Employee advocacy programs seem to be in vogue at the moment.
The plan is very simple: with many employees now on social media, why not get them to tweet on the company’s behalf? If you have 100,000 employees and they are all tweeting, your share of voice is going to massive.
The problem with this, as we mention our book, Social Selling: Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers is that people will read such a tweet and say, “Well Tim would say that, he works there and is biased”.
Altimeter point out that that “21% of consumers report “liking” employee posts—a far higher engagement rate than the average social ad.” But if you read the detail of the report, the people liking those tweets are friends.
The report seems to indicate that there is a lot of tweeting, but is it really being amplified and reaching new consumers, which is the objective?
In the book we talk about Trust Vs. Control and how brands like to control the message, and therefore your customers don’t trust what you are saying. We discuss influence marketing; this is where consumers trust the message, but brands have little control over what is said.
Is employee advocacy about throwing muck at the wall and hoping it sticks?
When Matt and I started writing this book, we wanted to change the perception that social doesn’t always have a real impact on the top line. As a sales leader said to me, “This stuff on social selling is all very well, but where are my leads?”. We want to make sure people understand that successful and efficient social selling can and does lead to further leads.
Employee advocacy seems to sit in the realms of measurements such as clicks and share of voice, which are more vanity metrics than the stuff that can create you leads.
Can employee advocacy create you inbound? I’m sure with all that social noise you’re creating by posting corporate articles it might create inbound, but it might also turn consumers off.
Employee advocacy is also about attitude
If you watch Andrew Grill’s (@andrewgrill) video on branded advertising he explains how IBM is using employee advocacy as a way to recruit people. If, for example, your friend is tweeting about the amazing time s/he is having when working at IBM, you may want some of that too and hope to work at IBM.
In addition, if you are in a position to draw up a short list to buy a product or service, you are more likely to put IBM on that short list.
My guess is that you are more likely to see a company in a better light and put them on a short list by having people using the subtle approach than maybe a friend who is trying to push a corporate white paper at you.
Digital Leadership Associates: We are a Social Media Agency. We do three things: Social Media Strategy, Social Selling and Social Media Management. Drop us an email and let’s talk about how we can make an impact on your organisation.