Welcome to the new website for the Your Digital Marketing Coach podcast!
Jan. 5, 2016

123: Enterprise-Wide Employee Advocacy is a Natural Outcome of Social Business [Sociabble Interview]

123: Enterprise-Wide Employee Advocacy is a Natural Outcome of Social Business [Sociabble Interview]

Today Neal is sharing an interview he did with Marylin Montoya of Sociabble. Sociabble, one of the sponsors of the 2015 Social Tools Summits, is an employee advocacy platform that uses content marketing and social media networks to connect relevant content to employees in order to showcase their company’s brand. Marylin is sharing her insider perspective and offering valuable information and advice based on lots of experience helping large clients plan and implement employee advocacy programs. Listen in to hear her talk about the value of employee advocacy, why your employees are your best assets, and why enterprise-wide employee advocacy is a natural progression of social business.

Key Highlights

[00:35] Introduction of Podcast Guest, Marilyn Montoya

[02:48] What is Sociabble?

[05:17] Why Employees Are The Company's Best Assets?

[09:21] Ways Employee Advocacy Benefit Company

[11:50] Evolution of Employee Advocacy Internally

[15:16] How Sociabble Helps With Training The Company Set Up Employee Advocacy Program

[17:00] Employee Advocacy In Europe Vs North America

[20:28] Connect With Marilyn

Notable Quotes

  • It's a technology that uses content marketing, and social media networks, to connect relevant content to employees in order to showcase their company's brand.
  • The main reasons are to obviously, amplify the message of the brand through the voice of the employees, and also, to allow those employees to engage in personal branding, with social networks, That means kind of develop a thought leadership through the content that the company is helping provide those employees and then, you know, also have them understand what it means to build your brand on social media. 
  • Business is done between people, not between company and people. So, the idea is, you know, let's, let's allow employees to engage with audiences on social media network through the help of tool.
  • The reality is that, you know, companies must now be on social media, you know, almost everybody has a LinkedIn company page or an official Twitter handle. And then it's just a natural evolution and natural progression of that of that logic that, okay, well, actually, it's really important to be active on social media. 
  • I think the idea is that your employees are your best asset, you know, they're the people that understand your company, understand your brand. And they're also the people that engage with, you know, prospects and clients in real life.
  • For the most part, you know, unless you have a very disgruntled employee, which does happen, most people want to showcase what they're doing, what they're working on, in their company, what role they're playing, you know, what projects they're working on. So the idea is, okay, let's allow people to share that, and to position themselves that as somebody that is an expert in something.
  • I think it's not a negative thing to allow employees to showcase themselves and, and the contributions that they're making to their company. And by way of that, you know, making a good impression on behalf of the company. 
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 tool Summit. Neal Schaffer. Everybody, Neal Schaffer here again, welcome to another episode of maximize your social. Today I have the honor of providing you an interview I did with Mary Lynn Montoya of sociable, sociable is another one of the employee advocacy tool providers that shined at a recent social tool Summit. And Marilyn actually called in from France, to share with us her perspectives on employee advocacy, which I think you'll find very, very interesting how employee obviously begins as a marketing function. But similar to social media in general, enterprise wide employee advocacy is a natural outcome of social business. So I hope you'll enjoy this episode. And starting next week, you should hear me go back to my own ranting and raving on anything and everything social media. So I hope you enjoy this episode. And wow, this is the last episode of 2015. So thank you for listening in. I'm already at Wow, this is episode number 123. So looking forward to getting close to 200 next year. Thanks for joining me. And I really hope that if you enjoyed this episode, as well as all the others, you'll subscribe in iTunes, give it a rating, make a comment and share with your friends. Until next time, everybody enjoy the interview. Everybody this is Neal Schaffer. And you're listening to another episode of maximize your social. There's another social media tool vendor that I'd like to introduce you to on this podcast, a sponsor of both of my social tool summits. I'd like to introduce you right now to Marilyn Montoya, from the company sociable, Maryland. Welcome to maximize your social.

Marilyn Montoya:

Hi, Neil, thank you for having me here. To be here.

Neal Schaffer:

Thanks. And you know, Marilyn and I are not strangers. We know each other pretty well, by now. We are recording this over international phone. So if it sounds a little distance, that's probably why so Malin, sociable, sociable is not a household name and social media like a HootSuite or you know, a buffer. Tell us for those that have never heard of sociable, obviously those that have been going to the social tool summits know very well about sociable, but those that haven't give everyone sort of an introduction as to what your company does, and your role in the whole social media ecosystem.

Marilyn Montoya:

Right. Okay, well, so Sybil, in essence, is an employee advocacy platform. And what that means is, it's a technology that uses content marketing, and social media networks, to connect relevant content to employees in order to showcase their company's brand. So the idea is, you know, I'm going to provide content in an easy way to my employees, for them to discover, you know, what's going on with the company, what's going on with the brand? What are the topics that are relevant in the space in the space of that company in their universe, and allow them to share that content onto their own personal networks? And there's several reasons, you know, for engaging employees into doing so. So, you know, what are those main, the main reasons is to obviously, amplify the message of the brand through the voice of the employees, and also, to allow those employees to engage in personal branding, with social networks, that means, you know, kind of develop a thought leadership through the content that the company is helping provide those employees and then, you know, also have them understand what it means to build your brand on social media. Because the reality is, you know, these days people are becoming part of the company brands. And business is done between people, not between company and people. So, the idea is, you know, let's, let's allow employees to to engage with audiences on social media network through the help of

Neal Schaffer:

Marilyn, we've come a long way. Yeah, no, it does. Well, for some listeners, and those that are seasoned listeners to maximize your social and read readers maximize social business. They're very aware of employee advocacy, and how it's obviously one of the hottest trends right now on social media marketing, but for those that aren't as familiar with it, they may seem taken aback because Maryland, wasn't it just a few years ago, that sort of employees were employees And, and they they followed orders and companies were telling them to stay off of social media, what has happened over the last, you know, well sociable, you've been in business for a few years, what has happened that sort of transformed companies to wanting their employees to engage in social?

Marilyn Montoya:

Well, I think the idea is that your employees are your best asset, you know, they're the people that understand your company, understand your brand. And they're also the people that engage with, you know, prospects and clients in real life, you know, whether it's, you know, through through sales or marketing, or through through general points of contact throughout, you know, the business life. And, and the reality is that, you know, companies must now be on social media, you know, almost everybody has a LinkedIn company page or an official Twitter handle. And then it's just a natural evolution and natural progression of that of that logic that, okay, well, actually, it's really important to be active on social media. So now you have brands that are active on social media, regardless of whether you're, you know, consumer brand or corporate brands. And so the next logical step, and the natural progression is to say, well, you know, Hey, maybe I have some prospects on the social media network that, you know, my sales team should be engaging with, or maybe I have, you know, some, you know, potential new, you know, job candidates that I should be engaging with on social media. And so in that same, following that same logic now, why not empower different groups within your, your company, to to engage in those in those conversations? And because content marketing is the main when that happens, the main way that people communicate with each other on social media, it makes sense to Hey, okay, well, let's, let's facilitate that conversation further, I think that, you know, that the fear of allowing employees to be on social media that will only be there, I think the risk exists, regardless of whether the company's No, choose to acknowledge it. But I think it's actually better to address it than to ignore it, and to kind of play a kind of draconian role. And I know, social media is bad, and, and cannot help it because, you know, it's dangerous. I think that's not the message that companies wants to communicate to their employees. And so, I think that many companies, especially the ones, you know, the early adopters have realized, okay, you know, actually, this might not be such a bad idea. If I explained to my employees, you know, hey, what's okay, what's not okay to say? What are some basic rules, you know, a lot of common sense, why not allow them to, to kind of engage in content marketing for themselves and for their company, because, you know, for the most part, you know, unless you have a very disgruntled employee, which does happen, most people want to, you know, showcase what they're doing, what they're working on, in their company, what role they're playing, you know, what projects they're working on, you know, so the idea is, okay, let's, let's, let's allow people to share that, and to, you know, position themselves that as somebody that is an expert in something, you know, I'm an expert in, in my domain, I, you know, I sell this, or I talk about this, or I built this, you know, I think it's not a negative thing to allow employees to, to showcase themselves and, and the contributions that they're making to their company. And by way of that, you know, making a good impression on behalf of the company.

Neal Schaffer:

Well said, you know, I'm just thinking that you had brought up the term content marketing a few times. And obviously, employee advocacy is, is a lot more than just content marketing, as we all know, but I'm just curious, the customers that come to you, Maryland, when they begin, are they primarily interested in that amplification, content marketing approach to employee advocacy, but then after they begin implementing it, start to see the other ways in which it benefits the company? Have you seen that the current trend or Or what do you see with your customers?

Marilyn Montoya:

Now, that's a great question. It really depends on the maturity of the company in terms of how comfortable they feel with social media. I think that at the beginning, oftentimes, it starts off with, let's say, a discussion about amplification and a comparison to paid media elite, you know, the numbers of clicks. The amount of traffic you can drive for example, but I think that's just the early the early kind of, you know, added you know, added value that a you know, a disease To make or make me look at and say, Hmm, it sounds interesting, I think when you start digging into a deeper, you know, companies tend to realize, well, actually, there are a lot of other value added value propositions that play a role. And, you know, after that it becomes, okay, well thought leadership, and then actually, it will be great because people are actually into, into participating into the program, and they want to share content, they liked being active on social networks, and they liked the idea that their company is kind of progressive or like, you know, trusting them enough to to give them offer them the opportunity to play this role. So after that, the the ROI, you know, it comes in different forms. And, and I think that, that companies are really starting to look at that in multiple ways, not just from a this is my amplification reach. But, you know, this is how many active members I have in my community, you know, how many brand ambassadors I have now, these are, you know, you know, the number of subsidiaries worldwide that are not now participating in this initiative. So, I think that the conversation has evolved and does evolve with each one of our clients.

Neal Schaffer:

Now, how does that, that evolution take place? I'm assuming that when companies started, I'm assuming the marketing departments, you know, marketing, corporate communications, PR that those are the folks that reach out to you, how does it How does it evolve internally? Do they end up setting up employee advocacy committees? And the committee members are taken from different departments? Or how does it go from a one department to a multi department activity?

Marilyn Montoya:

A great question. Like I said, it really depends on the organization, like the organization of the company, because you know, they all vary. Usually, what I would say happens is that a company may be interested in total for very specific need at the beginning, let's say, Okay, I have a group of social sellers, people who use LinkedIn or these other social media networks to look for prospects. And they say, Okay, well, I want to facilitate the social selling activities of my sellers. So let's try sociable pilots. So you know, they'll, you know, we'll build a pilot program for you know, maybe a couple 100 people or less. And, and, you know, we go through a whole pre launch and support process where we, you know, we kind of trained the company, to, to, to execute it for how to build the program, for example, we'll say, Okay, so before we launch, we need to define X y&z which can be, okay, who's going to administrate this platform? Who are going to be the users? You know, who's gonna, who's going to animate it? Where's this content going to come from? You know, how often we update your content, we have enough content, who's going to be monitoring the activity? These are all the questions that we ask before we even talk about, you know, setting up a platform. And then once those rules are defined, and it may vary. So let's say that group of social sellers, there may be somebody on that sales team who manages it, or it might be like one person on the marketing team who's working with that sales team to do to do that. And then what usually happens after that, you know, we support them throughout the pilot, checking in seeing how the animation process is going, Are people engaging on the platform, are they you know, sharing certain kinds of content, since we have a lot of tracking and analytics, tied to the platform itself, we look at those numbers, and we say, Okay, it looks like this kind of content is more interesting to your users, you know, maybe you should produce more that kind of content. These are the kinds of sharing etc. And then after that after the file, usually we have pretty good results. And people are really happy to use it. In the end, they become used to it. So they say, Okay, I come into the morning, you know, I check my emails, and then I check my social, you know, and then I, you know, do my couple of shares, I schedule them in, and then you know, I get feedback on that. And I think when people realize the impact that it has, that you can really engage and then after that we start talking about, okay, how can we apply this program to other groups of people within the organization? And that's usually how, you know, this kind of grows from you know, let's say a 30 or 101. In person programs. Do you have a global initiative?

Neal Schaffer:

Gotcha. So it's, it's this natural evolution that begins with this pilot program, but through the training and Through the successes of the pilot program is where we see this natural evolution to where else in the organization, can we apply it and as, and I suppose in parallel, just just more departments are using social media as we evolved from social media to social business. So sort of goes hand in hand with that.

Marilyn Montoya:

That's an excellent we, we play a large role. Also, in the training, we want the companies to understand, you know, you know, how to deal with those tricky issues, we offer, you know, you know, quick, quick workshops, and it doesn't have to be the whole, you know, you know, two months saying it can be, you know, a couple of workshops, where we explain the do's and don'ts on social media, how to improve your profile, you know, how to tweet properly, you know, how to, you know, how to engage with audiences on social media. And actually, employers find that quite useful, because many employees, there are a lot of people still don't use, you know, social media on a regular basis. I mean, they're a bit maybe intimidated by it, or they don't see the relevance, or it's interesting, because when we do these programs, you all of a sudden develop, you know, the people within the company that all sudden realize, Oh, I'm kind of into this, and they become influencers. And I think that's really interesting as at least, you can offer the opportunity for someone to to use a tool or use a platform that they didn't really think that makes sense to them, and then also nursing, wow, this is actually really working for me. So that's kind of the reward in engaging in this kind of education.

Neal Schaffer:

That's great. You know, Marilyn, I know that you're obviously based in France. And as we talked before, the beginning of the recording of this podcast, I definitely wanted to ask you about the differences you might see in European social media, and in North American social media, being that you've been out of the social tools summit twice already this year. And you know, that we've talked a lot about employee advocacy, from what I'm hearing from you, it sounds like views of employee advocacy, there might not be that big of a gap. What do you see out there in Europe, compared to North America?

Marilyn Montoya:

No, I would actually definitely agree with you. I mean, you know, we're dealing with, we have local clients, you know, that are what same brands are in or in, you know, Germany only, or UK only, but we also most of our clients are global. So that means, you know, they have an office, somewhere in Europe, but they exist in the US, they exist, you know, in APAC, so, you know, when we start having these conversations, they're usually already thinking about, okay, how would this work in a different place? So we start addressing these kinds of issues early on, like, Okay, is there is there going to be a problem from a policy point of view, you know, is there going to be a reward system is that going to affect, you know, any legal aspects, for example, you know, but in terms of the subject matter itself of employee advocacy, I think that in Europe, what I find is in parenting, you have certain countries or certain certain sectors or industries are more open or more prone to engaging in this kind of idea. And then you have companies that are a bit more traditional, you know, they are just entering the social media space, and not really sure how to navigate it. And, of course, they have a lot of the concerns that most companies have about, you know, having an employee say something that is incorrect, or, you know, causing a bad buzz on social media, you know, those kind of sensitive topics. And I would say that, a lot of that the challenge sometimes comes up, in particularly in banking and finance, where, you know, there are some, you know, some delicate issues of compliance, and we work with our clients to be able to address those things. So, you know, things like being able to flag content or or monitor, disable, you know, control certain aspects of the sharing process to prevent, you know, certain content from being shared, when perhaps, you know, it can be shared, you know, but really don't run into those kind of problems. I can't say, right now that I have run into that problem where something negative has come out from a sociable deployment. So that means that you know, we're really taking care of, you know, making sure everything is clear, from the from the pre launch phase to you know, control system put in place, you know, dedicated role, make sure that everything runs smoothly. So, yeah, I mean, I think that's, that's generally my general point of view. The gardener the subject,

Neal Schaffer:

but as you can hear for listeners of the podcast, Marilyn has shared a wealth of information and advice based on helping a lot of large clients plan and implement an employee advocacy program and as you can hear Just from the you know, the depth of what Marilyn is talking about, it is obviously not a not a trivial program to start. It's not like, Hey, we're just going to launch a Twitter channel and start tweeting. It is a large, it is a large undertaking. And when you want to begin thinking about implementing such a program, you need to partner up with an expert. And as you can hear from Maryland sociable is definitely one of those experts. So I do hope you'll reach out to the Maryland how can listeners of this podcast reach out to you as well as social?

Marilyn Montoya:

Well, I can visit our website so w w, w dot sociable, calm and that's sociable with two b's. They can contact me directly my email. My name is Maryland, Maryland and they are Li Li n s sociable, calm and they can start a conversation on there.

Neal Schaffer:

That's great. So f OCIABB le Maryland. Thank you so much for being a guest on the Maximizer social podcast today. I do hope that our paths will cross very soon.

Marilyn Montoya:

Definitely. Thank you for having me. All right. Well, that's a wrap

Neal Schaffer:

everybody. And as I like to say, wherever you're all in the world, make it a great social Day. Bye Bye, everybody. 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