If you have an employee advocacy platform currently or are doing research on selecting one, you might have read the title of this post with a question mark in your mind.
And while social sharing and leveraging employees social media accounts are core pillars of employee advocacy, the technology and the way it’s used is evolving.
It’s time for organizations to see the numerous uses employee advocacy platforms have besides enabling employees to share content to their social networks.
Below, I’m going to dive into some history of the employee advocacy platform and how this technology should be used for more than just sharing content.
- History of Employee Advocacy Platforms
- Employee Advocacy Is Not Just Sharing Content
- The Internal Knowledge Center
- Building A Workplace Community
- Powers Employee Voice and Recognition
History of the Employee Advocacy Platform
The idea of employee advocacy started only a handful of years ago, with EveryoneSocial being one of the first platforms in this space.
At the time, it was a bit of an odd concept to outsiders to think that organizations would be open to social media in the workplace and allow employees outside of marketing to share content.
In the early days of social media, companies were quick to restrict access, set up rules around social media, or block it altogether.
My, how times have changed!
However, as social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn continued to grow and data about employee reach became known, the concept of employees sharing branded content wasn’t so far-fetched anymore.
The challenge for companies that were interested in social advocacy, was how to properly harness, manage, and monitor results. Cue in employee advocacy platforms!
And for many companies, this strategy and technology in the beginning was really just an experiment.
Yet, many early adopters like Dell and Adobe understood the intrinsic value it could bring to their brands.
Those two innovative technology companies were some of the first clients of EveryoneSocial back in 2012 and increasingly find value in employee advocacy to this day.
But, when something is revolutionary in the early stages of adoption and then market value shifts, naturally a bigger picture will start to formulate and products will evolve as a result.
And over these last few years, organizations (and our own team) have learned so much about how employee advocacy should work and what it can do beyond the core functions of the platform.
Related: Need a full recap on all things employee advocacy? We put together this content along with an accompanying downloadable to read at any time or distribute to other colleagues.
Why Employee Advocacy is Not Just About Sharing Content
Don’t let this section mislead you, at the core of an employee advocacy platform is enabling employees to share content to their social media accounts. That is one part we don’t see shifting at all.
What has changed over the years is that employee advocacy offers more uses than being the central social sharing station. And it offers more than just boosting marketing and sales results for your organization.
These are great reasons to adopt a platform, but it’s important to note how powerful employee advocacy can be by not just focusing on social sharing only.
Our team is calling this new wave the era of Employee Advocacy 2.0. We’ve discovered that not every employee wants to share or even cares about social media or building a personal brand. Even in this digital age. It’s a reality.
But even these “non-social media” employees should still have access to your adopted employee advocacy platform. With the right platform, employees can still be involved in their work community besides just sharing content.
In the coming months we’ll be showing more of what we are working on and how we think the market is evolving (in a good way). More on that down the road.
But, below are other reasons an employee advocacy platform matters to your company and how it impacts your people.
The Internal Knowledge Center
If your organization is centered on valuable content, resources, and knowledge based information, an employee advocacy platform is perfectly suited for your needs.
All of these use cases have always been part of the advocacy program, but there are more uses cases in the 2.0 era: communications to name one.
Employees are looking to stay in the loop, learn about their company, see what company leaders are talking about, understand what other departments are working on, and have access to training materials.
Your employee advocacy platform becomes the simple go-to center of organized information.
With easily streamlined communications, push notifications, email send option, and organized groups of information, all employees can easily access what they need whenever and wherever they are.
And there is data to backup how powerful employee communications and knowledge sharing is:
- 85% of employees said they’re most motivated when management offers regular updates on company news. (Trade Press Services)
- Use of social software by employees can improve productivity by 20-25%. (McKinsey)
- When companies use social media internally, messages become content; a searchable record of knowledge can reduce, by as much as 35%, the time employees spend searching for company information. (McKinsey)
Building A Workplace Community
Workplace community can be a powerful thing, but also difficult for many large organizations (especially for ones with multiple office locations).
However, the right employee advocacy platform can unify and build your company as a strong community. The disconnect and misinformation your organization might have between employees will become a nuisance of the past.
This is why in EveryoneSocial 2.0 (coincidentally coeval with the new ear of Employee Advocacy 2.0), we’ll be unveiling some new features that create an internal environment of a connected community.
But here’s how employee advocacy should be looked at as a way to build a workplace community. This is from our friend Rani Mani of Adobe, who recently wrote a guest post for us.
Perfectly worded, her insights are exactly how we think here at EveryoneSocial. So here is a snippet from Rani’s post:
“You exchange ideas, cheer each other on, offer advice and support, make warm introductions of others in your networks who should know one another and before you know it, a strong workplace community has emerged across the company.
The employee advocacy program with its curated content and centralized platform serves as the rallying point to bring your employees together and gives them an online meeting spot to engage, deepen, and strengthen relationships.
And the intended consequence of all of this is a passionate army of employees who feel more connected to one another and by default their employer. Employees who are staying on top of company news and industry trends.”
Powers Employee Voice and Recognition
Many employees won’t share content, nor care about how their personal brand grows on social media.
Certainly, in your social media training plan for employee advocacy you want to show why it is beneficial to trust individual employees building their respective brands within the company.
But you can’t force anyone to share to social media, especially about your company if they do not want too.
Yet, this is also the time for your training to show how the program is valuable to everyone without necessarily sharing content.
“When employees feel like their voice matters, they are more willing to use the platform and it builds the relationship between the company and employees. “ – Tatiana Echeverri — Communications Project Specialist at Cyxtera
It will be an inspiring hub for employees to put faces to their colleagues’ names, become informed of all company happenings, and a way to share their voices and give recognition to other employees.
This also includes offering their own insights in comments, providing overall feedback, tagging other team members to check something out, or to provide kudos and recognition for great work.
In this awesome 2.0 era, non-social sharing employees can engage with others who have created or shared something.
And what was once just an advocacy platform proper can now be the central place to share ideas and be heard by managers and executives.
Referring back to Rani’s post, the rapport that is generated by a 2.0 advocacy platform can influence employees who love social sharing:
“Co-workers liking, commenting, sharing, and otherwise regularly engaging on your posts makes you feel good. And by posts this could mean articles you specifically wrote, shared, or content that you had thoughts on.
There’s a sense of belonging, a shared sense of purpose, a feeling of being appreciated, and making an impact.
This good feeling boosts your desire to put out more content and to add value to the posts of others…”
The heart of the employee advocacy platform has always been the sharing of content. That will continue to be the foundation of your program and should be encouraged in your work culture.
Plus, it might be the main reason you want to put an employee advocacy program in place.
But it’s important to remember that this is not the only value employee advocacy brings to your company.
Employees from all different backgrounds and generations will view social media differently, but your platform should not alienate those who don’t care about social sharing either.
This is where the era of employee advocacy 2.0 has begun and where EveryoneSocial is currently doing (and headed further). You’ll find that your employee advocacy platform will now become the central place for all employees to stay connected, informed, and empowered.