Engage Employee Advocates to Accelerate Sales via Social Media

Posted by Tom Smith on Thu, Aug, 28, 2014 @ 10:08 AM

Engaged employees accelerate sales








Great webinar by Nicole Alvino (@nalvino) of Social Chorus, Susan Emerick (@sfemerick) of Brands Rising, and Jenn Meiner Roumian (@jroumian) of EA on "Engaging Employee Advocates: How Electronic Arts is Activating Employees to Amplify the Brand's Message."


Nicole started the presentation by sharing how companies can "turn social media inside out" by engaging the thousands of insiders a company or brand has -- their best employees, customers, partners and influencers. 


People like to help people they know like and trust. They want to see them succeed. If you let them know that sharing something about your product or service on social media will help your business, your brand advocates are willing to do so to help you.


And, based on several studies, the help of advocates is invaluable:


  • An everyday employee is trusted twice as much as the CEO (Edelman Trust Barometer).

  • 92% of an employee's Twitter followers are new to the brand (Cisco).

  • 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a product or service when they hear about it from someone they trust (Nielsen).

  • Employees have 10 times more followers than corporate accounts (Cisco). 

People build relationships with people, not companies. Brand advocates are great ambassadors for your company.

Employee advocacy impacts all facets of a business:

  • Reputation (Communications and P.R.) -- corporate reputation, awareness, internal communications, thought leadership.

  • Demand (Marketing) -- awareness, reach, buzz, leads, cost savings as the result of social word-of-mouth.

  • Recruting (Human Resources) -- provides an inside view of the company, builds the corporate reputation among potential employees, cost savings from recruiting expense. You have people knocking on your door who want to work for you based on what they've learned about you on social media from your advocates.

  • Close rate (Sales) -- leads, both marketing qualified and sales qualified, thought leadership, local sales, customer stories and testimonials, relationship building.

  • Awareness (Product Group) -- buzz, trusted expertise, demand, awarenss and leads.


There are three critical steps to execute a successful employee advocate social media program:


  1. Executive support -- buy-in, financial support, support of the mission, involvement and encouragement.

  2. Training and onboarding -- must be ongoing and sustainable. Employees must know what is, and is not, acceptable as representatives of the company without diluting their voice or integrity.

  3. Activation and results -- define the program, the strategy and how participants will be recognized, and, if appropriate, rewarded.


Susan Emerick shared three three steps necessary to build a compelling business case for an employee advocate social media program:


  1. Value realization -- how will the program impact revenue, costs, efficiency and productivity? Have the steps in place to measure so you are able to share the results with the management team.

  2. Securing investment -- sell the benefits to the internal stakeholders so they are willing to make the investment, whether it's time or money, to insure the program's success.

  3. Understanding motivations -- how social employees can have a positive impact on metrics: cost/lead, share of voice, sentiment, costs, sales, market share, productivity, efficiency, talent acquisition, retention.

Jenn Meiners Roumain is the Global Brand Manager, Talent Acquisition at Electronic Arts, a leading developer, marketer and distributor of video games with more than 9,000 employees.


Jenn created the EA Insiders as the firm's employee advocate social media team based on the vision, mission and values of the firm. 


The characteristics of an EA Insider are:


  1. A champion and evangelist of all things EA.

  2. A collaborator and partner with Talent Acquisition, Corporate Communications, senior leadership, Public Relations and Human Resources.

  3. A promoter and engager of EA events.

  4. A social media maven. Once EA Insider has 15,000 followers.

  5. An inspirer of, and an inspiration to, Talent Acquisition and employer branding initiatives.


Jenn laid out the six steps to activating the group:


  1. Align the goals to the mission and philosophy of the firm: increase awareness and engagement; influence talent acquisition; engage; provide thought leadership; and, enhance morale.

  2. Identify internal business partners and get leadership involved from Talent Acquisition, Corporate Communications, H.R., Marketing/P.R.

  3. Choose a pilot group -- by region, by department and by social media knowledge.

  4. Define how to measure success. Engagement might be the number of shares or the amount of content generated. Advocacy can include participation and activation. Impact can be measured by audience engagement and increase in job applications.

  5. Create a plan for long-term engagement by providing a diverse mix of content, encouraging employees to recommend new content, and create a thank you and recognition plan.

  6. Scale and grow the program. EA Currently has 60 EA Insiders with a goal of having 100 by the end of the year, 500 to 1,000 after two years and, ultimately, everyone in the company.


After the first few months, the EA Insiders have made 9,300 personal engagements worth more than $25,000 in media value.


How much value can your employees provide you by engaging customers and prospects via social media?   


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Tags: trust, empower employees, customer engagement, employee engagement, social media