacy program in North America as your pilot, and you are the you are the team leader for the North America team. As you bring on other regions, you’re going to need to delegate responsibility for administering that program in that local region. And often that can involve different languages as well. So that’s something to consider.
And the final component to coordination is making sure you have analytics so you can track measure the success of your program. Because as this starts to grow naturally, you’re going to want to shout about this inside the business and talk about the success that you’re having.
Thank you for listening to episode number two of our podcast links to get in touch with me, along with my resources will be in the footnotes for the show. But as always, you can get in touch with me on LinkedIn.