“How Employee Advocates Drive Real ROI” webinar in review

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a webinar hosted by Social Media Today on the power of employee advocacy.  Social media advocates are those who promote a brand or company because they believe in it.  Similarly, employee advocates promote their brand, but are not necessarily part of corporate marketing.  The objective of the webinar was to call out some of the benefits of employee advocacy and explore ways to successfully execute a advocate strategy. The panelists included Ted Rubin: social media strategist and thought leader and Sarah Goodall: social business lead at SAP.

Without getting into too much detail here are some of the key takeaways:

Why do Employees make the best advocates?

  • Authenticity – Employees know the company better than anyone and customers would rather hear from an individual than corporate marketing.
  • Employees connect with many people who otherwise may never hear about your company and 90% of people trust recommendation from people they know.
  • 50% of employees what to share information about their company. If they are going to do it anyway, give them the tools to send the right message
  • It would cost thousands to generate the views created by advocates AND engagement is better

Advocates

How to do it right

  • It starts with leadership. Management has to buy in and participate for others to follow suit.
  • It takes time. Give advocates time each week to be social (recommended 1hr)
  • Highlight the personal and professional benefits of social growth. Social media is a skill in demand.
  • Training is key. Provide detailed training on how to build a profile, a network, dashboards and more.
    • Great Quote “What if we train them and they leave? What if we don’t and they stay?”
  • Let people know they are being heard. Employees are also a great source of feedback.  Listen to what they are saying and enable them to engage customers
  • Reward People with access to executives, thought leaders, and knowledge sharing. The best content will come from those who are well informed.

You can listen to the recorded webinar here

http://www.socialmediatoday.com/webinar/how-employee-advocates-drive-real-roi

And read the social conversation on Storify

https://storify.com/socialmedia2day/smtlive-how-employee-advocates-drive-real-roi

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Total Customer Experience Day

I am now officially part of the EMC Total Customer Experience Communication team! That’s all the time I had to celebrate because I was then handed my projects.  My first big projects I have to work on is the preparation for Total Customer Experience day which is quickly approaching on October 7th.  For us TCE Day is about celebrating EMC’s customer centered culture.   It is the one thing that every employee can agree we have in common no matter what department you work for.

TCE Day Inside EMC Header

 

This is going to be a global event happening in 10+ locations in 6 countries.  Here is just a short list of different activities we have planned:

  • Executive Game Show – putting our big names on stage for TCE flavored games. Guaranteed to educate and embarrass!
  • Experience Analytics Expo – Putting our feedback insights on display with some touchscreen data visualizations
  • “You Define TCE” – This is an internal effort to collect as many stories from employees about how they impact the customer no matter where they are or what they do.  These stories will be shared
  • Surprise Guest – We have guest speaker(s) coming to EMC locations to speak about the importance of the people that support you customers, fans (hint hint!), or otherwise.
  • The entire EMC TCE organization will be available to talk about programs and processes ongoing and discuss new ideas

 

For all of this I have been asked to head up our social media marketing internal and external. This is a huge learning experience for me.  First and foremost is that knowing your tactical social media doesn’t mean you know squat about your strategic social media.  Need a comparison?

  • Just because I can:
    • write a blog/tweet/FB post/etc
    • assign searchable tags
    • attract views and followers
  • Does not mean I know how to:
    • Choose how many audiences to target
    • know how many social communications to send
    • know how many of which social channels to use

The biggest and oddest issue is internal vs external branding.  The Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) launched the first event last and named it CX Day. It’s a perfectly fitting name but internally all our branding and messaging is around TCE.  So to avoid any confusion internally we refer to it as TCE Day and externally it’s still CX Day.  Fun huh?  Over the next couple weeks I’ll have more on CX\TCE day so stick around and feel free to start your own celebration.

CXDay_Titled

Keeping the Positive Attitude

Silver award

One of the biggest things that anyone will tell you is that if you want more hits/like/retweets/etc. you need to have a positive message. I wholeheartedly agree. But then I look back at my posts and see that I didn’t put in the positivity that they deserved. Then I was looking at the award on my wall and realized this is more than just an ‘attaboy’. So this is a little reminder to myself on how far we have come.

Here is a list of things my team didn’t have before that we have now.  

  • User who participate on internal and external social media.  Better yet, many do so with no reminder.
  • A Total Customer Experience (TCE) website, every opportunity people have to find us is a good thing.  Not specifically social but it does link to our social content. 
  • Someone who is officially in charge of managing the TCE social media strategy.  Yup, that’s me.  A blessing or a curse it means we take social engagement seriously.
  • Engaged customers, partners, and employees.  Seen by the great participation in the TCE Ask the Expert session. (2200+ views, 42 replies)
  • A new look and branding for our TCE intranet page.
  • New co-conspirators: I’ve made some very unlikely alliances with the people i thought would fight the hardest against using social media
  • BIG PLANS – We have big plans for this year and next.  A list of blogs and engagement opportunities.

Our next big adventure? An entire day about our favorite topic. TCE!

TCEPaul2

Top Down AND Side to Side

As a communitwitter-announcement-557x342ty focused person I have this Utopian anarchist dream that we will all get along and ‘do the right thing’. Which of course really means ‘everyone do what I want you to’. You can see where this might cause some issues. In my time attempts to rally the troops to the new intranet platform I did not take into account that most people need to feel secure and supported especially in new ventures. I really needed to guarantee that adopting a new method would be seen positively by our managers. Let’s face it. At the end of the day you need to make your boss happy to keep your job and hopefully get that next raise. Here I was trying to convince folks we should use the free time that we really didn’t have to work on something that no one had been asked to do.top down

Now jump to the present.  Two good things did come out of those efforts.  First, everyone is now educated about the new platform and no one was surprised when it appeared.  Sometimes sustaining business as usual can be the goal.  Second, my efforts were noted by management.  I have now been officially assigned to the TCE communications team.  This means that I have slightly more clout than I did before.  More importantly I have the opportunity to get buy in from executive management.  That doesn’t mean that I stop explaining why our new platform is so useful of that I need the teams buy in.  What it means is that I can now effectively communicate up down and side to side.  That brings me just a little closer to that utopia that I am never going to stop hoping for.

Engage, Enable, Evolve

Engage, Enable, Evolve – This is the new mantra of the EMC Total Customer Experience team.  It is working it’s way into all of our communications.  And will be a point of focus at our EMC World TCE booth.E3

Engage the customer to understand their perspective

Enable them with new information and enable yourself with their feedback

Evolve to meet newly set expectations

Isn’t this a great idea for all of our interactions though?  Right now I am working to apply this to our TCE intranet page.  I covered the project in my last post.  I have engaged our teams in online discussions and brainstorming sessions on how we can make the page better and more efficient.  Next we have planned to enable them with drafts of team policies to cover what type of content we should share, how often it needs to be managed, and who is responsible for these actions.  Lastly we will evolve the page and our internal engagement model to meet user needs.  Sounds great right?

Things are always so much simpler in our minds though.  Our current sticking point is that so many potential users do not currently interact with the existing platform.  That means no one really has any feedback to give.  Learning a new interface is is not something people normally get excited about and it take the one thing nobody has, free time.

Thankfully leadership has agreed that a training session needs to happen.  I will have 30-40 minutes to go over the  platform, it’s functionality, and use cases.  Then I have to tell everyone it is changing.  I certainly don’t expect this to be easy.  I only hope that I can engage in some good discussion, enable new users to explore their options, and evolve a new plan for making improvements.

Talking about engagement feel free to make recommendations. 🙂

Hidden Gems

Hypothetical:

Your team has an issue that requires a tool. Your manager puts you in change of finding a solution.  You create a new tool or better yet you find a tool that time forgot and start using that.  What now?

For too many solutions that is the end of the story.   We hope that this solution gets shared with the team but sometimes it just gets posted to a Wiki or a tools repository, waiting patiently to be found.  What other ways can this can be shared? How do we socialize this idea?

  • Team Meetings: Whether you like them or not at some point there will be a team meeting.  Ask your manager if you can have a few minutes to explain what you have created or found.  Not only does it inform the team but it makes you look good to your boss that you want the team to grow.
  • Cross teams:  Tell people in other groups about what you have done.  Most tools can be re-purposed.  If you created a log collection tool for your product, the basics will probably work for another product.   If nothing else the next guy won’t have to get new images and symbols approved by corporate.
  • Companywide: Many big companies now have intranets or online tack boards.  Find the appropriate space for your idea and start a discussion.  Not only about how cool your find is but what else could be done to improve it and make it a company standard.

I manage an intranet page at my company called ACES (Advancing Customer Experience and Satisfaction).  The entire point of this page is exactly what I have mentioned.  Sharing tips, tricks, tools, and procedures that improve the customer experience.  That is not meant to be one sided either.  If you know of a tool that makes employee life easier, customers like to deal with happier employees.  I love a good win win.