“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

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. 🙂

The beginnings of a blog

I am in the process of getting my Masters of Science in Innovation Leadership.  Someone said they came up with that name by playing buzz-word Bingo, but hey, it got me to sign up.  In my classes we take a long look at projects, processes, and innovation.  This most recent class I was told it would be a good idea to blog about a project that I was working on.  I ignored that suggestion but now that the class is almost over I’m thinking it might not be a bad idea.

Since this blog was created to be about “being social” it makes sense that the project I’m going to dig into revolves around social networking.  This post is really just to mark the end of the random and the beginning of the mildly organized.  I hope you enjoy.

HootSuite point by point

<a href="

” title=”HootSuite point by point”>HootSuite point by point

I tried HootSuite once back when everyone had started talking about it. I just couldn’t get into it then and didn’t get the hype.  Since people have not stopped talking about it, I decided to ask my most trusted adviser “what are the benefits of HootSuite?”.  This is what Google returned.

FYI I have since refreshed my HootSuite account.

The Evolution of Business in Social Media

The Evolution of Business in Social Media

Thins brings up a great point. You can’t go halfway on social media and expect great results.  Social media is not about point in time interactions, it is about community and constant communication.  If you can’t bother to remember your customer’s name why should they remember the name of your company.