Employee Social Media Advocacy


I posted a tweet recently from my twitter account the other day and I wanted to share my thoughts behind this tweet with you.

The Tweet: https://twitter.com/ScottyTidwell/status/1070377123922305025

“It’s almost 2019, and brands still are not using their employees to amplify their social media messaging… IMO, it speaks volumes about a brand when it’s own employees won’t share their employer’s posts.  Your most prominent fans/advocates should always be your employees.”

After a few replies, it was apparent to me that I needed to write a blog on this subject as it’s one that is very dear to me as a former Community Manager, Director of Marketing, CEO, and now CMO.  I’m still blown away by how many brands are scared to death to engage with their employees when it comes to amplifying brand messaging on social media platforms.

We live in a digital and very connected world, and employers have taken a strange stance with company social media policies that make ZERO SENSE to me.  I’ve had the pleasure or pain, depending on how you look at it, overseeing several brand social media policies.  I’ll go back to talk about how I would handle this issue if it were left up to me in just a second, but first I want to touch on some of the ridiculous comments I’ve heard over the years from all angles in business to include C-Level Officers, in-house PR team members, and even contracted PR firms.

It usually starts with these words, “we must protect our brand on social media, therefore we shouldn’t allow employees to state they work for us publicly, and we don’t want them engaging with anyone on social media, account we only want one voice and that voice should be from the main branded accounts”.

Yeah, I wish I could tell you that I’m kidding, but I’m not.  I’m going to highlight a few stats below before wrapping all of this up in a simple statement for brands to take to heart.

Here are some stats for you to look over.

  • Brand messages reached 561% further when shared by employee’s vs the same words shared via official brand social channels (MSLGroup)
  • 79% of firms surveyed reported more online visibility after the implementation of a formal employee advocacy program. 65% said increased brand recognition. (Hinge Marketing)
  • Content shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than content shared by brand channels. (Social Media Today)
  • Leads developed through employee social marketing convert 7x more frequently than other points. (Marketing Advisory Network)
  • Earned media (press, word-of-mouth, peer-to-peer referrals) drives 4x the brand lift as paid media. (Bazaar Voice)
  • Peer-to-peer marketing is the leading driver behind 20-50% of all purchasing decisions. (McKinsey)
  • 73% of salespeople using social selling as part of their sales process outperformed their sales peers and exceeded quota 23 percent more often. (Aberdeen Group)
  • According to IBM, when a lead is generated through social selling or employee advocacy that lead is 7X more likely to close compared to other lead gen tactics. (Find and Convert)
  • Sales reps using social media as part of their sales techniques outsell 78% of their peers. (Forbes)
  • 91% of B2B buyers are active on social media. (IDC)
  • 64% of teams that use social selling hit quota compared to 49% that don’t. (Aberdeen Group)
  • 80% believe their sales force would be more effective and efficient if they could leverage social media. (Sales Management Association)
  • An employee advocacy program can drive 16% better win rates, 2x pipeline, and deliver 48% larger deals. (EveryoneSocial)
  • More than 80% of Americans say employee communication is key to developing trust with their employers. (Lexicon)
  • 74% of employees feel they are missing out on company information and news. (Trade Press Services)
  • 85% of employees said they are most motivated when management offers regular updates on company news. (Trade Press Services)
  • Use of social software by employees can improve productivity by 20-25%. (McKinsey)
  • More informed employees outperform their peers by 77%. (CEB/Gartner)
  • When companies use social media internally, messages become content; a searchable record of knowledge can reduce, by as much as 35%, the time employees spend searching for company information. (McKinsey)

So, with all of this fantastic data why are brands bullish on letting their employees have a voice and be social with the company that they are working for?  Why are employees signing social media policies that are telling them to stay the hell away from branded social posts and do not engage on social media with customers who are happy or sad with their user experience with their brand?

ALIENS BRO… ALIENS… seriously, it’s almost like everyone has forgotten about the ten golden rules of communication.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I’ll list them out now.

  1. Convey messages in a clear and effective manner.
  2. Use clear and unambiguous language.
  3. Use non-verbal methods of communication.
  4. Use repetition.
  5. Check understanding.
  6. Be warm and attentive.
  7. Show that you are listening.
  8. Be slow to pass judgment.
  9. Use silence appropriately.
  10. Check understanding.

Notice how “check understanding” is on here twice?  Yes, it’s that important to ensure that you are on the same page with the people you are talking too or the people that are talking to you.  I see so many brands get themselves in trouble account they are not following or do not understand how to apply these ten simple golden rules.

Scotty, we understand that you think many brands are not handling social media correctly, so… tell us what you would do?

First, be human… By saying be human, I’m saying allow human interaction to take place on social media platforms.  It should be 100% ok for an employee on social media to engage and amplify brand posts and the customers/users who are also engaging with the branded accounts.

Second, build trust… the data tells us that consumers are more confident in purchasing a product or service online if they can easily find key people who work for the brand on social media.  It’s like asking to speak to the manager directly without having to ask… you type your message to them and hit tweet/send/post/comment.

Third, train/educate… brands need to train employees how to handle certain situations on social media, employees need to know when they should forward something up the chain of command vs when they can simple like/share/reply.  Remember, the idea is to allow employees to be social and proud of their brand, to do this you will need plans that help ensure employees are seen as human, but also “on brand” when it comes to how they engage.

Lastly, be fun, be engaging, be active, be friendly, it is never ok to get it wrong for a customer, but it is always ok to try and empathize, sympathize, with them.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with social media policies at work! Comment or Tweet @ScottyTidwell



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