For many B2B companies, increasing employee engagement can feel like an ongoing battle. If your people aren’t engaged, they’re less happy, less productive, and less likely to stay at your company.
While HR managers are often the first to jump in and help, in recent years we’ve seen marketers tackling this issue head-on with a simple, yet effective strategy – employee advocacy.
In this article, we’ll shed light on how global B2B marketers are leveraging employee advocacy for reaching goals beyond brand awareness and lead generation – they’re going back to the basics of employee engagement.Global B2B marketers are leveraging employee advocacy for reaching goals beyond brand awareness and lead generation – they’re going back to the basics of employee engagement. Click To Tweet
Connecting Geographical Borders
One of the biggest challenges for global B2B companies is unifying employees across different regions, time zones, and work cultures.
This is where employee advocacy serves as a great tool for internal knowledge sharing, allowing team members from different regions to feel deeply connected and engaged with the company’s content, even when they’re 1,000 miles away from the corporate headquarters.
For Ensono, an IT company with 1,000 employees spread across North America, Europe, and South Asia, the first initiative to engage employees in sharing company content had proven to be laborious, and eventually, ineffective.
Once adopting a proper employee advocacy program, Ensono’s employees were able to easily access and share every piece of content created by the company, while educating themselves on various company initiatives, announcements, projects, and reports. A year after kicking off its program, Ensono was able to double the number of advocates who were actively sharing its content.
Similarly, Sisense, a global software company with arms in New York, Arizona, and Tel Aviv, successfully harnessed employee advocacy as a tool for boosting employee engagement with the help of…cupcakes. Yes, we mean this
To launch the program, cupcakes were delivered to every employee advocate in the New York, Tel Aviv, and Arizona office, along with a personal note, welcoming them to the program.
Of course, employee advocacy wasn’t a new concept. In preparation for the launch, employees had received a detailed presentation, addressing the company’s vision of advocacy, highlighting the benefits at an individual and collective level, and introducing the Oktopost platform.
All of this made the cupcake launch a huge success! Not only did employees love to eat the cupcakes, they were also thrilled to be a part of a new global initiative. As a result, Sisense achieved a monthly reach of more than 177,000 audience touch points as well as an average of 69% more clicks.
Every Employee Gets a Voice
A huge mistake that many large and mid-size enterprise make is getting employees to share content that the company needs. If your goal is simply to “echo” the corporate voice, you’re going to drastically limit employee engagement and the potential of expanding an enterprise-wide program.
Put it this way – in most companies, only 5% of employees will usually be inclined to share content on behalf of their company. The other 95% are what we call the “social majority” or the “social curmudgeons”. Unless you give them valuable content that makes them go “hey, my audience would love reading this,” they’re not going to be very socially active.
And so really, what you need to do is gather as much employee feedback as possible! Encourage employees to suggest content topics or author articles themselves, as this will not only enrich and diversify your advocacy content, it will also give employees a chance to express their personal voice on social.
Take Adobe’s blog as an example. As part of their social advocacy program, they’re encouraging employees to not only share content but also create it. The Adobe blog is filled with different types of content written by various employees, not only executives. From employee experience to industry conferences, and down to the necessary product updates – the Adobe blog offers something for everybody, and a face to attach to each post.
This enriches the social advocacy program with diverse content but more importantly, it motivates employees to play a more active role in the program and develop a sense of commitment to the company.
After all, the more employees feel engaged, the more likely they are to display their satisfaction with the workplace, in person and on social. These are the types of employees who increase content engagement, draw qualified prospects, and attract top talent to your company.
Thought Leadership All Around
“Social media thought leader” – sounds good, right? We all want to be Gary V, that person who everybody follows on LinkedIn and Twitter, waiting for the words of wisdom to fill up your feed.
Social advocacy offers employees a chance to become just that!
By wisely sharing professionally-crafted articles, employees can truly become an authority in their field. They can also leverage this expertise to expand their personal networks and build a solid brand for themselves.
Once you give employees the chance to develop a credible voice on social, their incentive to take an active role in the employee advocacy program will automatically grow. Their newly-established thought leader status will strengthen their connection to the workplace and make them feel recognized and appreciated.
Pyramid Analytics, a data analytics software company, launched its social advocacy program by letting employees share compelling brand content to their personal networks. As employees shared more content, they came to be recognized as the primary authority in their respective fields.
And how do you think this made them feel? Definitely more invested in the company.
Eventually, their combined efforts have helped to amplify Pyramid Analytics’ social visibility by a whopping 500%, reaching hundreds of qualified audiences that their marketing team wouldn’t have been able to reach alone. In fact, within their monthly analytics review, the marketing team saw that 27% of engagement can be attributed to the contribution of employee advocates.
Success Has Many Fathers
Believe it or not, tangible incentives are not the only way to drive employee engagement. Often times, employees simply want to feel recognized and own their personal success.
Cultivating a data-driven social advocacy program, in which individuals see and understand the impact of their efforts, can dramatically boost internal employee engagement.Cultivating a data-driven social advocacy program, in which individuals see and understand the impact of their efforts, can dramatically boost internal employee engagement. Click To Tweet
Start small with a weekly roundup email, highlighting the number of shares, clicks, and conversions generated by employees. You can also make a company-wide announcement, revealing the top advocates at a Happy Hour or company event.
When you make this data transparent to employees, they are more apt to share content, fine-tune their own strategy, and take a more proactive approach in meeting the company’s objectives. Realizing that they are in fact impacting the company’s bottom line will lead to a stronger sense of belonging and pride.
Sisense understood this and implemented a data-driven approach to driving employee recognition within its advocacy program. Each month, employees received an email digest, showcasing the most prominent employee advocacy results, such as ‘Top Advocate of the Month’ and ‘Total Reach, Clicks, and Conversions’. The monthly roundup was a huge success, prompting employees to share 67% more content!
Selling Points Galore
Employee advocacy has clear benefits when it comes to the “traditional” marketing KPIs. Growing your brand reach, humanizing your company’s voice, and enabling social selling are some of them.
But what we’re suggesting is that marketers look internally, at the employees themselves. Focus on employee engagement – whether it’s by personalizing content to employee locations, riding on feedback and content ideas, or cultivating a culture where employees are exposed to their data and impact.
These strategies, among many others, make for highly satisfied employees, who are naturally more inclined to rave about their workplace on social media and attract prospects and candidates alike.