13 December – Facebook for Work: Can this social network be utilized as a productivity and internal communication tool for channel partners?

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Not so long ago Facebook announced it was making a move for a slice of the productivity market pie with their ‘Facebook for Work’ platform, appropriately named ‘Workplace’, which aims to improve communication within organizations as well as connecting different organizations together. This enables users to stay connected wherever they are. But can this be used to connect with your channel partners to replace other traditional communication methods?

 

‘Workplace’ embodies all the traditional Facebook features such as a news feed, the creation of sharing in groups, Facebook live, reactions, search, trending posts, as well as being able to communicate with colleagues in real time. Users however won’t be allowed to use their personal account, meaning they will need to set up separate Workplace account. Is this a bold move too far or have they hit on something that’s quite genius?

 

Does it fit?

 

Traditionally, channel marketers mainly focus on Twitter and LinkedIn to promote their brands message to partners, with Facebook appearing less appropriate for B2B interactions and more for pleasure. And for communication purposes many companies will have either created a LinkedIn group for communicating with their colleagues/channel partners or alternatively and more likely will have access to a portal, forum or intranet to house all their communication needs. This I am sure you agree sounds the more secure, easier option. So with this in mind where is this tool expected to fit and can it improve communications to channel partners?

 

Integration potential

 

Is there an opportunity for organizations to replace existing internal messaging systems and integrate this platform into their communication stream? The need for portals to house tools, and other pivotal resources is steadily becoming more and more important. So, can ‘Workplace’ be integrated into existing portals to replace company forums or Intranets?

 

6 questions you should ask yourself

 

  1. Is it cost effective? – It’s no big secret that getting entire teams to sign-up to the latest productivity tool is no easy task. However, due to the familiarity of Facebook, the adoption rate could potentially be a lot higher, being very effective, when compared with Intranets or Portals.

 

  1. Are your channel partners of the social media generation? The interesting thing about channel marketers is that in my experience, their social media knowledge and footprint tends to be rather limited. For this reason, will this audience find workplace easier to use, over familiar intranets, forums or professional networking tools? In my opinion no.

 

  1. Will I need to invest in other products? – Workplace, other than forums will not really replace your current tool investments. Its single sign on ability means that it can be integrated within your portal, but you will still have to invest in a portal, intranet and any other communication methods you currently use. For this reason you probably won’t save any money from using this tool.

 

  1. Is it scalable? – The platform is hugely scalable; it can develop and grow as fast or as slow as your business. However, will it really be for global brands who sell indirectly to customers and have a multitude of partner tiers?

 

  1. Can users be synchronized with other data platforms? The main challenge I come across day after day is data! Tell me now, do you have the same number of partners signed up to your portals, forums, email newsletters and social media amplification tools? I bet the answer is no! So, unless data can be transferred straight into workplace how can you begin to know who to enable to use this tool? And how can you ensure they all sign up to use it? If they don’t, it will mean you’re not communicating with all your channel partners, requiring you to communicate your message elsewhere as well.  This is where it becomes a challenge to manage!

 

  1. Is communication functional? – One of Workplaces major benefits is the ability to communicate between organizations, so the potential for vendors to communicate to their channel partners is certainly a possibility. But once again with brands often having hundreds of partners globally, each with their own languages, they will all require their own silos/Facebook group. Imagine having to reply and send a message to every silo separately and knowing that because not every partner has signed up to workplace, a proportion will not even see your content. With this in mind, how can communication ever become consistent? And let’s not forget all your partners will have access to your new feed meaning it is highly likely half of the content won’t even be relevant to them.

 

So, does Workplace ‘work’ for you and your sales partners?

 

We can’t ignore what separates Facebook from the crowd is a familiarity that can’t be rivalled and the the user experience is tried and tested.

 

So yes, the basic technological and theoretical foundations of this social network can be used as internal communication purposes, but at what scale? I can’t deny it doesn’t have some strong features which I’m sure are hugely beneficial for smaller scale, less complex brands with simple data systems. But in my opinion taking advantage of other more targeted tools specifically designed for improving and providing targeted communication for each partner is what should be invested in. After all, who wants to mix business with pleasure?

07 December – How to expand your audience on Social Media

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Social media, there’s no denying, can be (when done correctly) a very effective method for reaching a wider audience. But how can you ensure you’re taking full advantage and are using the right platforms and methods to drive the best results?

 

I was recently joined with Ian Moyse,  a well-known Sales Leader who has a huge social media presence, being rated 2016 and 15’s #1 social influencer on cloud, and #1 on ITSM ,  featured in many social selling leaders reports and has even advised many businesses on how to play the social media game. Here, Ian shared his tips on how to expand your social media presence.

 

  1. What to consider

 

  • Influencing buyers – With 75% of b2b buyers using social media to research a vendor (IDC) and 57% of the buyers journey being done before a sales rep is contacted (CAB), the power of social really has evolved. Ian even points out that incremental decisions are being made, based on content shared through social media. ‘That wouldn’t have happened even 10 years ago,’.

 

  • Transparency – The buyer and influencer dynamic has evolved. Anyone now has the ability to find out everything about, you, your brand, your products, what others think of you, and from this make a decision. It’s therefore more important than ever to portray yourself in the best way possible, across any mediums where they may find you, to sway their buying decision.

 

  • What are your goals? – It’s not enough to just want to be a part of social media because you’ve heard at an event it’s ‘good’, you need to think about what it is you want to accomplish and where you want to go. As Ian says ‘If you don’t know where you want to go, I can’t tell you which route to take.’ Possible goals could be; to generate leads, to appear more established than you are, to gain a wider regional reach or to be seen as a thought leader.

 

  1. Who are your audience?

After you’ve identified your goal, you then need to consider who is your audience. Examples include:

 

  • Customers- End customers
  • Channel partners- Spread your message onwards to their customer base.
  • Analysts- To become recognized in your field
  • Journalists- To create an online buzz and get your brand out there
  • Influencers- To improve the reputation of your business

 

  1. How do you engage with your audience?

Social media is open 24 hours a day so posting once a day will not be enough to grab your audience’s attention.

 

What a lot of thought leaders do is they repeat their content. To do this though you need to have a wide content library. As Ian says ‘What are the chances your audience are going to see it 50 times’?  Social Media is a transient form, no one is sat watching you all the time. Like a TV advert the same ad runs on different channels at different time again and again!  You need to engage the same on social.  Have a mix of good content you can re-use and perhaps post a blog, twice a day, each day at different times across 2 week’s! You want to have as many people as possible to; see it, engage with it and share it on to their audiences! Using a social automation tools will allows you to schedule these in advance to go out at varying times.

 

Social media has the word ‘social’ in the title for a reason. It’s all about communicating with your audience and starting up conversations. By this Ian does not mean, sending them something one off. The relationship needs to be constantly nurtured to keep them interested, whilst encouraging engagement.

 

More than that though, it’s about sharing content that will be of interest to them.

 

  1. How do you grow your audience?

 

  • Focus- Do not be fooled into thinking you need to be on all social networks. If your business does not lend itself to visual display, why have an ‘Instagram’ account? Yes, it’s a huge player in the market, but perhaps not for your industry. Instead focus your efforts on a few social networks suited to your industry. Why not assess your competitors’ efforts and which ones they use?

 

  • Take advantage- Hashtags, keywords, Twitter lists, LinkedIn Groups, are all great ways of attracting your audience’s attention. Spend some time researching these and see how you can take advantage of them. I would highly recommend conducting social listening to see how others are using these effectively. If you can identify a relevant niche not yet served then consider creating a LinkedIn or Facebook group and adding connections/ thought leaders in that space to it. This is a method Ian has found particularly beneficial for starting conversations, engaging his audience and sharing content (Ian’s group now has over 33k members and is continuing to grow consistently!)

 

  • Social Selling- As Ian says ‘people talk to people. They don’t like to feel they’re talking to a bot. To do this you need to take advantage of your sales people and give them training on how to use their social media accounts effectively, for building and engaging with prospects. With 57% of the buyers’ journey occurring before a sales rep is contacted, building your employees online presence is a great way of influencing buying decisions.

 

  • Thought leaders- Do you have influencers, senior level employees or experts in your field that you could be leveraging on social media? This is also another great way of increasing your social media presence, building trust and adding a humanized element to your messaging as well.

 

  • Useful tools- Here are some great tools which Ian Moyse recommends using for improving your social media performance and efficiency:

-Fiverr- Creative marketplace for finding digital services such as creating great profile imagery and social animations cheaply

-Ezgif- Converts videos to GIF’s to make content and is a bit more social media friendly.

-Social media automation tools- To schedule relevant posts to your audience all at once.

-Commun.it- A tool to analyze engagement on Twitter & Facebook and to help you re-engage

 

The main trick is to constantly look for small gains and try to keep up to date with the advancements. ‘I am constantly looking for ways to make social media that bit easier for myself or ways to make me look a bit more professional. Its’ all about those 1% gains, they all add up.’

 

Ian shared some extremely useful tips in here, too many in fact for me to mention within this blog post, so here’s the full version of our ‘Expanding your Social Audience’ webinar. Please do follow us @purechannelapps and @imoyse on Twitter and feel free to ask us some questions.

02 December – Free social partner/employee profile analysis

 

 

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Do you know how active your channel partners, employees and other influencers social media profiles are? What training do they need to become successful social sellers? Have you considered enabling them to share your brand content out through their networks?

 

purechannelapps is offering 10 lucky businesses a free of charge analysis.

 

The package includes:
Social media profile analysis of 100 users. You will find out:
• Social networks they use
• How many posts they create a week
• Number of retweets/ shares a week
• How many followers
• Amount of competitor content they’re sharing
• Social media accounts on their website (if relevant)

 

From these results, we can then suggest useful social training, tools, tips, tricks to help your brand advocates amplify your brand message in a consistent way on a global basis to achieve results that will put other marketing initiatives to shame, that’s for sure.

 

Offer ends 23rd December.

 

Register Today

07 July – Socially enabling your channel partners

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One of the most common challenges channel marketers face is that channels all have such varying levels of marketing knowledge and resources. It is therefore not surprising that finding the time to do social media is way down their priority list.

 

So with this in mind, how can you begin to build a social media programme that supports all your channel partners’ needs?

 

Well, at The Channel Meet Up event on the 16th June I asked a number of industry thought leaders to share their views on this specific issue:

 

  • Andy Hill, Head of Digital Mastery at Xerox
  • Louise Hunter, Senior Marketing Manager, EMEA Partners & Commercial, Juniper Networks
  • Neil Walker, Senior Channel Marketing Manager, EMEA PFU (EMEA) Limited – a Fujitsu company

 

The main challenges recognised

 

  1. Aging issue

Neil Walker believes the reason some channel partners show a lack of interest towards social media is because the decision makers in the company are over the age of 40, and do not recognise the impact that social media could have on their businesses success.

 

  1. Social media strategy

Louise Hunter recognises that even though some channel partners do not have a social media strategy, they and their employees are still posting to social media. They are trying to gain some exposure in the social media sphere, but unfortunately they are not always posting the right way, to really benefit their brand.

 

  1. Consistency

Encouraging channel partners to be socially active provokes other challenges too, namely consistency, as pointed out by Louise Hunter. The last thing you want is for your image to be affected or for false information to be shared.

 

  1. Language

Another common issue, which Louise Hunter raised, was the need for content to be created in a variety of languages to appeal to audiences across multiple markets. We can all see the importance of this for attracting a wider audience, but it’s easier said than done right?

 

Solutions from the experts

 

  1. Educate your partners

Andy Hill feels that educating channel partners on the power of social media and how to use it effectively is half the battle. Only then will they be driven to socially enable your brand. This can be executed through a carefully designed training program which suits all capabilities, ensuring channel partners are at the same level, and understand the power social media can bring to their business.

 

  1. Create a plan for channel partners to follow

Whilst instilling social media into your channel partners’ lives, Louise Hunter also recommends encouraging them to set up a social media calendar for sharing content daily. By doing this Louise has discovered that channel partners are more likely to share your content as they will rely on your content to fill up their social media calendar.

 

A plan also gives your channel partners a direction to follow, encouraging them to remain on board with your program. Without a plan they could quickly fall back into old habits of inconsistent and ineffective posting, which won’t benefit either party.

 

With regards to creating content, Andy Hill recommends posting 80% industry content and 20% brand content. As Andy says, “If you just talk about yourself no-one will be interested, that’s why you need to mix it with a reasonable amount of industry content.”

 

  1. Encouraging consistency

Brand guidelines as well as training go hand in hand for minimising consistency issues, as pointed out by Andy Hill. I personally also recommend deploying a social media advocacy platform, such as our own socialondemand where content created by you is sent to channel partners, who then in less than three clicks, share your content to their social media accounts, as if it came directly from themselves. This not only makes it easier for channel partners to maintain a social presence, but it also minimises the opportunity for inconsistency to occur.

 

When Neil Walker, Louise Hunter and Andy Hill first deployed socialondemand into their organisations they all ran a pilot test, whereby they only made this tool available to a small proportion of their audience. This way they could test the functionality and effectiveness for their brands requirements, whilst establishing whether they are likely to receive a return on investment.

 

  1. Language

When operating in a multitude of countries, each with their own language, Andy Hill who has successfully resolved this challenge recommends that you request, for example, the French team to create their own content to share with their French partners. This way they can provide targeted, engaging content specifically designed for the audience in that country, thus improving their appeal to a wider audience.

 

Hopefully these thoughts and tips will prove useful. That’s what makes The Channel Meet Up great. It gives us all the opportunity to share our wisdom, as well as hear other success stories. Want to attend the next one? Click here for more information. If you cannot wait and want to find out how to socially enable your channel partners now (or employees for that matter), just give me a ring!

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

10 June – Social media through the eyes of channel partners

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There is no denying that your channel partners see social media as extremely valuable for increasing their overall online presence. The questions we need to ask ourselves are multiple; Are your channel partners really equipped to manage it effectively? And are you, the vendor, providing enough social media support?


We interviewed a number of channel partners, namely Benjamin de Vries and Terry Knight from Professional Document Solutions, Toni Gibiino, Marketing Director at Office Solutions Ltd and Graham Compton, Director of Business Edge Technologies, to hear their views. Like to listen to their live discussion? Click here.


Social media – how critical is it?
Social media has become a fundamental activity for driving increased brand engagement, and unsurprisingly channel partners share the same view too, seeing it as a way to be easily found digitally.


Toni states: ‘It’s like having a shop front; you don’t necessarily need to have an attractive shopfront. As long as it looks attractive online they tend to validate your business based on this.’


Research by Sirius decisions backs this up perfectly, showing 67% of the buyers’ journey is spent online and on social media. So without an active social media account or online presence, buyers could look elsewhere, even to your dreaded competitors!


Benjamin and Terry have seen the benefit in using social media as a way to drive traffic to their own website, generating interest this way, and being seen as industry thought leaders. They also have another very interesting tactic, as Terry explains: ‘Anyone that lands on our website we can re-market to. Our goal is to try and get them back to our website.’


This is a fantastic method for keeping potential buyers aware of your brand offerings, hoping to sway their purchasing behaviour.


What social network(s) to focus on?
Obviously this is highly dependent on the industry you are in, and whether you are in the B2B or B2C space. But for these channel partners, who are all in the B2B space, the social network they favour is LinkedIn, although Twitter generates a lot of clicks!


LinkedIn is our biggest means of generating opportunity, and we focus on training our staff to interact socially with people on LinkedIn’, says Toni.


When determining the type of content to focus on, video creation is recognised to be the best method for receiving high engagement, with Terry reporting ‘Videos have been the best, with over 100,000 views.’ Toni further goes on to say ‘People do not want to read huge great articles, when they can watch a 30 second video, and get the crux of it very quickly.’ For this reason, Toni will be focussing a lot of his marketing budget on this.


Our challenges?
As you can imagine, time, content and resources are all limited, with many channel partners not having a dedicated team or even person to manage their social media accounts. Graham can relate to this, ‘Trying to find the right person to post the right piece of media is really time consuming and difficult to achieve, that’s why we love socialondemand because it does a lot of the work for us.
Having a platform to support your channel partners’ limitations, such as their online exposure, is a great way to not only become their preferred supplier of choice, but also to increase your own reach and revenue potential.


Ben further goes on to say, ‘Xerox socialondemand produce some really great content and it’s really easy to share.’ For Ben, socialondemand minimises the challenge they face of finding and creating great content to share on social media, enabling them to maintain and build their online presence.


For me, this webinar was extremely insightful and I would highly recommend tuning in to discover just how you can better support your channel partners, to achieve the exposure you and your channel partners’ desire, via social media.
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By Olivier Choron
CEO and Founder of purechannelapps
Find me on LinkedIn

25 May – Who are your social advocates?

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There’s a lot of talk in the social media world about employee advocacy; the act of your employees sharing brand content through their own social media accounts. The popularity of employee advocacy programs stems from its proven ability to drive increased leads and awareness for and of the brands.


A study by LinkedIn in March 2016 uncovered that employees receive 2x higher click through rates than their employer sharing the same content. With results like this, it’s not surprising that employee advocacy is going down a storm.


Furthermore, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family when making a buying decision (Nielsen). So if sharing brand content through other advocates can further influence buying decisions then it’s massively worth it.


The question is, which other advocates other than your employees could you be utilising more effectively and how can this be implemented?


Sales partners
If you sell indirectly to customers such as through channel partners – resellers, retailers, and wholesalers – why not involve them in your advocacy program and enable them to share your social media content too? By doing this they will grow their online presence, whilst enabling you, the brand, to increase your potential reach, thus benefiting both parties. And who knows a lead may even be generated.


From a recent survey we conducted with Microsoft’s partners, 80% said they lacked time to post content on social media, with a further 68% saying they lacked content to share. So by enabling your partners to share your content, you are actually helping them resolve this issue.


Employees
I’m not going to go into too much detail about employees, but what I will say is, don’t just limit the sharing of content to your marketing team. This is where businesses go wrong. Encourage all employees to share your content. Yes, not all content will be of interest to all employees, but by using a sophisticated social media platform you can categorise the type of content and choose who to send it to. An example being product news to the tech department, or commercial content to your sales team(s). You do not need to share the same content to all employees, tailor it to their interests, as this way you will receive a higher number of employees sharing your content on social media.


Customers
Enabling customers to share your social media content is a really interesting one. Everyone loves to look at reviews before making a purchase decision. So if you encourage your ‘best’ and most proactive customers to share your content, you can effectively achieve the following:
• Sway buying decisions and drive increased leads
• Increase brand reach
• Create brand loyalty


Influencers
Influencers cover a full spectrum of individuals. This can include celebrities, industry thought-leaders or in general anyone who likes your brand and can affect an individual’s decision. You do have to be a little careful here though as you do not want to make it look false. It is important that it comes across as if they are sharing your content due to their genuine interest and loyalty to your brand, not because of a monetary reward. If this is the case it will be so obvious to all, and you might as well not have bothered.


Invest in the right program
An interesting statistic I have just seen states that 83% of organizations view advocacy/reference contributions as critical or important, yet most advocacy programs receive just 10%of marketing program dollars’ (Sirius decisions). For this reason, it’s important to do your research and find the right program for your brand, to prove its value and transformational ability, encouraging further investment in the future.


So yes it’s time, if you haven’t already done so, to encourage your employees to share your content on social media, but while you’re at it you might as well enable all of your advocates to share your content too. This way you will reach a far greater audience and receive the recognition you’ve always dreamed of.


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

09 May – Why a social advocacy mobile app is a must for this year

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Social advocacy, I’m sure you’ll agree, will be huge this year whether it’s through employees, influencers or channel partners. Utilising your advocates’ social media accounts is certainly the way to go to increase your overall reach.


Why social advocacy


Nielsen reported that 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family when making a buying decision. With this knowledge in mind, it is not surprising that the popularity of social advocacy has increased exponentially.


LinkedIn further discovered that if brand content is shared through advocates such as employees, it will receive 2x more clicks than content shared through the brand directly.


Encouraging social advocacy
But the question is, how do you encourage your advocates to share your content in the first place, when they have little or no time to do this at work? The answer to this is, make it as easy as possible for them, and create a mobile app for sharing your content, at a time or place that works best for them.


PCs are not really convenient for managing social media, especially if you want to be actively listening, communicating and responding to your audience. Let’s face it, it isn’t always convenient to perform these tasks during working hours. They quickly get put to the back of the priority list, leaving your social media brand content to be infrequently posted out through your advocates. Only by being socially active regularly and responding to engagement frequently will you really receive the results that you the brand and the advocates themselves desire.


Why a mobile app?
Tim Hughes’ (who works for Oracle and has a huge social presence) recent blog post on making time for social media highlighted the importance of fitting social media in and around your life. Whether that’s during your breakfast, on your commute to work, lunch break or even when you get home from work. It’s about fitting it into your day to day life.


With Facebook reporting that 73% of people always have their mobile device with them, a mobile app could make a significant difference to the success of your social advocacy program, and getting many more advocates on board posting your content.


Not convinced? Here are a few more stats to show just how important, and how much of a difference a mobile app for social advocacy could make to your brand.


Mobile usage:

  • Users pick up their mobile devices 150 to 200 times a day. This equates to 30 billion mobile moments each day. (Forrester)
  • Users spend an average of 1.8 hours on their smartphones every day, with mobile apps taking up the majority of that time. (Forbes)
  • More than 50% of mobile users pick up their phone immediately after waking up. (Deloitte, 2015)
  • Users spend 84% of their time each month in five or fewer apps. (Forrester)
  • The proportion of 4G users jumped from 8% to 25% in the last year. (Deloitte, 2015)


    With this in mind, if you created a mobile app, the posting of brand content could easily fit into and become part of your advocates’ daily routines. They could then; post content, monitor their activity, conduct social listening and engage with their community as and when it suits them. Only by doing this will they receive the 2x higher CTR that LinkedIn reported.


    Popularity of mobile vs PC’s 2016


    Gartner recently reported that PC shipments have fallen 9.6% in the first quarter of 2016, due to many consumers now conducting a high proportion of online activity on mobile devices, reducing the demand for computers.


    The chart below, created by Global Web Index highlights the expected increase of time spent on mobile devices, and the predicted fall of PC/ laptop/ tablet usage per year.


    Global web index


    Many brands are now trying to take advantage of this knowledge by developing an app to improve the efficiency and ease of their employees’ day to day tasks.


    Why bother turning on a PC, tablet or laptop, when you can do exactly the same activity on your mobile, the device you most likely have with you anyway? Especially with social media, the community that is always active. You need to be able to respond to engagement and act accordingly as and when necessary. Creating posts and sourcing content maybe more convenient to advocates out of working hours, perhaps on their commute or before work. By providing that flexibility you can suit all individuals’ preferences.


    From the chart below, you can clearly see that 61% of businesses have invested in mobile apps within the last 12-18 months. This indicates that many organisations are embracing this technological development and are recognising its importance for their brand.


    Mobility solutions invested


    So don’t fall behind; it’s time to invest in a social media advocacy mobile app to revolutionise your program and encourage further adoption and engagement from your advocates. Only by making it simple for your advocates will they truly want to be on board and in fact stay on board.


    This is something we have recently invested in ourselves and we’re pleased to say, it will soon be available for our customers. We foresee that this will drastically increase the adoption of social advocacy for many brands. We can’t wait to see the results. Stay tuned!


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

  • 20 April – KPIs for measuring employee advocacy

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    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.


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    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.


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    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.


    picture-12999
    By Olivier Choron
    CEO and Founder of purechannelapps
    Find me on LinkedIn