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Dec. 14, 2015

121: Everything You Wanted to Know about Employee Advocacy [PostBeyond Interview]

121: Everything You Wanted to Know about Employee Advocacy [PostBeyond Interview]

Today on the podcast, Neal is sharing an interview he did at the Social Tools Summit in San Francisco with Chad McCaffrey and Daniel Hebert of PostBeyond. Listen in as they talk all about employee advocacy. This episode is full of great reminders for any company thinking about establishing an employee advocacy program, reasons to start one, and tips to help convince your team or executives internally as to why it’s time to try it.

Key Highlights

[00:44] Introduction of Podcast Guest, Chad McCaffrey and Daniel Hebert

[01:45] How SHould Company View Employee Advocacy Now?

[02:43] What To Do Next After Launching Employee Advocacy Program

[05:23] Relevance of Content in Employee Advocacy Program

[07:16] Internal Involvement Needed For Successful Employee Advocacy Campaigns

[09:13] Engagement With HR Professionals

[11:05] What To Teach Employees To Think About Employee Advocacy

[12:35] Use Content To Fuel Relationships

[14:58] The Business Value of Employee Advocacy

[20:06] Final Thoughts

[20:45] Connect With Post Beyond

Notable Quotes

  • I think was really important today, to note that, you know, what is the training? What is the setup to actually even think about doing this? And so, I think we focus a lot on that, and I certainly haven't talked about in his session, but like, the planning the training, what actually has to go in ahead of time before technology gets involved is really important.
  • And one of the most important things to remember when employee advocacy is that it is an ongoing effort, it's not a one-off campaign.
  • It is one of the things that I think it's a mindset for most enterprises to start adopting, an always-on marketing strategy, versus a campaign-based marketing strategy.
  • I think when it comes to the con everything, the relevance is interesting across different areas. So people care about certain things, they're trying to hit their own goals. And so content certainly in social in general, it's very obvious that it feeds sort of everyone from the executive suite down to people on the on the ground level, if you think about it that way.
  • I think, you know, you have to tie it to marketing still, because that's where the communication is getting stirred up, and really stemming from the strategy. But if you build a partnership between them, I think with anyone that's doing this successfully right now and the maturity of what's going on, it's, it's tying those two together nicely. 
  • It's sort of a marketing person, but the employer brand, yeah, their focus. They're sitting kind of between the two, they're that bridge. And I think that's the key and you start to think about these things. Ultimately, it's the people it's culture, it's what's going to drive more people to business.
  • I think is the most beneficial to teach the employees to kind of sell this program to employees is that a program like this is really developed for building their personal brand.
  • So I think that's one important thing to think about, and how these conversations are truly created in a trusted way. And the reputations build one to one word of mouth is huge, and hugely important part, to starting that.
Transcript

Neal Schaffer:

Welcome to maximize your social actionable advice on how your business can maximize your social media presence. Now, the host of maximize your social, social media author, speaker, consultant, founder of maximize social business, to Social Media Center of Excellence, and the social tools Summit, Neal Schaffer. This is Neal Schaffer, and this is maximize your social coming you live well recorded, I guess, but live when I'm recording this from the social tool summit 2015, here in San Francisco. And with me today are two wonderful gentlemen that have flown down here from Toronto, Canada, from one of the leading employee advocacy platforms post beyond, well, you know, I'm gonna have each of them even though I could probably pronounce her name correctly. I don't want to chance it. So I'll have each of them introduce themselves to you. On my left is

Chad McCaffrey:

Chad McCaffrey, the Vice President of growth and customer success at postman. That was

Neal Schaffer:

like an American accent wasn't it? But on the opposite side of chat is

Daniel Hebert:

Daniel he beer, I run digital marketing at Pulse beyond.

Neal Schaffer:

Okay, he's trying to sound American there, but he has a distinct French accent. So gentlemen, today was day one, we had our session on employee advocacy, which, obviously, Europe CEO Ivan was a member of, but employee advocacy seemed to be a theme that, you know, permeated almost every session. You know, what, what, what's your take so far, and there were a lot of corporations up there, given their own experiences on unemployed advocacy. What sort of the state of the market for someone listening to this podcast? How should they be viewing employee advocacy? Now? Is it a must that every company is doing? Is it something that every company wants to do, but they haven't launched it successfully? Is it still on everybody's wish list? Where are we right now in North America? Chad go?

Chad McCaffrey:

It's a really good question. I think, you know, we work with so many different types of companies, which is awesome. And I think that, you know, today, it was very obviously, it's a very important topic. For everybody. I think the first session was very obvious that, you know, we're talking about enterprise social media in general. And what happened was, it started becoming very obvious that employee advocacy was the core of that, right? So these huge companies are trying to mobilize lots and lots of people. And there's a lot that goes on behind the scenes, I think was really important today, to note that, you know, what is the training? What is the setup to actually even think about doing this? And so, I think we focus a lot on that, and I certainly haven't talked about in his session, but like, the planning the training, what actually has to go in ahead of time before technology gets involved is really important. And that definitely showed to the,

Neal Schaffer:

there was another side outside of the planning that, that we talked about today, which is well, I launched my employee advocacy program. Now what, you know, after you launch it, you have content queued up, this is great a month later, it's like, holy smokes, I have no more content in the queue, and no one sharing it. No one's participating. What do I do now? Daniel?

Chad McCaffrey:

Yeah, so that's a really big challenge with anybody trying to do these programs, right. So it's, it's one of the things that we see all the time with clients, too, is that you get a lot of initial traction, and then things start to go down a little bit. And one of the most important things to remember when employee advocacy is that it is an ongoing effort, it's not a one off campaign. So you might set up set up your initial instance, or your initial program and loaded up with a ton of content. But unless you keep doing it, and unless you keep communicating to your employees, or unless you keep training your employees, you know, it's it's gonna drop off eventually. So it is one of the things that I think it's a mindset for most enterprises to start adopting, always on marketing strategy, versus a campaign based marketing strategy. And a lot of enterprises are just not there yet. So that's one of the things that they like one of the challenges that exist within the enterprise that they need to get through and think about this as an ongoing initiative that stems across departments and across regions, not just your marketing department running a campaign.

Neal Schaffer:

So true. I mean, I'm a member of a it's an influencer marketing initiative that's using an employee advocacy program. So you know, everyday we have great content for you to for you to curate, you know, you're already active in social why not share content. And then one day I noticed, like, there were, you know, normally on a day, they'd have like one or two new pieces of content, one day that like 15 different new pieces of content, they were clearly promotional, clearly campaign based, and this is like a fortune 50 global company. I won't name their name to protect the innocent, but I immediately, you know, close the tab that always had open and I even unsubscribe from the emails reminding me of content to share. So I totally get that as an employee. If that content isn't on. It's it's hard to get them to adopt to start But it's so easy for them to new out. Have you seen that? And how do you avoid that? I guess the answer is probably gonna come down to the content. But, you know, what have you seen in the market? Chad?

Chad McCaffrey:

Yeah, definitely. I think, you know, the hierarchy thing today was interesting. I think there was a bunch of questions and you know, ideas around how do you build like these huge 1000 Plus person organization?

Neal Schaffer:

Was that Andrew sports when CA Technologies talking about that, that triangle that pyramid are

Chad McCaffrey:

absolutely so, you know, I think when it comes to the con everything, the relevance is interesting across different areas. So people care about certain things, they're trying to hit their own goals. And so content certainly in social in general, it's very obvious that it feeds sort of everyone from the executive suite down to people on the on the on the ground level, if you think about it that way. And that's where the relevance comes in. I think when you're getting bombarded with continence on porn, do you personalization is something we focus on a lot? And how are you creating sort of program managers within the within the program. So certainly, there's leadership, there's governance, I mean, that's business, but being able to span sort of the control the program, or what contents can end up inside of the program needs to come from various areas in the business, it can't be strictly in marketing. And we talk a lot about sort of these non, like outside of marketing, right, marketing, communications is obviously the core, but there's so much monetary activity that happens with content outside of marketing. And I think that the big, the most successful ones that we've seen are ones that really utilize whether it's HR content, you know, recruitment, all these other flavors of content that are really going to drive those conversions and the deeper stuff that people are looking for. And so that's, I think, the important piece and hat, what we're seeing is that you've aligned that properly, and you get the right people involved out of the gate, you're going to see a lot more relevance and personalization, which is ultimately going to drive the results.

Neal Schaffer:

You know, it's funny, a company that I work with, wow, several years ago that actually sort of spawned the writing of maximize your social was power utility company. Well, actually not a power utility, a utility company. And when I started, you know, working with them on a social business strategy, I'm like, Well, you know, every stakeholder every department needs to be needs to be in the room. And so we have like, 15 different people in the room. And they all were from different departments, from public affairs, to HR to customer service, and what have you. So it would seem like employee advocacy is really has the same need, as you said, it needs to come from a variety of perspectives, a variety of departments. You know, Daniel, when companies reach out to you to begin, I'm assuming it's normally marketing, but how do you get sort of that involvement internally, from various departments that you need to be successful?

Chad McCaffrey:

Yeah, so for us, it's, it's usually starts with marketing, you're right, it's usually digital, or social, or some Department of Marketing, what we can easily do, because its employees involved, we can easily get HR looped in, right, as soon as we say, Hey, we're gonna help engage your employees, HR gets involved and gets interested.

Neal Schaffer:

So you're putting on the employee engagement hat now, very much.

Chad McCaffrey:

So you play that card, and you get, you get HR right away. And then there's the knowledge sharing the internal communications piece to it, right. So if you do that, and then all sudden get PR interested, you get the PR departments and the internal and corporate comms departments interested. And then on top of that, you you start saying, hey, content can be used to nurture relationships. And who builds the most relationships, it's your sales department. So all sudden, we angle the social selling angle. So we can usually round up at least marketing, PR sales and HR by playing these different angles. And when

Neal Schaffer:

you say PR, one of the internal communications if, if there's a specific, you know, I know in like the UK, a lot of companies will have specific internal communications department. So

Chad McCaffrey:

yeah, so as for PR, that's, that's essentially who we move in is whoever would be involved in internal or corporate comms.

Neal Schaffer:

Chad, let me ask you, when you work with HR, so I work with a lot of companies. And it seems like HR in terms of the social media curve of adoption, although you have some very savvy social recruiters out there, HR seems to be a little bit late to the game, maybe I'm wrong. That's sort of been my impression. When you work with HR on employee advocacy as part of employee engagement. I'm someone who would almost argue HR should be at the forefront of employee advocacy, because it touches all the employees. What have you seen in your engagement with HR professionals so far for your customer success for postpaid customers?

Chad McCaffrey:

Yeah, I think, you know, you have to tie it to marketing still, because that's where the communication is getting stirred up, and really stemming from the strategy. But if you build a partnership between them, I think with anyone that's doing this successfully right now and the maturity of what's going on, it's, it's tying those two together nicely. So usually, in some, and some really, progressive companies actually have a role that's really focused on employer brand. It's sort of a marketing person, but the employer brand, yeah, their focus. They're sitting kind of between the two, they're that bridge. And I think that's the key and you start to think about these things. Ultimately, it's the people it's culture, it's what's going to drive more people to business. There's all these values that come from it. And so social, is obviously that that bridge between all of it. But that's what we see, I think with a lot of the companies are starting to carve out these new roles, which I think is really interesting. You know, certainly social and digital, it's all sort of marketing. But you know how HR comes into that, it's, it's just really important. And certainly when you're talking about engaging the employee, or the culture of the business they care about at the most. So making sure that's on their scorecard and ultimately, how that's going to support the internal communication has dimension. I mean, that's, that's the paramount importance to start, like having our people aware of what's even happening across all these areas of the business. And then sure, if they really truly want to become that brand, advocate, externally and be that spokesperson, that's we'd like them to be at the end of the game. But that start here, and HR is going to start that for us.

Neal Schaffer:

Awesome. So Jamie, I want to switch gears a little bit. What we heard today at many of the sessions was we need to think about the people behind the usernames and these are our employees that are actual people, and what are we going to do to get them active in our program, because we can invest a lot of money in tools like post beyond if no one's using it, we're not going to get any value out of it. Right? So from the employee perspective, how do you view employee advocacy? And how do you teach your clients to teach their employees to think about employee advocacy?

Chad McCaffrey:

That's a great question. Neon, one of the things that I think is the most beneficial to teach the employees to kind of sell this program to employees is that a program like this is really developed for building their personal brand. And a personal brand in this day. And age is really important. And just as an example, I'll kind of go with my past experience and stuff. I was really lucky that I've been both on the marketing side of employee advocacy. But I've also been on kind of a personal branding and employee side of employee advocacy. And one of the things that I've really been focusing on over time is building up that personal brand. So even when I was still in university, I was blogging, I was networking, I was building relationships.

Neal Schaffer:

And and I know you from that time as well. So

Chad McCaffrey:

exactly right. So it's it's funny how you and I are now sitting in the same room together and having this this discussion, but it really started with content and social media and building relationships and did one of my good buddies that used to be the founder of bundle posts, Robert Caruso, great guy, great guy, right. And he used to say this all the time content leads to conversations, conversations, lead to relationships, and relationships result in ROI. And I think that is so true, when you think about employee advocacy, or even content marketing in general, and how you social is that you are using content to fuel relationships. And just as an example, here, you know, Chad and I met two and a half, three years ago, through one of my first jobs at an early startup. And using content using social, we started interacting and building up a relationship. And you know, two years later, I started working at post me on through that relationship we met a couple times face to face when you know, I was visiting people in Toronto, and we kept that relationship going. And we always had a Content Exchange. And we were always fueling each other's knowledge and always kind of having these these conversations. And now we're working together. And we're building this company together, which is something like exactly what, like Robert said, this relationship is resulting in ROI.

Neal Schaffer:

You know, today, we had a lot of people from corporations speaking about, not just employee advocacy, but social in general. But Shane McLaughlin from Walmart, I think, had a lot of great advice. And that advice was really look at the content that your employees want to share. You know, you talk about personal branding. For some people, the ROI was like a 10 cent discount or a 10% off coupon or whatever it is, whatever it might be that there is value in sharing content with your network. So I think for the savvier professional, they understand the value professional personal branding, but even for those that don't understand that they're still content that their network would appreciate. And I think, you know, one of the things we've talked about today, or that the panelists talked about today was the fine tuning or tweaking of your content, so that everyone in the organization would have something they'd find, you know, that they'd want to share. Chat on that note, I want to shift the focus to the business value of employee advocacy. One of the things I like to tread in your panel today and one of the things that people brought up was you know, love the price point of a Hootsuite and, and obviously, you're dealing with enterprises where the price point is very different. But on the other side of price is the ROI. And just like social media monitoring software in the old days, you know, everyone and anyone needed it, and now it's like, well, do I really need it? You know, employee advocacy software is something that every company needs now to scale. But at the end of the day, there's still a need to deliver ROI. When you talk with Cloud about the business value of employee advocacy, what where does the conversation go?

Chad McCaffrey:

Yeah. So there's a couple of main things I talked about on that front for sure. I think obviously, there's the kind of the website analytics discussion. And I think it's interesting the the maturity of that within different enterprises, and what they're actually looking at what they care about, what we're really thinking a lot about, sort of from that we'll talk about online first, with the online perspective, certainly the funnel, what they consider that to be conversions, you know, these certain terms were really in a nutshell, what is the goal? What are they trying to get people to opt into, you know, to be into marketing, automation, some of these other tools out there, it's a very connected and interconnected space. So we've worked a lot on that I think integrations are hugely important part of this and any vendor that you're working with, it's very important that they connect to your business in that way. So you know, in a b2b context, obviously, sort of the funnel to say a salesperson more of a complex situation, it would come from social advocacy, to a website, it's a trusted piece of traffic, that then converts into sort of marketing automation, people get drip campaigns and great content from there. And then ultimately, to a salesperson that close the deal, six months, 12 months down the road. That's kind of what that road would look like. So I think that's one important thing to think about, and how these conversations are truly created in a trusted way. And the reputations build one to one word of mouth is huge, and hugely important part, to starting that. The other thing that I think a lot of but I think is outside of the box a little bit is actually the offline conversations. So we obviously this isn't going to be tracked in any plot form, it's not gonna be thought about through analytics. But, you know, we train a lot of mass sales teams, you know, a field sales, you're, you're aligning marketing and sales, which is a big part of certainly advocacy in our discussions. But the idea that a sales person always has to be on their game, right, you have an offline and online persona, you're trying to match the two together. So you're kind of talking a lot. And that's sort of something we talk about a lot. But you have this online persona that's always working for you. It's almost like this virtual assistant and actually working on like a kind of a blog post idea for this. But the idea that, you know, some people use virtual assistants from overseas and certainly familiar with that, and how, you know, a different time zone, and there's people doing work for you while you're sleeping. That's an interesting concept. But it's sort of the same way with your LinkedIn profile and your Twitter profile, this is always on people can see this when you're sleeping, it's doing work for you. And I think as not only a sales person, but a business person, that is very high leverage thing to invest in. And I think that's something we're really teaching people is this, how can that fuel these offline conversations you're having. And then on the knowledge side of it, obviously, I have content. And it's put together by really smart people in my organization, I'm looking to live and breathe out every day, but it's in front of me, and I can read it, and I can consume it. And ultimately, I can talk to my peers about it, my prospects, my potential clients in meetings, that's where business is always going to happen. And so I think the more that you can educate yourself in a scalable way across the enterprise, or any business, that's kind of the goal and in a sort of broader view, or broader lens of looking at this, but those are the two things we think about, certainly from tying down to true business value, and what is the value of your people being smarter, being sharper on top of their game, when they meet with that prospect, and they have 20 minutes to really get the point across. That's, that's interesting, right. So that those are some of the things we're thinking about, but certainly tie it down to the analytics. And what they're trying to do on the digital side is, is there and you know, whether it's Google Analytics, or, you know, their marking automation, we make sure that fits in their business,

Neal Schaffer:

as funding. So I remember a conversation I had with a client of mine, and it was a CEO of basically a gardening company. And he was talking about, well, you know, what's the ROI of all this? And it's a company that spent a lot of money on paper advertising, like in local magazines, what have you, what's the ROI of that local magazine advertising? And he goes, Well, I can't really measure it. And what's amazing about social is, I mean, it's digital. So it's extremely measurable, as you talked about, and I'm sure that with posts beyond, there are ways of sending out content that makes it even, you know, my newly measurable down to the person sending out the content. So, but also that personal branding side, I think there's a lot of, you know, anything you do in social media, there's always going to be an intangible benefit. And there's always anecdotal ways in which social helps those that are active in social. And I think you brought up those points. So. So I think that these are all great reminders for any company that's needed us that is either looking to establish an employee advocacy program, looking for reasons to or ways of, basically internally convincing executives as to why they need one. I guess the only thing I would add is don't forget those intangibles. There's just incredible benefit from having, you know, the bigger the company, the more potential benefits there are, but it's not as easy as just hey, share this as we found out from this podcast. And if you're in doubt, what I love about post beyond is that they're really passionate about the consulting side. They understand that not every customer is alike, and that everyone needs a little helping hand and they provide Got a lot of resources to make sure that you can get from investment in their platform to actual implementation. So if you're in doubt, reach out the post beyond. And, you know, I'll ask each one of you, Daniel, any last messages for the audience? Can you call to action? You can do call to action. And I know you have a great ebook on all the steps you need for a successful employee advocacy program. So let's have that URL. See T. We've, this is after the happy hour here. So please excuse us, but it's okay. It's a podcast. People want to be entertained, Daniel, go for it.

Daniel Hebert:

So yeah, so as Neil mentioned, we were very big on helping out with the implementation process just as much as we are with the technology. So if you want to learn more about our implementation process, just go to post beyond.com/social tools 15. And you'll be able to download an ebook or a guide around the 11 steps on how to implement social media advocacy at your enterprise.

Neal Schaffer:

Once again, post beyond comm slash social tools. 15 helps with the ROI of this podcast, too, doesn't it without tracking URL, chat, any last minute notes.

Chad McCaffrey:

Now, thanks to those awesome, really appreciate you having us on. And it's been awesome being San Francisco.

Neal Schaffer:

Hey, it's been an epic event with us beyond you guys. Were the first guys who actually signed on as a sponsor. So I think your free investment and social skills Summit, looking forward to what tomorrow brings. And for all you listening, I want to thank you wherever you are in the world for listening this podcast. As always, as I like to say, wherever you are in the world, make it a great social day and be on the lookout for our next podcast. Thanks, everyone. Thanks for listening to maximize your social. We appreciate all of your iTunes subscriptions, ratings, and comments. If you would like to appear on this show or recommend content, please contact Neal Schaffer at Neal at maximize your social.com Please also make sure to check out Neil's new community, the Social Media Center of Excellence at social media co e.com as well as Neil social media conference, the social tools summit