20 April – KPIs for measuring employee advocacy

What do you look for when measuring the effectiveness of your employee advocacy?

The current trend for the B2B industry is employee advocacy, and if you have not yet got on the band waggon, I would highly recommend it. The question here though is, what metrics should you put in place to measure its effectiveness? Yes, you can start by measuring post shares, retweets, and likes, but what are these in the scale of things? You should go a lot deeper than this.

Here are a few KPIs I would highly recommend you using to measure your programme’s effectiveness:

Number of employees signed up against number of active users

So you deploy employee advocacy into your brand, but how do you get employees initially on board, sharing content onto social media? Do you educate them with the benefits of sharing your content and explain what’s in it for them? And do you provide different levels of training to suit all capability levels? These are all a must.

You may think that this is not a problem because 30% of employees that signed up are posting. This is great, but unless employees see the benefit straight away they are likely to quickly lose interest. However with the right training at the start you can forewarn them on the realities of social media, for example that engagement will not happen overnight and why they should post additional content to improve their online personal presence. Without this employees will become disengaged and even stop posting your content.

Post engagement

By using a social media collaboration platform to post your content, reports can be easily generated to examine the number of likes, retweets, shares, as well as identify which employees are posting your content. By having access to these figures, you can then strategise as to the types of content, topics, and networks that works best for you, and use this as your benchmark when creating content in the future.

Website traffic

Using a program such as Google Analytics, can help identify if clicks have led to an increase in website traffic. It is however highly important to in particular look at the bounce rate. This is the percentage of visitors who leave your website from the landing page. This is an important metric, because the whole reason for sending individuals to your website is to encourage them to research other pages and engage with your brand further to hopefully sway their buying decision.

A bounce rate between 26% and 40% is excellent, but anything over 70% should sound alarm bells, this is extremely high and drastic action should be taken immediately to reduce this. If your bounce rate is high, is there really any point at all in employee advocacy? The answer is yes, as it will increase your reach but then what’s the point if it doesn’t lead to anything? This should be your first point of action.

Leads generated

This is a metric that has received a lot of questioning over the past year, with some suggesting that this is impossible to measure. You cannot just assume that a revenue increase is because of social selling. There could be a number of factors contributing to this.

One way that I suggest you measure this is via a social media collaboration platform and record all engagement within your CRM system, such as Salesforce. This way every post that receives engagement and leads to a sale can be tracked. This enables the brand to determine how effective social media is for generating sales, but it also enables the brand to make employees accountable for their social selling.

Brand reach

One of the fantastic things about social media is that it provides access to a much wider target audience, especially when you have an employee advocacy program in place. With this opportunity you should look to monitor whether an increase in employees sharing brand content correlates directly to you receiving engagement from a wider audience. This can all be monitored on a social media collaboration platform, and also through Google Analytics. That’s if, of course, they follow through and click on your link.

So, I’m sure you’ll agree there are numerous KPIs you could measure to test the effectiveness of your employee advocacy program, but in my opinion these are the ones you should be paying high attention to. And remember, employee advocacy will not be effective overnight, it takes time to build up; you need to be in it for the long run.

By Olivier Choron
CEO and Founder of purechannelapps
Find me on LinkedIn

13 April – Is employee advocacy a danger to your brand?

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The controversial value of employee advocacy has received much attention recently, with many tarnishing it with even damaging brand reputation, causing many to approach its use with caution and question, is it really worth it?

Altimeter recently published a report entitled ‘Social Media Employee Advocacy: Tapping into the power of an engaged social workforce’. Here are the top employee advocacy challenges their study highlighted:
altimeter employee advocacy challenges findings

The Content Challenge – 53%
Posting content onto social media even at a brand level can be challenging in itself, when you’re aiming to deliver content variety, uniqueness and to ultimately generate engagement. So add into the mix, producing content appropriate for employees to share, and some may perceive this as drastically adding to their workload. But is it really?

Producing two versions of the same piece of content is not necessary. Neither is there a need to produce content solely intended to be posted by employees.

Make it easier - The trick here is to use a social media collaboration platform to publish your content to the desired social media accounts, selecting the advocate types (e.g. employees, sales partners, customers or influencers) that this particular content is suitable for. The content will then be sent to the selected advocates’ inboxes for them to share and schedule on their networks.

The end result is that the whole process is made a lot simpler for the brand, the brand remains in control of content shared, two versions of the same content does not need to be produced, and lastly social content will be seen by a wider audience, thus encouraging increased engagement.

Motivating employees – 49%
Keeping employees on board to share brand content CAN certainly be a challenge to say the least! I say ‘can’ because it doesn’t have to be. It all depends upon your approach…

Educate - Firstly it’s important to inform and educate your employees about the benefits of sharing brand content to improve their own personal profile. Keep in mind though that this needs to be executed in a way to suit all employees’ social media capabilities. Not everyone will be as clued up on social as you may think, so delivering various levels of training would be recommended, in order to get your employees fully on-board with the program.

It’s about making employees understand what’s really in it for them, whilst making it as easy as possible for them to perform. Alex Beere, Consultant Social Media Manager, SMB and Partner, for Microsoft (one of our customers) states, ‘It’s not something you launch and walk away from. Make it as easy as possible for your advocates to be able to skill up and maintain a good level of usage.’ Investing in a good social media collaboration platform is essential to enable this.

Reward – To encourage employees, you could put some gamification in place and produce/ update a leader board for employees to see who’s generating the most shares. The incentive here is try and get to the top. This works really well.

Inappropriate content (the perceived danger) – 8%
This now leads me to addressing the real elephant in the room here and that is retaining brand reputation. I am rather surprised this has only received 8% here. From a recent blog post I published, entitled ‘Your employees’ voice really matters on social’, this issue received a high influx of comments with many accusing employee advocacy of being a danger to brand reputation. Examples of this include leaking confidential information, posting unsuitable content and conclusively creating a negative brand image.

Maintaining control – What everyone seems to forget is that employees, if they really wanted, could share inappropriate, confidential information with or without you the brand providing them with the content to share. By physically enabling employees to share your content, and become an advocate, you are actually preventing dangers occurring. This is because you can closely monitor what’s shared, and quickly act upon it where necessary.

Going back to the question, is employee advocacy a danger? The answer is no, not when you put controls in place. Obviously yes there is always, in any communication used, going to be a slim possibility of misuse, but it is definitely worth the gamble. It’s about investing in tools to make the process easier, seeking expert advice and educating your employees on what’s in it for them. Only then will the challenges above be eradicated.

By Olivier Choron
CEO and Founder of purechannelapps
Find me on LinkedIn

07 April – Your employees’ voice really matters on social

employee voice

With Nielsen reporting that 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family, there is no denying that word of mouth can be one of the most trusted and effective marketing methods for swaying buying decisions. Many businesses have tried to take advantage of this new found knowledge by deploying employee advocacy. This is the act of sharing brand content through employees’ social networks for all their connections to see.

In March 2016, LinkedIn uncovered some rather astonishing results regarding the effect of employee advocacy for brand engagement and how this differs when an employee shares versus when a company does. We have since compared their results with our own to help evaluate this a bit further.

LinkedIn’s results
For every post that is shared they discovered that employees receive on average a 2x higher click through rate than when the same piece of content is shared through the company. So viewers are clicking twice as often, compared with the identical piece of content being shared by the company. Their statistics back up Nielsen’s results about trusting recommendations from people we know.

Their research further uncovered that the larger the company, the more they benefited from employee advocacy. Companies with more than 10,000 employees saw click through rates 2.4% higher than the company shares, and companies with less than 10,000 saw click through rates over 1.8% higher. This figure is not surprising as it makes sense for the click through rate to increase the more employees post it, due to it having access to a wider audience.

Our analysis
There is no doubting that employees should always be fully utilised and share brand content to their network. I however do believe that you need to be realistic about the type of results you will receive if you only ever post brand content.

Our results show that employees will only receive a 2x higher click through rate once the employer has built a thought leader status. So our figures in fact show that, on average, employees will not receive higher engagement than your company. Well not unless they are willing to make some serious changes to their current social activity. Here’s why:

1.Thought leadership – You cannot expect all employees to become highly recognised in their industry overnight, just by sharing one of your posts. It just doesn’t happen like that. Especially when all employees are sharing exactly the same content, some even choosing to not change the post title. To truly stand out you need to be willing to work for it.

2.Invest in your personal brand – Timothy Hughes (@Timothy_Hughes on Twitter), a thought leader in the world of social selling, has written a fantastic post about making time for social media. You have to be dedicated and engaged with social media. Using a social automation platform is just not enough, you need to reply and engage with the community if you expect to get noticed and build your status. Don’t be fooled into thinking you will receive instant gratification, it takes time to build a thought leader status.

3.Range of content – Let’s think of this logically. If you only shared brand content, what would make you stand out from the company itself and other employees, all sharing that same content? You need to bring more to the table to receive a click through rate 2x higher than the company itself. You need to humanise your social presence by engaging in the community and sharing others content. Show all of them that you have a personality and you are not just a robot.

Let’s not forget though, it’s not all doom and gloom, you do still, on average, have 5x more exposure than if you were to just share content through your companies social media account. So don’t stop employee advocacy in your business, let it long continue. Just be realistic about the results you will receive, because after all results come from those who work hard.

By Olivier Choron
CEO and Founder of purechannelapps
Find me on LinkedIn