Advocating for Almost Heaven, West Virginia Department of Commerce

Jason Brain

Creative Strategist

4 minute read

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Have you ever been to West Virginia? If not, today’s guest on the Social At Scale podcast will tell you why advocacy is a central tool for driving awareness about “Almost Heaven”. 

With thirty years of marketing experience and as the Director of Communications for the West Virginia Department of Commerce, Andy Malinoski knows what works best for promoting the wealth, beauty, and prosperity of his state.

But marketing for economic development deals and tourism has faced the same difficulties any organization has nowadays: relying exclusively on paid and official brand channels isn’t cutting it anymore.

As you’ll hear in this episode, Andy has been leveraging employee advocacy for almost a decade to make sure the most authentic and relevant content about West Virginia is reaching the audiences he wants to engage with.


Some topics Andy and Cameron cover:

  • How advocacy reifies relationships
  • Sharing the wealth, beauty, and opportunity!
  • Engaging people in environments they trust
  • Positioning employees as experts
  • For any industry or size, always advocate
  • Managing multichannel brand content
  • Andy’s ultimate goal 🫡

Watch the Full Episode


Three valuable takeaways:



Key takeaway 1: Leverage relationships at any scale

Whether your advocacy program is 100 people or 4,000 – leveraging employee advocacy literally starts word of mouth conversations as Andy points out. 

We hear so many stories like this. 🔊🔛👇

So what about word of mouth reputation?

As Ambassador Marketing puts it, “For centuries, word-of-mouth marketing has influenced purchasing decisions on everything from buying a new car to restaurant recommendations to software vendors.” 

When your colleagues (or your employees) are already advocating for their personal brands on social media, giving them the tools to do so from the workplace using an employee advocacy platform will enable WOM at scale.

EXTRA: check out the official West Virgina Department of Commerce website if you haven’t already.



Key takeaway 2: Building reach, frequency, and trust

If you could simultaneously optimize for reach, frequency, and trust, would you achieve all your marketing and business goals?

In a social-media-first world where the antecedent content distribution techniques of yesterday are eroding, employee advocates can reach your audience in an environment that they trust.

Listen to Andy talk about reach, frequency, and trust. 🎧🎚⏫

Building positive reputation begins with your people. You always start with your employees. This was true before social, and is only more relevant now that everyone has a network of connected relationships online.

EXTRA: this is his daily304 podcast that Andy mentions in the episode!



Key takeaway 3: Virtuous content circles for any industry

When employees are organized via an advocacy platform to share the content they are already creating that then drives traffic to your official paid or branded content, a positive feedback loop will occur.

Your company following will grow, and your combined advocacy audience will grow as well.

“I really don’t care what company you are… I’ve seen employee advocacy work for Fortune 50 and ten person HR consulting firm.”

Listen to this clip below! 🔊🔛👇



What are your brand goals for 2023? 

If you’re like Andy and want the best advocacy program on the planet, then let’s talk about what that looks like and how to make it happen.

Or for starters, learn more about the foundational value and future importance of advocacy in our “Why” page. Thanks for checking out this week’s Social At Scale episode, and until next time, happy sharing!


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