Employee Advocacy: The Missing Piece of Your Social Media Marketing
Originally published: January 2015. Updated: April 2016
Which of the following are publishers?
D) Sales Reps
E) All the Above.
If you answered “E”, congrats! You just passed today’s marketing pop quiz.
Regardless of age, gender, job title, or any other trait – as an individual, you are empowered by the ability to share your voice about any brand, for the public to see. The digital age has turned each and every one of us (with internet access) into a publisher.
In the world of B2B marketing, the “everyone is a publisher” concept has been reinvented as employee advocacy. Employees are one of the most untapped resources that marketers have today – and many companies are far from realizing their full potential.
Why Employee Advocacy is a Social Media Marketing Asset
It can take months, or even years, for a marketing team to build up a company’s presence, reputation, and credibility online. This is exactly why employee advocacy is so powerful. Every post published by an employee on social media reaches hundreds of new connections, which the marketing team would not be able to gain exposure to on its own. While helping your employees become thought-leaders within their communities, by sharing insightful and educational content.
The opportunity to engage so many fresh audiences is unparalleled, and of course, can either be immensely helpful – or hurtful, to a brand. It’s the responsibility of a company’s leadership to create a culture, environment and projects that employees will want to favorably post about.
Aside from a positive culture, any company looking to join the employee advocacy bandwagon must offer a team-wide support system.
This may entail developing a social media policy to help those who are not formally in sales, marketing, or PR, communicate effectively and in a comfortable manner. Enterprises may even consider offering a training course to offer guidelines and best practices for posting on social media.
5 Features Your Employee Advocacy Tool Should Have
Beyond brand awareness, employee advocacy can drive content marketing, social selling, recruitment, and customer engagement efforts. Here at Oktopost, we have recognized the growing need among B2B marketers for a simple, data-driven, employee advocacy solution.
That’s why we created The Social Advocacy Board, a product that enables employees to share company posts in one click, and lets marketers track the results.
With the launch of the Social Advocacy Board, Oktopost is now the most comprehensive social media platform, enabling marketers to publish, measure, engage, listen – and now, amplify via employees.
Below is an outline of the 5 key features that any employee advocacy platform should have, with an emphasis on how the design and interface of how the Oktopost Social Advocacy Board fulfills each one of them.
1. Easy Sharing: One-Click Posting
Turning an employee into a social advocate shouldn’t take more than one click. Employees are busy trying to get their own work done, and there’s no reason it should take more than few seconds to share a company’s post on their own profiles.
The whole point of employee advocacy is to make it as simple as possible for employees to spread the word. The easier it is to share, the more likely employees are to take part in the advocacy initiative.
Whichever tool you choose, it needs to give employees the freedom to connect multiple social profiles, based on the ones the company is active on. For example, Oktopost lets employees connect Twitter, Facebook, and/or LinkedIn profiles.
Once these are connected, employees can scroll through a company’s most recent social posts on these networks, and share them on their social profiles, in one click.
The Social Advocacy Board also lets employees either share the post as is, in real-time, or edit the message that goes with it, and schedule it for a later hour.
[Oktopost Social Advocacy Board Features] Sharing, Made Simple:
- Connect any Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter profile
- View all of the company’s social posts in one place
- Share any post on your profile in one click
- Keep the messaging as is, or edit the text
- Schedule for now, or customize your date and time
2. Data-Driven: Employee Leaderboard
Every B2B marketer’s motto should be: “You can’t improve what you don’t measure.” Employee advocacy, like any other marketing strategy, must be managed and measured. Tracking advocacy results is the most effective way to identify strong brand ambassadors, create a little competition between them – and maybe even develop an incentive program.
Social media marketing is not just about measuring likes, shares, and retweets, as none of these generate actual business value. As a marketer, you need to know which employees have earned the most clicks – and more importantly, conversions, for your company.
B2B marketers need to see exactly how each employee contributes to these analytics. This is the easiest way to understand which employees are “social leaders,” based on the KPIs that matter most to the business. Also, this data should automatically be synced with any social media analytics already being generated by the marketing team.
Oktopost’s Board features a public, built-in, Leaderboard where employees can view Shares (number of posts the employee has shared using his or her profiles) and Clicks (number of of clicks on links included in the posts, generated by this sharing).
Inside the platform itself, marketers can view these metrics, as well as conversions, likes, and comments, per User, so they can access all of their social media marketing analytics from one place.
[Oktopost Social Advocacy Board Features] Measure What Matters:
- Employees can view clicks and shares in a public leaderboard
- Marketers can see multiple KPIs per employee within Oktopost
- Easily identify which employees drive the best results
- Create an incentive program aligned with employee social sharing
3. Mobile First: Posting On-the-Go
What good is an employee advocacy tool if it’s not mobile ready? Employees will be more likely to share if they can do it on their own terms – meaning from any device and location, and at any hour
Whether they prefer to share posts during a morning commute, lunchtime, or on the way home, mobile access is key to making this convenient.
Engaged employees are a company’s strongest and most authentic advocates, and they need to be able to share content from laptops, tablets and mobile phones.
The ease of sharing from any device will encourage them to get involved, which in turn will drive and amplify brand reach, awareness and engagement among fresh audiences.
The Oktopost Social Advocacy Board was designed for mobile sharing, with iPhone and Android apps, enabling employees to scroll through all of the content and share any post – now or at a later time, in one click.
[Oktopost Social Advocacy Board Features] Cross-Device Sharing:
- Native mobile app
- View social posts from any device
- Share posts on Linked, Twitter, Facebook in one click
4. Time-Saving: Repurpose Social Posts
Between writing content, monitoring social channels, and tracking analytics, B2B marketers have very little time to spare. When it comes to employee advocacy, creating content that can be shared should require minimal resources – not to mention time.
Beyond this, it’s vital to have at least some control over which content the marketing team wants the company, at large, to promote. Employees need to see the most relevant content, and will be less likely to share if they have to scroll through dozens of unrelated posts.
Even if the marketing team can select the content that’s featured, the ideal employee advocacy tool should strike a balance between brand control and employee customization.
Employees need to be able to customize the message they’re sharing, so it sounds like it’s coming from them, and not the marketing team.
With Oktopost, marketers can create social posts inside the platform, and then “pin” only the ones they’d like to appear in the Social Advocacy Board. This enables them to repurpose content they’ve created, and also gives them control in terms of choosing which posts will be featured.
On the flip side, even though employees only see “pinned’ posts in the Social Advocacy Board, they have the option of sharing the text as is, or editing the messaging based on what they’d like to say.
[Oktopost Social Advocacy Board Features] Repurpose Social Content:
- Repurpose social posts direct from Oktopost
- Select which posts to “pin” to the Social Advocacy Board
- Employees can keep or edit text when sharing
5. Integrated: Sync Data with CRMs
Marketing and sales activities must be on the same page, and it’s no different when it comes to employee advocacy. Although social sharing is meant to boost brand awareness, audience engagement, and social reach, and the end of the day, B2B marketers and sales teams alike need to understand how it’s contributing to a company’s bottom line.
Any interactions that take place between a lead and a company’s social posts, particularly clicks and conversions need be tracked, regardless of whether the original source was the marketing team or an employee.
Adding social insights to each lead not only enriches a company’s CRM or marketing automation database, but also provides detailed criteria for lead scoring and nurturing purposes.
In terms of Oktopost, all analytics generated as a result of employee advocacy are synced with existing social campaigns within the platform. This means that any social post that was shared from the Social Advocacy Board can be tracked from employee, all the way to ROI.
[Oktopost Social Advocacy Board Features] Enhance Lead Records:
- Monitor employee posts from click to conversion
- Sync with Marketing Automation integrations (Marketo, Act-On, Eloqua, Salesfusion etc.)
- Leverage social insights to enrich any lead’s records
Read more about how Oktopost’s Social Advocacy Board can drive your employee advocacy on our website.
Cover image via @Kat