3 Steps to Building an Employee Advocacy Strategy

I recently had the pleasure of attending one of the biggest marketing conferences of the year—Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit.  A gathering of hundreds of marketing executives, partners, and thought leaders from around the world came together to learn about the latest marketing trends and strategies in the new “Engagement Economy”.

The “Engagement Economy” represents a clear shift in the way marketers communicate with customers. It focuses on delivering a personalized and authentic experience that stems from trust and commitment. To succeed in this new climate, you must adapt your tactics and shift your brand to become more human and digital native-friendly.

But how can you embrace this new concept? How can you bring it into the present? Simple—with employee advocacy. Employee advocacy allows you to fast forward your social media marketing strategy by empowering employees to share organic content across their personal profiles, in turn, driving brand awareness, engagement, and lead generation. To get started, here are three steps to building a successful employee advocacy strategy:

1. Identify Your Goals and KPI’s

Like with any social media strategy, you need to envision what success looks like. What goals are you trying to achieve? Which metrics will you use to measure those goals?

To make things easier, here are two groups of metrics you can focus on:

  • Tactical Metrics: These metrics (also known as early stage metrics) give you a granular insight into the success of individual posts, networks, and employees. It includes impressions, shares, clicks, etc.
  • Revenue Metrics: These metrics (also known as mid- and late-stage metrics) play a larger role in giving you an accurate picture of how advocacy drives opportunities and revenue for the business. For example, tracking leads, cost per lead, and closed deals will help you identify the program’s true ROI. For a more complete picture of how advocacy impacts sales, you can integrate your employee advocacy platform with your engagement platform/marketing automation and CRM to see how leads collected by employees turn into revenue by sales.

2. Understand which Content Types will be Shared

The oft-cited “Content is King” saying applies to employee advocacy too. First, your content must align with your goals, and second, it needs to be relevant to your employees’ role in the company and type of audience.

At the very least, it should include the following:

  • 70% original content: The bulk of your content should be original—articles, white papers, videos, case studies, webinars, etc. that have been created by your marketing team and are lead generating.
  • 20% curated content: Besides promoting our own product or service, employees should receive valuable third-party content to educate their audience in a less self-promotional manner.
  • 10% suggested content: The best way to empower employees to share content is by allowing them to suggest useful topics. This will go a long way to demonstrate your appreciation for their work.

3. Select Employee Advocates & Establish Buy-In

While every employee can benefit from participating in an advocacy program, you must determine which employees most effectively deliver your message. Customer-facing employees, particularly in sales, marketing, and customer success, should be your top priority to engage and retain in your advocacy program. And, that’s not to say that your other employees don’t have value—because they do. It’s your goal to ensure your employees remain invested in the program by reiterating the value to them.

There are two ways to incentivize employees. First, through tangible rewards, which have a monetary value, such as gift cards, restaurant vouchers, and movie tickets. The alternative is through intangible rewards, which have a long-term meaning, including:

  • Social Selling: Your sales reps are going to benefit the most from being advocates. 78% of salespeople who utilize social media as part of their sales techniques outperformed their non-social peers. The result is that they have a much greater impact on revenue and business growth.
  • Thought Leadership: This is an invaluable status to have today. Actively sharing quality content turns employees into a credible and sought-after influencer in the industry. With this trustworthy voice, they have the ability to drive more traffic and leads for you.

Ready, Steady, Go!

The new era of Engagement Economy is here and it’s up to you to make the transition. Today, the smartest B2B marketers are going into the future with a strategy that aligns business goals with a personalized customer experience. A well-planned employee advocacy program can help you make that transformation, from boosting your online brand to driving positive social media ROI.

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How to NOT Go Broke as an Entrepreneur!

broke as an entrepreneur

One of the things I’ve seen in the past two decades of being in business is that just because you’re working for yourself doesn’t mean you’re not broke. I’ve seen lots of ‘Starving Artist’ entrepreneurs.

Why do I use that term… ‘starving artist’? Well, my friend Jeff Goins (who recently blew up the Tropical Think Tank event stage!) has a new book out called Real Artists Don’t Starve, and it’s not just for artists! Jeff gave me a pre-release copy when we were together for TTT17 and I devoured it. In it, he teaches you that everyone who has a gift to share is an ‘artist’.

And that definitely includes entrepreneurs! And let’s face it, we don’t want to end up broke as an entrepreneur, do we?

Side Note: If you fancy grabbing a copy of the book, to celebrate it’s launch, Jeff is giving away lots of cool bonuses, so just pre-order the book before June 6, which you can get at dontstarve.com.

As I went from page to page, section to section, there were a few things that stood out to me, that I could see directly associated themselves with entrepreneurs and people building personal brands… so, here I am – breaking ’em down for you to learn from quickly!

Don’t try to be Original

Now, I know I always say that originality is a major key to success – if you know me, you know I’m talking about simply being YOU 9as you’re a 100% original version of you, right?!). However… instead of coming up with one great “original” idea, build on what other people have already done. Being original can be expensive. Instead, just take something – an idea, a model, whatever – that somebody has already proven, and do it differently… (not just better!).

Steve Jobs started Apple by borrowing from the ideas of other companies like Xerox and building on them to make them even better. The best, most innovative companies in the world do this.

Own your Work

Often in business, I see entrepreneurs selling off too much of their company to an investor or partner and quickly diluting their stake in exchange for a little bit of money. Don’t do this! The last thing you should give up is ownership of your company.

Sometimes, it makes sense to give away a little bit of equity to someone in exchange for something more valuable, but this should never be the first step. Once you give away parts of your company, you don’t get that back. Money is renewable; equity is not.

This is what John Lasseter learned when he left Disney to help start Pixar and was soon offered a job back at Disney for triple his salary. He turned it down. Why? Because he’d rather take a short-term pay cut to retain more freedom and ownership of his work.

In the end, Pixar ended up selling to Disney for $7.4 billion. Today, John Lasseter is worth $100 million.

It pays to not sell out too soon.

Diversify your Income

You’ve probably heard that the average millionaire has over seven different income streams. The way most successful business owners grow a successful company is not by offering one product or service. Typically, it’s done with multiple offerings. Again, the idea of ending up broke as an entrepreneur isn’t one that you’re likely to want to entertain.

In my case, I run events, speak and write, and sell online products including a membership site. I don’t think you should spread yourself too thin, but having multiple income-generating projects reduces your risk and is a lot more fun than just doing the same thing all day, every day.

And sometimes, the way that you make your money is not how you would expect. Who ever thought Dr. Dre would make a fortune selling headphones? Or that McDonald’s would become one of the largest real estate companies in the world?

In order to succeed, you have to be open to new opportunities, even if those opportunities are unexpected. As Jeff says, “Don’t be a jack of all trades, become a master of some.”

Now, for more insights, be sure to check out Jeff’s new book – I reckon you’re going to love it!

And… as always, if you enjoyed this post, please let me know on my Facebook page or via Twitter. And… if you have some likeminded friends, I’d love for you to share it with them. Thank you!

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