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Oct. 15, 2014

82: How to Take Your Employee Advocacy to the Next Level: An Interview with GaggleAMP

82: How to Take Your Employee Advocacy to the Next Level: An Interview with GaggleAMP

Neal interviews Glenn Gaudet, CEO and founder of GaggleAMP, and talks about the history of employee advocacy and the challenges that face companies that try to launch such a program internally.

Key Highlights

[00:51] The Primary Use of GaggleAmp

[01:32] Introduction of Podcast Guest, Glenn Gaudet

[02:42] How Glenn Got the Idea of the GaggleAmp
Notable Quotes

[06:52] How the Market Evolved

[07:47] What Lacks in Understand Social Media

[08:19] Why You Need to Understand the Value of Social Media

[10:38] The Trap into Employee Advocacy

[12:54] Free Trial

[13:34] The Power of Feedback

[14:26] Why Companies Sometimes Get Disappointed in Employee Advocacy

[19:59] How GaggleAmp Works

[20:43] Connect with Glenn

Notable Quotes

  • And then from that was really the idea of having a platform that was designed to do this in a way that it was super easy for the employee to share the content, yet maintain their privacy, and provide rich tracking information for the company and to balance all those different pieces.
  • And what was lacking in that was the understanding of how social media fits into the broader marketing mix. And now what we're seeing is we're seeing social media professionals who truly are coming out of that understanding of the marketing mix, rather than somebody who's just often off on their own doing social media.
  • If you don't understand the value of social media, why would you want to amplify it? Right? Because that's what our platform does. It amplifies what you're already doing. And if you're already doing nothing, you multiply that times zero, you still get nothing.
  • But it really is really does allow companies to scale their amplification, yes, in an organic way, that is just very, very different than anything else out there.
  • They think that all of their employees are going to be social media managers, they're going to have these complex dashboards, and they're going to be figuring out what they're going to say, and, and that's just not the case, the rank and file employee, just want you to make it really super easy for them to either share it or say no thanks.
  • I think that the biggest one that pops up is a certain expectation. And this, this is why we do a free trial, we want you to actually use it. And as part of the free trial, we want you to invite various stakeholders that are employees. 
  • Because your expectations of what they want, are probably going to be different. And so with, by going through the trial, you not only get the results in terms of the amplification, but you're going to get the feedback from those other stakeholder types within your organization.
  • And so when when when marketing expects certain things from other types of employees, they oftentimes get disappointed because they're expecting them to do all this additional work.
  • It's really powerful to understand what these other roles in the organization to, and how really active do they want to be about doing more of the social media marketers job within the organization. 
Transcript
Neal Schaffer:

Welcome to maximize your social, actionable 10 minute 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, and soon to launch Social Media Center of Excellence, Neal Schaffer. K this is Neal Schaffer, welcome to another episode of Maximizer. Social as promised, I'm still here in Boston. I'm actually here in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I am at the offices of gaggle amp. For those of you who are subscribers to maximize social business, hopefully, you've heard of Google amp, because we have a maximized social business, gaggle that you should all be a members of, because you're sharing our great content anyway. And it's a great platform to use. The primary use of Google amp though, although it can be used for brand advocates is really for employee advocacy. And you know, I blogged about it. I recently wrote an e book about it. So you probably heard me talk about it. Yesterday, at the b2b conference, the marketing props conference, where I spoke with Jason Miller on LinkedIn, half of my presentation on b2b, LinkedIn marketing was actually about leveraging the people in your organization with employee advocacy and actually showed my gaggle amp stats dashboard, and how over a given 10 day period, I was getting, like 1500 clicks from, you know, a group of 150 people, but only 2025 are actually active, which just goes to show you don't need anyone and everyone to join your program, only a few very, very active participants in social that are advocating for your brand. Anyway, I'm meeting Glen got that Dan. I met him for the first time and I've been a fan of GEICO amp. And they've been I guess, you could say, a partner of mine for a while. We've had a relationship for about two years now.

Glenn Gaudet:

Right? Least I Yes. And

Neal Schaffer:

so I was sitting here with Glenn, and he's telling you about how he thought of the idea about his platform, this amazing employee advocacy platform four years ago, back in 2010. Before any of us were even talking about the subject now it's obviously becoming, I won't say mainstream, but it's it's a topic that's being talked about. And even when I spoke on it yesterday to b2b marketers, I didn't get a lot of people asking, Well, what is it? I think people now understand what it is. And they're really trying to look at the next step. How do we leverage it? Obviously, one of the focuses of my talk was, how marketers should be leading b2b organizations, visa vie salespeople and setting them up for success and social selling and how employee advocacy can play a big part in that indirectly. But, you know, I just as I was talking with Glenn, I thought, this is a great content I wanted to share with the rest of the podcast listeners. So Glenn, welcome to the podcast.

Glenn Gaudet:

Thank you, Neil. It's great to be here. And it's great to meet you finally put it put a face to a name.

Neal Schaffer:

Right, exactly. And vice versa. So I mean, tell me 2010 and amazing story of how you created the company. And I know some of this is under NDA. So just say what you want publicly. But you know, tell me, how did you get the idea for the platform? And how did you sort of foresee this future where employee advocacy becomes more more mainstream? Sure. I

Glenn Gaudet:

was actually my background is as a chief marketing officer, and I was, I was in an interview at a company, a tech company in the Boston area, to essentially become their chief marketing officer. And I won't name names, but it was a really interesting conversation, because I was literally in the the, the Corner Office of the CEO. And they were a company that competed against Cisco, and Cisco at the time was, and still is a juggernaut when it comes to marketing. When it comes even at that point, in 2010, they were leveraging social media very extensively, right. And this other company that I was interviewing with, really didn't do much in marketing, and you know, and particularly with social media was pretty much non existent for them. So here, we were, in a conversation, he was asking me how, you know, how do we compete against somebody like Cisco, they're very well established. And, you know, we were free forming and I was, we were coming up with ideas. And one of the things that I mentioned to him, as I said, Well, you know, have you thought about leveraging your employees? Because we've got, you know, how many, how many employees have 1000 employees, right. And some amount of them have social media as part of what they do personal Well, maybe not professionally, but chances are a fair amount of them probably have a LinkedIn presence, a fair amount of them probably have Twitter. Why don't we tap into that? Because now we've got 1000 people rather than just a single Twitter account or a single LinkedIn page that we can tap into. So like the idea, but didn't know how many employees might have any of this. And I remember going home that day. And I said, Well, I better go find the product that can do that. Because if they hire me now I need to actually have to do this. And I went home that night, and to my surprise, I could not find anything there was there was no conversation about it taking place. There was Certainly no product or technology that you might be able to leverage I mean, yes, you could probably go out and get, get a, like a Survey Monkey, which was available at the time figure out how many people had social media accounts, and then maybe send out some emails and, and all this and I'm thinking was this way too complicated. And then the more complicated it is, the less likely we are to get people to share the content for the company. And then from that was really the idea of having a platform that was designed to do this in a way that it was super easy for the employee to share the content, yet maintain their privacy, and provide rich tracking information for the company and to balance all those different pieces. And that's where the idea of gaggle app came from. And so instead of joining the company, as the CMO, I started gaggle an

Neal Schaffer:

amazing story. And you've really, as a user of your product, you've really been able to balance those three things. And in a brilliant way, I was thinking of just a number of different questions I could ask you. It's really amazing that you had that vision at the time when companies still don't even have that vision yet. And those that do have division are still trying to implement it. I think one of the things that separates gaggle amp, and I'm glad to hear that you have a marketing background, because I see a lot of technology companies and social media that are started by engineers and technology, people who don't really get social media, right. And so you get dashboards and analytics that don't really mean anything, where you started from a marketing perspective and realize that there was a need for this type of product. It wasn't a technology searching for a market. It was it was a product created for market, which you know, I think has led to your success. Yeah. So tell me, so you start in 2010. And obviously, it's taken time for the market to catch up. In essence, it's obviously catching up and you're profitable now. And how have you seen the market evolve over the last four years?

Glenn Gaudet:

Well, that's been really interesting. At first, we saw this adoption of social media within the enterprise itself. So we go after companies that have a dedicated social media marketing resource. You know, whether that's a full time, hopefully, it's a full time now. But but when we first started the company, there weren't as many companies that had that dedicated person or persons within the company. And what we saw is, we saw this trend where it seems like almost every six months, the amount of social media titles out there was doubling. And so we saw that first adoption of social media and and you probably remember this now, you know, the first thing companies would do back in 2010 2011, let's go hire somebody right out of school, because they understand Facebook. Right, right. And what was lacking in that was the understanding of how social media fits into the broader marketing mix. And now what we're seeing is we're seeing social media professionals who truly are coming out of that understanding of the marketing mix, rather than somebody who's just often off on their own doing social media. And, frankly, that plays into the kinds of customers we want to talk to, because they understand the value of social media. Because if you don't understand the value of social media, why would you want to amplify it? Right? Because that's what our platform does. It amplifies what you're already doing. And if you're already doing nothing, you multiply that times zero, you still get nothing. Right? So we want people who really understand social and want to take it to the next level. And we've seen that grow significantly. Now. Do I Do I think that it has grown? Yes. Do I think it still has room to grow? Absolutely. But the the amount of growth that we've seen over the past few years has been absolutely amazing. And our customer base justifies that just go to our website, and you can see customers actually posting content to gaggles. Right, right in the platform now, and it's it's pretty amazing to see the kinds of companies that are using this today. They're amazing, and then they're passionate to, and they tell us what they like about it, they tell us, you know, if we need to add things, and it's been really an amazing experience. And I've been, I've been involved in technology as you have Neil for quite a while now. I just to see the level of affinity that our customers have for it is just been really, really validating for us. But we're not holding back course. We're still innovating right

Neal Schaffer:

now. That's excellent. And if you think of, you know, 94% of companies that have over 100 employees already using social media for marketing, at some point, they're going to they're going to try to figure out well, what else can we do? Right? And it's funny because I have a similar perspective. Those that hire me to speak or consult are also those that already see the value in social you have to get to a certain level in order to get to that next level. Right. And I really see the whole employee advocacy. It's almost like when I presented yesterday at marketing profit, it's almost like icing on the cake. Because you're already doing these branded activities anyway, it's just this extra. I won't say marketing automation, because it's not there's work that has to go into getting people to sign up and actually listen to what they want to post, tweak your messaging and encourage them and gamify or whatever you do. But it really is a really does allow companies to scale their amplification, yes, in an organic way, that is just very, very different than anything else out there. So, you know, it's a really exciting thing. And I think once companies get it, they're not going to let go of it, they're going to try to figure out how to maximize it. I'm sure you've seen that with your customers as well, right?

Glenn Gaudet:

Well, absolutely. But there's a trap that some can fall into. And that is that they think that all of their employees are going to be social media managers, they're going to have these complex dashboards, and they're going to be figuring out what they're going to say, and, and that's just not the case, the rank and file employee, just want you to make it really super easy for them to either share it or say no thanks. And that's the beauty of what we do, is we don't overcomplicate right, you know, we don't have this expectation that everyone's going to be a marketing person with this dashboard, that's going to tell them everything about social and look for everything. And for some people, you need that right there for your marketing team. That's really, really, there's some powerful tools that do that, and we partner with some of them. But for the rank and file employee, just keep it really easy. And watch the magic happen. I mean, that's that's the power of this.

Neal Schaffer:

So Glenn, yesterday, as I was finished presenting, I got an interesting question. And, you know, as I was saying in telemarketers in the room, or you know, whether they're PR professionals, communications professionals, someone internally has to take the lead on employee advocacy, you're not going to go, you're not going to see CEOs saying, hey, we need to create a program right away. So I was encouraging those in the audience to really take the internal lead. Now there are some that are already doing it. But you know, they get a lot of kickback a lot of pushback from other executives from business owners, what have you, one of the push backs was well, we get our employees more active in social. And I also gotten to the the aspect of sort of optimizing LinkedIn profiles, what happy for b2b salespeople for social selling. And the pushback was well, you know, they start looking like thought leaders, they're posting great content, they have optimized profiles, and then recruiters contact them, and they go to other companies. And, you know, how do you prevent that? And I said, Look, that's more of a cultural problem. And you know, that's going to happen anyway. And I talk about, you know, companies like Oracle, where they're actually training their employees to have better personal branding, and they see them as employees for life. They may, they may go tomorrow, but you know, when you're later they may be buying from Oracle, they may be a partner with Oracle, and what have you. So I'm just interested to hear from your customers, what are, you know, the two or three biggest push backs they get internally? And how do you recommend that that they overcome them, for those that are listening to this, that might also be you know, in the same situation,

Glenn Gaudet:

I think that the biggest one that pops up is a certain expectation. And this, this is why we do a free trial, we want you to actually use it. And as part of the free trial, we want you to invite various stakeholders that are employees. So it might be some people from the sales department, some people from marketing, some people from finance, whoever it is that you're thinking about, that could be part of this group of people that could help share your content, we want you to get the feedback from them. Because your expectations of what they want, are probably going to be different. And so with, by going through the trial, you not only get the results in terms of the amplification, but you're going to get the feedback from those other stakeholder types within your organization. And that's the power of just allowing people to give you that feedback. So that's the big thing that comes up for me with with any prospective customer is, don't always assume in this, this is like marketing one on one, right?

Neal Schaffer:

And that's a cultural issue, too. A lot of marketers aren't even looking at the feedback, they just want to push it out as they're used to doing That's

Glenn Gaudet:

right. That's right. So they have a they have a mindset of what social media should be at for an individual, which a lot of times aligns to what their job is. And what they have to remember is the job of the rank and file people elsewhere, like a great example would be the salesperson, right? The salesperson probably spends most of their time on LinkedIn doing prospecting. But how often do they actually update their own status within LinkedIn? Not much. They don't get paid to do that. They don't get paid to do that exact clear. And so when when when marketing expects certain things from other types of employees, they oftentimes get disappointed because they're expecting them to do all this additional work. That's not their job. Right. So So We always say, get that feedback, you know, what, if this fits, is this fits within your organization, great. If it doesn't, let's figure that out fast. So you don't waste a lot of time and and you know, we can move on as well. So it's, it's really powerful to understand what these other roles in the organization to, and how really active do they want to be about doing more of the social media marketers job within the organization. And I

Neal Schaffer:

see an interesting analogy here. And the analogy is yesterday, I got asked about publishing on LinkedIn. And should I just, you know, copy and paste my LinkedIn, my, you know, blog post on LinkedIn, I said, Look, if you have a company and you have a blog, it is attracting a certain readership that already is, in your industry understand your product, what have you, the value of publishing on LinkedIn is that you reach a broader audience. So obviously, you're going to be returning that message. So employee advocacy, the same thing, you know, the staff that shows, you know, the Dell and the Cisco stats that show the overlap between, you know, your employees network and your corporate network, the overlap is only between two and 8%. Recording. So in other words, you're reaching now between 92 to 98%, new audience that have a different expectation of content, they may not know about your company or industry, and therefore it's going to be natural that you're gonna have to return the message, the same messages that using your own brand, and accounts are just not going to be nearly as effective. Absolutely right. And I don't think people are taking that next step, they see, Wow, that's great, I get access to a bigger audience without realizing well, if you want to make it effective, you obviously have to change it, because it's a different audience.

Glenn Gaudet:

Let me take the blog post title, and I'll throw in the link to the blog post. And I'll put that on Twitter, I'll put that on LinkedIn, if we haven't Facebook page. And what they don't realize is that the different networks have different amount of real estate, and, frankly, different kinds of expectations on the kind of content. So oftentimes, I say, don't take the title, necessarily. I mean, you can, but there's probably some great quotes in there that are going to be that much more compelling than what your title is. Take the quote out and use that with the link and see what that see what that pulls in. But there's, there's something else that goes on with, with people when when they think about using content, a lot of times they're seeing things in a certain bubble, that the rest of the world doesn't, let me give you an example. A lot of times you have social media, people within an organization, they have a lot of other employees connected on LinkedIn. So that when they do put a piece of content out that other employees are sharing, they see that content quite a bit. Right? And then they go, oh, wait a minute, this is too much. Right? So they forget about the whole frequency thing, which is actually a good thing. Right? Right. But But what they don't realize is that for people outside the company, they're not seeing it that much, because they may own the person outside the company may be connected to one or two people in the company, rather than the 50 that they're connected to. Do you see that? Yeah, no, absolutely. Yeah. And again, that's just comes down to the mindset of understanding, not just how your employees will react with social media, but actually how that looks to the outside world. Because so often, we're in this protected bubble, where we don't see things the same way that people outside the company will see it.

Neal Schaffer:

Yeah, it's interesting, because, you know, from a purist perspective, in an ideal world, you're going to be re voicing your content for any given social network is every community is different, right? Some use hashtags more than others, some are more visual, what have you. And employee accuracy is similar in that we need to completely retune what we're saying, because of this, you know, this new network, the friends, or people in the network of our employees, maybe you can share the experience when I worked in tech, I couldn't describe what my company did to my friends. Because IPTV what is embedded software? What is an embedded operating system? Right? Yeah. And therefore, you can't expect that my friends if you wanted to, wanted me to share a message with the company that they would have any clue about that? Right? Yeah. But if it was to say, Hey, have you ever thought about, you know, the software that goes into a television and how it's different than a computer? Right? Maybe it's a little bit different. Right,

Glenn Gaudet:

right. And that might be a really appropriate message for Facebook. Whereas for LinkedIn, you may want to get a little technical, because that's who the contacts are on LinkedIn, more likely, right?

Neal Schaffer:

Exactly. So I you know, right now, I'm sure most of your clients, obviously, there's still a huge potential for new clients that have been signing up. And then once they sign up, there's probably this learning curve. And we're probably we're probably talking about the end of that learning curve, right. So on that note, I try to keep my podcast really short, like 10 minutes, and I want to talk to you about all those things that that we probably publicly shouldn't talk about, but a lot of companies, a lot of people listening that haven't really put their foot in the water or maybe they're using other platforms, just you know, give a one minute spiel on Goggle him and sort of describe it and how people can find out more about your platform.

Glenn Gaudet:

Absolutely. So What gaggle amp does, it allows you to take the social media marketing activities that are already doing today. And amplify that by leveraging your employees or frankly, other stakeholders. So other stakeholders might be channel partners, resellers, even customers, and gaggle. It makes it easy for them to now be part of your online marketing activities in a in a safe environment in which their privacy is still protected. Yet the company still gets a lot of this analytical data to know what messages are effective, what messages are. There's, there's a feedback mechanism so that you get better at the messaging that you're doing, which is really powerful as well. So if you want to try it, I suggest that you try it. I mean, come try it for free. You get seven days, no charge, just go to gaggle m.com That's gaggle a mp.com. And click the try for Free button and see if it's right for your organization. You know, we have we have customers that range from you know, on the b2c side, PepsiCo is a big customer of ours on the I'm sorry, on the b2c side. And then on the b2b side, we've customers like ca and infor, and brocade, and just very large companies that are really taking advantage of their employees, and other stakeholders, such as channel partners to amplify their social.

Neal Schaffer:

Well, that's excellent. Once again, that's gakko amp.com. And if you will, you should be subscribing to maximize social business, as I said at the beginning of the podcast, but we also have a gaggle, sometimes you'll see widgets on our website, we promote it in a newsletter, sometimes in tweets. And just as Glenn said, you know, I originally began that guy goal for our contributors that are we have about 20 Plus unique contributors. But when I open it up to the public, it's been amazing how many of our fans who are sharing our content decided to join anyway. And although right now it's about 150. Members, I've been deleting inactive members, we probably had a few 100 Sign up. So once you make it public, and you find people that are already sharing your brand's messages, and you invite them in, and you also respect them and say, Hey, how can we help you and I try my best to those that are reactively sharing our messages to share their messages because we're part of the same team, right? So it's a great experience, definitely check it out. And if you want to know what it's like to be part of a gaggle, definitely join our Geico, and I'm gonna wrap up here from Cambridge, Massachusetts, and I'm flying back to the OC. Don't know where I'll be podcasting from next week. But until then, wherever you are in the world, make it a great social Day. Bye Bye, everybody. Thanks for listening to maximize your social. We appreciate 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 ce o e.com. Thanks again and make it a social day.