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Build scalable internal social advocacy: the butterfly effect

Organisational social media advocacy is a source of competitive advantage. But it's still an underutilised tool in the corporate armoury. We explain how to empower your biggest advocates.

Organisational social media advocacy is a source of competitive advantage. But it’s still one of the most underutilised tools in the corporate armoury.

 

Typically, most organisations want to increase trust in their brand, showcase their expertise, and deepen relationships with existing and potential customers.

Despite this, they have draconian social media policies that at best hinder people from talking about their brand, and at worst flat-out ban them.
Draconian social policies silence their biggest advocates.

This social media paralysis is a major roadblock to building authentic – and now, essential –  credibility with myriad stakeholders, including government, industry associations, press, and customers (potential and existing).

 

In contrast, savvy brands embrace the fact that their people are their most influential brand advocates.

 

And they provide the right guidance and support to enable them to choose if they want to help set an authentic narrative in the market.

Best of the best internal social programs

I’m an unabashed fan of Telstra’s 3Rs social play, which they launched ten years ago. Within a few months, more than 12,000 of their people had completed the course. And to top it off, they released the policy publicly and asked punters for feedback.

 

Now that’s social proof – but it doesn’t stop there. Telstra’s CEO, Andrew Penn, provides a daily masterclass on how executives can leverage their personal brand to strengthen corporate outcomes.

Similarly, ANZ’s Shayne Elliott and Medibank’s Craig Drummond are experts at using social media to set a narrative and showcase their personal and company expertise.

 

One of the challenges I often hear from organisations is that their sector is heavily regulated and that precludes them from social advocacy. But I’d encourage you to consider if you’re really in an industry more scrutinised than banking, health insurance or telecoms.

 

If these corporate behemoths can do it, why can’t you?

Why empower your people socially?

There’s obviously a brand and credibility play, and a sophisticated advocacy strategy can help humanise the brand, increase salience, and extend our messaging.
Person holding up their first from empowerment

For your people, it enables them to be active online in a meaningful way and grow their influence and reputation – ultimately demonstrating their capability.

 

And given we all – hopefully – agree our people are our biggest assets, why wouldn’t you want to showcase that your talent is the best of the best?

But there’s a very commercial reason too: social advocacy enables you to bring people into your digital ecosystem, effectively enabling you to nurture new relationships you can monetise. And you can do so without increasing your paid media spend.
Similarly, it can help significantly reduce your cost of acquisition for talent.

The facts about activating your people socially

But don’t just take my word for it.

 

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, an employee campaigning for a brand is twice as likely as the CEO to be trusted. And only 15% of adults trust a company’s social post, whereas 70% trust messages they receive from friends and family.

 

Now, combine that with the fact that 67% of people said a good reputation may get them to try a product, but unless they trust the company, they will soon stop buying it.

 

Here are some other killer stats you need to be across:

So how do you build an employee advocacy program?

By this stage, I’m hoping it’s a fait accompli that your organisation should evolve its – or embed a new – social media advocacy program.

 

We’ve helped many organisations do this. And while each program is tailored, they all share several consistent elements:

A boy in a cape like a super hero

Now the only caveat to this is that you must ensure you have relevant content that your Champions can share in a way that’s both authentic to them, and relevant to their audience.

 

Social cannot operate in a vacuum, and its full power can only be unleashed when combined with content.

 

Trust your people and empower them to extend your corporate voice – you might be amazed at just how far and meaningfully your brand can be heard.

 

PS. We know a good team that can help you do this. Hit us up if you’re keen to chat.