Engaged Employees Build Engaged Customers - How Does Addvocate Help You Engage?
Engaged Employees Build Engaged Customers
Engaged employees are one of an organization's biggest assets. So what is an engaged employee?
- Engaged employees produce twice as much work product in the same time as unengaged employees.
- 40%-80% of customer satisfaction is directly affected by employee attitudes, according to the National Business Research Institute.
Great brands such as Southwest Airlines, Apple and IBM have achieved their success in part by focusing on employees first, and customers second. They put great effort into building employee engagement. They empower their teams to be proactive and solution oriented. When employees are engaged they tend to also be happy and they do what all people do: they actively tell other people about what they are interested in. Engaged employees become brand advocates and reach out to and build engaged customers, and they are using social media tools to do this in ever increasing numbers. And customers are listening.
With the ubiquity of social media an organization's brand is being affected and influenced more than ever by what customers are saying about the brand. (not what the brand is saying about itself) And those customers are increasingly saying it using social media. Customers of all types (B2B and B2C) trust individual recommendations up to 5 times more than that which comes from the brand itself.
In other words, people trust other people, not brands.
"With 'friend-of-mine awareness', you seek to have the prospective customer allow you inside their circle of trust, where you become more than just a purveyor, but rather a valuable resource.
Employees are a natural and more easily trusted bridge between your company and your customers. Who knows more about your brand than the people who work for it?
When you help your employees become engaged they can then turn into positive and effective brand advocates. This is where the magic lies.
Think about all of the employees in your organization? Assume that most, if not all of them are on some sort of social network at least daily. Assume that each of them has an average of 300 connections or influence points (Facebook friends, Twitter followers, Interest fans etc). Even a mid sized company with around 100 employees quickly has a team reach of 30,000 influence points. How does that compare to your actual brand's fans or followers base? Typically the total reach of a brand's employees is at least 10x the brand's own reach and there is often very little overlap. And if you have more employees or more active and connected ones this number grows exponentially.
Engaged employees are twice as productive and they are responsible for up to 80% of of your customers overall brand satisfaction.
So why aren't more organizations actively engaging their employees to be brand advocates?
The typical reasons stated by organizations for not engaging employees:
- Believe it has little to no effect
- Takes too much time
- Lack of effective tools and processes
- Lack of measurement and ROI
- Unsure how to go effectively manage process
Often, it boils down to a foundation of disbelief and misunderstanding about the power of employee advocacy and the social media networks themselves. But after that, the main roadblocks are the concern that it takes too much time and there is no way to effectively manage this engagement. And for many years this was true. There were no comprehensive tools built to allow a brand to efficiently and effectively grow social engagement amongst its employees.
Luckily that is changing quickly. There are bright people out there who saw the problem, believed in the benefits of engaged employees and built compelling solutions that give organizations a brilliant set of easy to use, highly effective and completely measurable tools to empower and help build engaged employees and allow them to actively share their enthusiasm and your brands story to their social networks.
The Rise of Employee Advocacy Solutions
There are a growing number of amazing tools to engage and empower employees. Solutions such as Branderati
, Everyone Social
are leading the charge. Addvocate was one of the first solutions in this growing space and was founded by the former CMO of Salesforce.com, Marcus Nelson. Addvocate is a SaaS solution that enables an organization to actively identify, amplify, measure, optimize and govern employee engagement on social media and build that much sought after 'friend of mine awareness and influence'. It is a straightforward, flexible solution to grow your employees engagement and hopefully turn the into brand advocates.
Addvocate allows you to monitor and improve your brand's social presence by making it easy for your employees to share interesting content, and simple for you to measure and gamify that enhanced reach.
How does it work?
First you identify your employee network:
Employees opt into the Addvocate system and set up a simple profile, showing you exactly who represents your brand on social media. (Note that it is entirely opt-in and the organization never has access to employees passwords or other private account information) You can create groups, search by group, name, twitter account, department and even skill set to get a comprehensive and customizable overview. This organization and management makes it pretty easy to track who on the team is active, how many people they're engaging, and how each person ranks within your organization. (gamification rocks!)
Now both the brand and employees can amplify content
When an employee (the community or social manager as well as all other employees using Addvocate) finds something interesting or relevant online, they simply click the Addvocate extension in their browser toolbar to suggest the post to coworkers, add a brief description of what the content is and why it's relevant. A crucially helpful tool is the “Note to coworkers” field where you can put notes to add additional context or value to the content. (This does NOT get shared on social media but it gives often much needed relevance and engagement)
This turns the entire organization into active, engaged social media mavens. People trust other people and want to share what they share. As employee advocates browse their streams, they can choose what they want to share with their connected networks, comment on other advocate's posts, and continue the conversation by suggesting other relevant content. The limitation in this format, like most every other tool, is that they do have to engage in the Addvocate stream to participate.
Optional Moderation (enterprise version only)
If your organization has a well defined social media policy (as all organizations should have today) and requires a bit more content moderation to keep messaging within policy and best practices bounds then the moderation features of Addvocate allow you to moderate and approve employee suggested posts. With the moderation feature all shared content goes into the moderation queue, where your moderators review and approve content to ensure only appropriate content is shared. (might result in fewer cute kitten videos but far more relevant content) Moderators can also schedule when promoted or shared posts enter the Addvocate stream, and recommend (promote) content to specific individuals, groups, or departments to encourage effective sharing. A similar but not as efficient result can be achieved by having an active user account in the non enterprise Addvocate system share approved content and make sure your employees know that any content coming from that trusted source is approved, timely, topical and relevant. (as simple as having the social media manager share content as the brand)
Measure and Optimize
It is crucial to measure and optimize your efforts in social marketing and Addvocate's built-in analytics do a good job of letting you track everything in the system, including built-in Addvocate short URLs and even campaign codes. These back-end analytics allow you to measure your total social reach and optimize content, timing, sharing and format to best achieve your goals and expand your reach.
Because of the opt-in nature and the powerful analytics you can find out exactly what your people are saying around your brand, how their social networks are receiving and responding to the content and who your organization's social superstars really are. (the results will surprise you!)
Due to the integrated analytics, Addvocate empowers you to create highly relevant content to capitalize on popular topics, track the most active and effective times and days, and focus relevant and timely content to your most influential employees. Of course it can also allow you to flood your network with too much content if you don't self monitor.
Governance (enterprise edition only)
One of the often ignored but more problematic issues of empowering employees to manage branded social media accounts is that they have the passwords and full access to those accounts and take them with them when they leave. This has resulted in quite a few rather famous incidents. In the enterprise edition of Addvocate there is a powerful set of features that allow you to control access to all branded accounts with credentials. Once the employee leaves the organization, these issued credentials immediately expire, allowing access protocol management to be a much simpler process. (no more endless google doc spreadsheets!)
A really cool and amazingly effective part of what makes Addvocate such an effective tool for growing employee engagement is the way they have integrated gamification tools into the entire system. It does not come across as gamey or silly but subtly inspires inter-organization competition and increases sharing and participation dramatically. This is a very clever and well thought out way to give people that little edge to encourage sharing and foster a sense of teamwork and fun. (although I do want to see more of this in future versions)
Addvocates pricing fits almost any budget. They have plans that start at $5 a user for the “Growing” organization to a “Workforce” plan that brings the cost down to about $3 a user per month for 100 users. The Enterprise suite features those more advanced promotion and governance features and is based on a site wide license. At prices like these
even the smallest organization can get started on the road to fully engaged and social media savvy employees.
Things I'd like to see
Although Addvocate has some great features there are of course some tings I would like to see added or improved.
1. Their website: it's 'de rigueur' hipster clean and landing page like. But it does not provide enough detail for those curious to see more details and benefits BEFORE signing up. I don't want to get ALL of my information after giving you my contact info.
2. It only has a chrome extension so users of firefox, safari etc are SOL. That's a bit 'chromeist'.
3. I would like to see the gamification options increased to include more engaging things like mini games, word of the day, contests etc. Obviously these can be done outside of the platform, but we are lazy and we shouldn't have to go back to workarounds. And not all of us are motivated solely by the leader board concept. Quality over quantity here.
4. Curated content options: other solutions like Everyone Social have very useful content curation features built-in that enable additional sharing vectors
EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT + CUSTOMER SATISFACTION = FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE
Employees are absolutely crucial in building and improving customer relationships, but in order to make it scale they need governance, guidance, training, policies and processes and effective tools.
“Trust has never been more important as a corporate asset, and it needs to be managed for people to believe the information you are putting out.” Amy Treanor, Edelman Square
Employee advocacy must be proactively managed and promoted - hoping it works does not cut it in todays highly crowded social media fueled world. Tools like Addvocate, Branderati and Everyone Social can help your company more effectively manage at least this aspect of engaging your employees and building brand trust and relevance. What you do with it is up to you. But remember your employees and customers are already actively talking about your brand on social media, with or without you.
With solutions like these there is no longer a valid excuse to not build engaged employees. Join the revolution and actively engage your employees. Your bottom line will thank you.