Kreston Reeves: Encouraging authentic employee advocacy in a risk-free way.
A masterclass in how to communicate your employee advocacy program so that employees want to share because they can do so with ease, without concern, and (most importantly) because they know what’s in it for them.
All while helping to develop personal brands and cement Kreston Reeves employees’ reputations as industry experts.
The pandemic accelerated a digital shift that put an emphasis on managing a social media presence. How the team encouraged this would not only benefit each employee but also, in a little over a year, generate staggering results for the business and over $83,000 in equivalent advertising value.
So, let’s get to know the awesome people who made it happen!
The People! 👋
What a brand.
And what a team!
Kreston Reeves is a UK-based accountancy, business advisory and financial services firm and part of Kreston Global.
They are a culture-driven company whose people are at the heart of everything they do.
“Our culture is at the heart of all we do and is rooted in our values. They define who we are, what we stand for, and how we behave.”
With values like these, an employee advocacy program seemed like a natural part of the organization’s progression!
The challenge? 🤔
In the accounting industry, networking and personal branding come with the territory. However, when the pandemic came along, the means of doing these things shifted entirely to digital.
Kreston Reeves employees were familiar with LinkedIn, and many were already using it to connect with their clients, but they recognised an opportunity here. Employees could use this digital shift to position themselves as thought leaders in their field, ensuring that they’d be the first to come to mind when someone in their network was considering their services 🙌
Doing so would mean more than just using LinkedIn to connect with clients. In order to position themselves as experts, they’d need to be sharing and commenting on the latest industry and company news.
After reaching out to marketing for assistance, the marketing team quickly realised a potential problem…
If they shared all the latest company content with their employees, would they all then share the exact same thing at the exact same time? And, if they did, how would this appear in the eyes of their key audiences? The last thing they wanted was for it to look like all employees were told to share. It had to be authentic 💪
Not to mention that in an industry like Accounting, it can be detrimental to the company if an employee were to say the wrong thing on social media. Avoiding any risk would be just as important.
Therein lay the challenge… How could Kreston Reeves get their employees to share content in a risk-free way without it appearing inauthentic and forced in the eyes of their key audiences?
”LinkedIn has always been a helpful tool for me to manage my networking and to communicate with clients. However, when the pandemic came along and everything became fully digital, DSMN8 made managing my social media presence much easier.Andrew GriggsSenior Partner & Head of International
The solution ☝️
Quick to spot the demand for sharing, the marketing team decided that a platform would be needed so that they could get all employees to share the latest content in a more controlled manner.
Having already looked into employee advocacy in the past, the team decided that now would be the perfect time to launch a formal program 💡
After reviewing various employee advocacy vendors, Kreston Reeves chose DSMN8 due to its unique features that met their requirements at a competitive rate. Their choice came down to their three essentials 👇
- Ease of use
- The ability to “stagger” employees’ shares
- Every share had to look unique
The simplicity of the user interface was a major factor in their decision, as they foresaw difficulties emerging if the platform wasn’t easy to use.
Kreston Reeves knew that the platform would need to feel familiar and intuitive to increase adoption and usage, and to reduce “post-launch dropoff” (employees logging in once, not understanding it, never using it again… it happens!)
At DSMN8, we’ve kept things simple. The platform’s social media-inspired feed will feel familiar to any LinkedIn user, and we’ve worked tirelessly to ensure that getting set up is as frictionless for the company as it is for new users. It’s what got us awarded G2’s “Best for Ease of Use” in their Employee Advocacy Category!
Ease of use? Check! 👌
The team’s worst-case scenario with employee advocacy was that all employees would begin sharing the same content at the same time (as soon as it became available).
This is something we’ve seen all too many times, and something you’ve probably read about!
Employees are emailed a piece of content to share on social media, the email contains a bit of text for them to use when sharing, and the results are often disastrous…
What happens is all employees share the exact same thing to social media at around the exact same time. As most LinkedIn networks have some overlap, audiences quickly spot the inauthentic brand advocacy and cease to engage with that person 😬
To avoid this, DSMN8 allows admin users (in this case, the marketing team) to write multiple text captions for employees to use when sharing. You can either go one step further and assign specific captions to certain teams so that their tone of voice echoes what they specialise in.
Kreston Reeves knew from early conversations with their colleagues that finding the words to write (writer’s block) and a fear of saying the wrong thing were the two most common reasons why employees weren’t posting as much as they wanted to, and so the ability to add multiple text captions became an integral part of their program from pretty much day dot!
Team-specific captions have become a big part of the program too. For a recent campaign, the Kreston Reeves team was able to write specific captions for their employees to use based on their location.
Example of team-specific captions 👇
(screenshot taken from DSMN8 demo account)
However, as authenticity was their ultimate goal, the team decided that these pre-written text captions would only serve as guidelines, and did not insist on employees using them.
As a result, writer’s block was all but eliminated as employees could simply tweak the captions here and there. Plus, as they were written by the marketing team, employees were safe in the knowledge that they were OK to post what had been written for them, and that they didn’t have to worry about saying the wrong thing! Which, no doubt, brings peace of mind to most marketing and PR teams! 🥳
If the captions weren’t enough, DSMN8 also allows you to upload multiple preview images when curating a piece of content for sharing. So, with multiple captions to choose from and tweak, and an array of images to use, it’s near impossible to see two of the same posts in any social media feed!
So, that’s half the problem solved, what about staggered sharing? Won’t Kreston Reeves still see hundreds of employees sharing the same piece of content at the same time?
Scheduled sharing to the rescue! 🔥
Not only will each post look unique, but DSMN8 offers two options when a user goes to share. They can either share immediately or schedule a post to share at the optimum time for them.
DSMN8 uses publicly available data to determine the best post time for each user based on their location and the performances of their previous posts on that site.
The team at Kreston Reeves insist employees use the scheduled post option as it eliminates the risk of everyone sharing at the same time. They communicated the importance of authenticity to their employees from the start, and each new joiner is told why this is important to THEM to ensure that their post is seen by as many people as possible. As a result, it’s less a need to “insist” on this, and more a case of “here’s why you should”.
Unique shares AND staggered sharing?
Kreston Reeves is truly raising the bar!
”DSMN8 solves the problem of employees being worried that they might share the wrong thing. Though they’re free to edit them, we’ve suggested from the start that they stick with one of the pre-written captions, which alleviates any worry that they might say something they shouldn’t.Patrick CantellowDigital Marketing Manager
The Impact? 👊
The result of the team’s hard work, research, and dedication is an employee advocacy platform that is absolutely thriving! 🤩
To ensure ease of sign up, the team exclusively used DSMN8’s built-in invitations. As part of the invitation email, employees are invited to schedule a call with a member of the marketing team to go through 10-15 minutes of basic training. As the rollout was done in batches, the marketing team were able to hold group sessions for efficiency.
Sure, it takes time out of their day, but in doing so Kreston Reeves was able to draw their employees’ attention to the role every employee plays in moving the business forward by focusing on their own personal brands and social media presence. Sure, they were transparent about their goals, but they built their case around each employee and why this was important for them as well as the firm. Employee advocacy is a two-way street!
As a result, the company’s program now boasts a whopping 205 users! 👏
In order to ensure continued usage, the team knew that they would need to make their platform feed one that their employees would want to scroll through. They were able to elevate employee engagement and platform usage by utilising DSMN8’s internal communications tool to make platform-related announcements.
The team went the extra mile here by also using gamification in the form of leaderboards to showcase the platform’s top performers! This was a big motivating factor for employees who might have been less likely to share. There were no rewards up for grabs, but the friendly competitive nature of it combined with a want to be seen participating was more than enough to elevate their activity!
They were also able to get a number of Partners using the platform, which set the example for new users as the senior leadership team were leading by example. Not only were they using the platform, but this was visible to the wider company too as a number of them were ranking highly on their in-platform leaderboard for top performers! 👇
DSMN8 offers an automated sharing option, which is immensely popular among time-poor users as it will share relevant content on your behalf as frequently as you like.
However, Kreston Reeves now proudly operates a “manual sharing only” platform due to how well they communicated this initiative from day one. Employees share because they want to and because they know why it’s relevant to them.
What could be more authentic than that?! 😎
In fact, 6 months into using DSMN8, Kreston Reeves surveyed employees to get a better understanding of how the initiative had changed their attitudes towards LinkedIn. What they found was that their employees were now using LinkedIn more than ever as they kept returning to the site to engage with their networks, weigh in on conversations, and most importantly, because they were getting engagement on their OWN posts.
”Lazy posting is something we didn’t want. We wanted it to be authentic. We wanted people to engage with the DSMN8 platform and for it to become a habit. The platform’s features were a big help, but we found that truly communicating the importance of personal branding with employees was key.Patrick CantellowDigital Marketing Manager
Now, you might think that because Kreston Reeves tried to keep this authentic that their monetary results (ROI, cost-per-click, earned media value) suffered. After all, if you get more people sharing (and sharing lots) then ultimately you get more clicks.
Well, you would be wrong. Very wrong. Authentic employee advocacy as a result of communicating the employee benefits sets you on a path to continued success as each employee continues to grow their network and overall engagement on social.
This is an organization who are enjoying the best of both worlds. An authentic program that encourages employees to become employee influencers who, in turn, make a massive impact. It’s an employee advocacy masterclass! 👇
The average number of clicks received on each employees’ posts.
Cost per click
The cost for each click generated by employees activity.
The return on investment just over a year into the programme.
How much all of this would have cost via traditional advertising.
We help brands empower their employees to Curate, Create and Share on-brand content. Your employees will have access to both a desktop and mobile application where they can effortlessly share your content across social, messenger, email and SMS, boosting your organic reach while keeping them up to date with company news and industry trends.
Interested to see how you could turn your employees into motivated social influencers like Unit4 and super-charge your content efforts with DSMN8’s employee advocacy solution?