Social marketing is expanding beyond the social media and marketing teams as many companies embrace the concept “employee advocates.” Unless you are in a circle of social media gurus or happen to be one, you might not be aware of this new trend of leveraging employee advocates to promote a brand. However, it seems to be taking root, and social media solution provider Dachis Group has announced a tool that makes it easier to do.
The Rise of Employee Advocacy
It’s no secret that social media long ago transitioned from being a tool for personal diversion to become an integral part of marketing for most businesses. However, it seems that the lines between personal social media activity and enterprise social media may be disappearing.
Employee advocacy is a marketing concept that encourages businesses to leverage employees as brand advocates. Employees have deeper, more authentic connections to their networks than most companies are able to create. Companies can engage employees and use them as a resource to extend the reach of their marketing messages.
The members of the employees network are likely to view the information as more reliable when it comes from a friend they view as a network. Experts in the strategy caution that companies should not make employee advocate programs mandatory, ensure that it’s a right fit for their organization and leverage gamification to improve participation.
The new solution from Dachis Group, Employee Insights, includes a software tool and consulting services to help businesses speed adoption and improve monitoring of their employee advocacy programs.
The platform uses Dachis’ Social Business Index, which analyzes signals from over one hundred million social sources globally and analyzes the performance of companies and their brands, to identify which employees that might be the best brand advocates based on their existing social media influence and attitude toward the company.
Once advocates are identified and agree to participate, companies can track the employees’ actions and impact in the Employee Insight portal. The solution also includes a set of packaged consulting services designed to help companies quickly adopt employee advocacy.
Employee advocacy may be effective, but it could easily be viewed as a questionable practice if not managed properly. It’s not at the level of asking for an employee’s Facebook ID, but it seems a bit intrusive to use employees as covert social media product placement ads.
Although Dachis and many other experts encourage companies not to force employees to participate, rather identifying those who are already active advocates, such programs could be accompanied by a significant amount of implicit internal pressure to participate. Additionally, if employees don’t reveal that their posts are “sponsored,” it’s clearly misleading to the recipients.