It’s not very often you get to sit in a room with 15+ highly qualified potential customers and learn. That was the theme at last Friday’s breakfast workshop hosted at RocketSpace in London. I, as a marketer, got to learn how our buyers are thinking in their own words, how they describe the problem they’re trying to solve and what questions and hesitations come up during evaluation. That’s invaluable. The 15+ event attendees on the other hand, got to learn about employee advocacy directly from two seasoned experts, Sarah Goodall of Tribal Impact and Nicola Gormley of Carlson Wagonlit Travel.
This was the first time we tried putting together an event as such. We didn’t want a fully packed house with 100+ buyers but instead the opportunity to learn from and with a small focused group. It was about value not volume, for all of us.
First on stage was Nicola Gormley. Global Digital Manager of Carlson Wagonlit Travel – a global travel management company with 18,000+ employees. She has spent 20 years in B2B marketing with industry leading companies, and most recently 10 years in social media management. Nicola has been a staunch advocate for employee advocacy programmes and has implemented and managed them, with Smarp – in her last three companies. That experience, particularly, was quite interesting to hear about. What about each of these 3 different companies where she managed an employee advocacy program made it successful or a flop? What were the learnings? How does she make sure, with her past experiences, that her current program is the best it can be? Needless to say, Nicola was bombarded with questions at the end of her presentation, which was great.
Next on was Sarah Goodall, the Founder & MD of Tribal Impact who has spent 20+ years in B2B marketing, most recently leading social business for SAP in EMEA. She founded Tribal Impact to help sales and marketing professionals drive revenue growth by connecting employees to today’s social savvy customer.
Clearly Sarah has done this a few times, as she delivered an impeccable presentation where she covered the 8 key stages of planning a successful employee advocacy program:
- Identify your task force team
- Calculate your potential social reach via employees
- Define your advocacy goals
- Turn goals into measurable objectives
- Identify your pilot group of participants
- Create a social media training plan for employees
- Refine your Employee Advocacy tool specification
- Develop a content strategy
Sarah’s session was very interactive and included a booklet for attendees to fill as she went along the presentations. Everybody got a complete piece on employee advocacy program launch planning to take back to the office.
As I look back at the event, there were a couple discussion points that came up frequently that are worth highlighting:
How do you track conversions from an employee advocacy program?
UTM parameters all day. Smarp generates these automatically with every post. You can pass these on to either Google Analytics, your marketing automation tool or CRM of choice. At a high level, if there’s a form, you can track and report on these conversions.
And finally, the most sought after answer of the day: How do you get buy-in from your colleagues? ‘My colleagues are not on social’, ‘They don’t have a big following’…?
Successful employee advocacy programs combine internal and external communications. You cannot create a static list of ‘shareable’ assets and push it to the entire company and expect results. That’s not how it works. The biggest advantages of having your employees amplify your message are reach and trust. If all you do is top-down generic communication, it will come through in your employee advocacy program and the results will speak for themselves.
The secret is to think of it as a communications channel to connect people with content. In the spirit of London ‘think of the The BBC app’. The moment you start using it to communicate ‘internal only’ news and updates that are not one size fit all but highly relevant to the individual (based on role, department, interests, business unit, function and language), that’s when engagement and adoption rises. Engaged and informed employees advocate. In other words, advocacy is a side effect of engagement. Not the other way around.
After the event, I had a mandatory stop at Bleecker burger. Simply the best burger joint on the entire planet followed by a great flight home. All and all, it was a great week visiting our London office and I can definitely say we’ll be doing this again! Stay tuned.
Interested in learning more about employee advocacy? Download our eBook "How Employee Advocacy Boosts Content Marketing":