In this episode of AMP Up Your Digital Marketing, Glenn Gaudet speaks with Stephen Spector, who’s spent more than 20 years doing digital marketing and social media in the IT space. Stephen discusses strategies he’s used to successfully implement employee advocacy programs.
- Employee advocacy platforms can reap a number of benefits, including an increase in brand engagement, product feedback, and sales leads.
- Getting buy-in from executives and employees isn’t always easy, but start with a “pilot program,” a small group of people who are already social media savvy.
- It’s essential to prove the value of an employee advocacy platform, especially to executives, by presenting them with backend reporting and metrics.
It’s no secret people are naturally resistant to change, and this is often magnified at work.
So when you approach management and employees with the idea of an employee advocacy platform, you might be met with indifference, or even get some pushback.
After all, those outside the marketing and social media world might not understand the perks of these platforms — how they can establish employees as social media thought leaders, increase brand awareness and engagement, collect product insights, and boost sales.
So how exactly do you get executives and employees to buy into employee advocacy?
It’s not always an easy task. Take it from Stephen. When he joined the Edge Gravity team as the senior director of digital marketing, he discovered the company had already invested in our very own solution for employee engagement — GaggleAMP.
That’s great, but the only problem? No one was actually using it.
Stephen joined the AMP Up Your Digital Marketing podcast to discuss how he got the company’s executives and employees on board and ultimately reap the benefits of the platform.
How to Generate Excitement Around Employee Advocacy Platforms
Stephen, a self-taught marketing and social media pro, is a big proponent of employee advocacy platforms, so he understood the value of implementing an employee advocacy platform like GaggleAMP.
Unfortunately, those outside the realm of marketing and social media weren’t quite so excited.
But that’s where you can work your magic. Here’s exactly how Stephen was able to generate excitement around the program and get buy-in from both company executives and employees.
1. Pick up the Phone
Stephen was familiar with GaggleAMP, but he wanted to understand how it could specifically benefit Edge Gravity, an edge-computing company.
So he simply picked up the phone and connected with GaggleAMP reps, who walked him through the ins and outs of the tool. He had multiple calls with the team and spent time discovering new features and also gaining insight into how his company could implement the tool.
“They're there to help you,” Stephen says. “I know sometimes we think we know everything. It's OK to say, ‘I don't know the answer.’”
After he gathered that intel, he was ready to share it with other employees at his company.
2. Launch a Pilot Program
Before he began trying to appeal to the masses, Stephen knew he needed buy-in from a select few, so he launched what he called a “pilot program.”
He selected a handful of people at the company who were already social media savvy and hosted training sessions. Because this group of employees already understood and used Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, it was much easier to train them and get them excited.
He spent a few months working with this pilot group before branching out.
3. Show Management Just How Powerful Employee Advocacy Can Be
When you’re trying something new, you’ve got to get management on board, so Stephen tapped into employee engagement strategies for GaggleAMP's backend reporting to prove just how much the employee advocacy platform was helping the company.
“I think sometimes we only think about the front side — we're going to get all these people to participate, and you're going to expand our reach,” Stephen says. “But you need to be able to show that benefit to executives, because when they see it, they will invest more money.”
When presenting his findings to execs, Stephen kept his reports short and sweet and heavy on the graphics.
“I’d say, ‘Look, we're getting 20 to 30 times more response because employees are engaging with it,’” Stephen says. “And executives, their eyes light up, because social media is powerful, but you need to be able to prove it.”
4. Help Folks Understand the End Result
After Stephen ran his pilot program and got buy-in from management, he reached out to some key players at the company, including product managers and salespeople.
Of course, they were initially skeptical. However, Stephen crafted a little sales pitch of his own, helping them understand how easy the tool is and exactly what the end result could look like.
“That was the trick,” Stephen says. “When I went to these people and said, ‘Look, I can make you a thought leader on edge computing, and all you have to do is go three times a week and click a few buttons. I’ll do the content; I'll do everything. But before you know it, people will start following you.’’
He’d continue, helping them understand the end result: “They'll look to you for edge computing, and guess what? That's going to generate leads. That's going to provide feedback on products — all these kinds of things.”
Before he knew it, he had 40 to 50 people regularly using the platform.
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