Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Employee Advocacy starts with Passion

August 23, 2016

You have your EA program completely wrong!

Let’s start clarifying with a definition: “Employee advocacy” is a term used to describe the exposure that employees generate for brands using their own online assets. While social media is often the main medium for employee advocacy, these “online assets” include email, chat, forums, discussion boards and more.” (Source: Linkhumans).


Going through a  large number of post on how to start an Employee Advocacy Program, I found the following recurring elements.  Most include some kind of a mission; creating trust and freedom quickly followed by social media policy (of course);  a set of advocacy tools;  some kind of an incentive plan; company generated and focused content;  and finally possibly some training.

The focus of the program is on Reach and KPIs as measurement criteria.  Though this might make sense from a company’s point of view, it does not from the advocate’s point of view.


What is really needed to get to advocacy going is “Passion”.  Few (or no) programs are addressing this.  Let me dig a little deeper on what I mean by passion.

Passion for the company

Passionate employee are those that pay attention to the company’s strategies and tactics.  They follow every step the company is taking to be successful. Sometimes they might question these steps. They see their role in that success.  They defend their company every time without being asked and not because someone in the company ordered them.  Most importantly, they are not motivated by money.

Without that passion there is no employee advocacy.

Passion for the culture

Companies must have a passionate work culture that translates into devotion, recognition and long-term employment.  Open communications, honesty are key components that must exist within the company.  A lot of the times, you team culture springs to mind.  And as the expression goes: there is no I in Team!  And yes, EA is about creating trust and freedom!

Without that passion there is no employee advocacy.

Passion for products and services

The next level is that your employees need to be passionate about their products and services.  They see how these products make a difference and what their contribution to that success is.  It makes them proud!

Without that passion there is no employee advocacy.

Passion for helping

Yet another key element for advocacy is that you give freely without expecting any immediate return or otherwise stated the giver does not specify what should be given in return but rather accepts that the recipient is free might decide to give something  at some point.  As a giver you are trying to add value to your network and community.

Without that passion there is no employee advocacy.

Passion for social

Employees also have to have a passion for social media.  And I do not mean obsessed with constant updates but more about that internal fire to share and contribute without asking the ‘return’ questions.  So if they have no or limited social media accounts they will not suddenly create them and start sharing information because you ask them (via a amplification platform using gamification techniques).

Without that passion there is no employee advocacy.

Passion for personal branding

Finally, there must be a need/want of the employee to do personal branding and that using content that is either handed to them or they curated/created themselves.  The WIIIFM factor is and must be high and add value to the network of the individual.

i in team

And yes, there is an “I” in team when it comes to employee advocacy. Here is the magic formula:

                Employee Advocacy = Team + I

Without that passion there is no employee advocacy.

Remember that Passion and authenticity are hard to fake and people see through it easily.  Of course, this comes at a cost: the cost of failing and changing direction at some point. That’s okay because it lets you know it is time to move on and follow new passions.

passion 2

So when you set up an Employee Advocacy program release the passion first!

With that passion there is employee advocacy.

Why organizations fail at Employee Advocacy?

July 26, 2016

low-hanging-fruitThe low hanging fruit for ambassadorship is Employee Advocacy and yet many (not to say most) companies are failing miserably at it.


Why and what to get it on the rails of for many one of the burning questions on the table.

4 golden rules for Employee Advocacy and Sharing

When it comes to Employee Advocacy there are 4 golden and simple rules:

  1. You employees follow your company accounts
  2. There is a culture of sharing
  3. The WIIIFM factor (for the employees) of posts is high
  4. Content is generated by the employees

Let’s take a look at the above rules and answer the question of why and what

Employees follow corporate accounts


This seems so obvious but it is not.  Sometimes because companies have not asked, sometimes because of ignorance and even sometime because employee choose not to.  Few companies take the time to promote their own social accounts internally even though externally thousands of dollars/euros are spent to get followers/fans.  Companies assume employees will find and follow the accounts anyway.  But how do you expect your employees  to look for them and even going one step further to share from there.

Why not run an internal campaign to promote social media accounts and content as  first step to true Employee Advocacy?

Sharing culture


It must be said that some people and even nations share more than others.  Us Belgians are renounded for not sharing.  Sharing must be encouraged (via the social media policy) and done by example.  The management team and the social media lead by example for the rest of the organization to follow.  How do you expect employees to share what management and others do not share themselves.

Social media usage (also for private reasons during worktime) must be encouraged but forced upon your employees.

Oh by-the-way, the corporate account might want to share some of the content posted by its employees and this without being told to do so.



People share if the content they share makes them look good of entertaining to their audience, friends, fans and followers.  As a company post creator you should keep that in mind and not the promotion of company products and/or services.  Most company post do not hold the potential for people to share and look good!

User-Generated Content

content-people-01Sharing is a 2-way process and successful posts have a high level of human factor embedded in them.  Showing off your employees (and no, they will not be stolen away from you) and their content will make sharing so much more attractive.  One step further is using content from your employees on your corporate account will dramatically increase even more the level of sharing.  See it as a pat on the back and recognition for having great content.

And then there are tools

Since Employee Advocacy is seen as the golden egg, companies are looking for ways to make it hatch faster.  Here come the tools to help (aka“force”) the sharing actions.  These tools even come with incentive programs (gamification) to make sharing even more attractive. But gamification will only work so long.  In my humble opinion no longer than 3 to 6 months.  And yes, internal promotion will be required.   Let me clear these tools have their role to play and are a good way to kick start social sharing of company posts but they are no longtime cure.  There are a lot of great tools out there to help you with social sharing and employee advocacy.

However, the real cure lies in adhering to the above 4 rules to make Employee Advocacy a success!

Feel free to agree of disagree with me and sharing this in the comment field below.

Put your social media Sombrero on!

January 31, 2016

You will probably recognize the following scenario.  You enroll for a training or webinar to learn new things.  During the session there are a lot’s of tips and tricks you think you should implement but as you are keeping up with the pace, they get lost.  And then we all suffer from the “I will do it tomorrow” syndrome.  However, the next day we either forget or fall victim to our hectic business-as-usual where other fires have to be put out. Finally, we only implement less than 10% of what we learned.

I see this happening to too when people who learn all about LinkedIn or Social Media in trainings.  As a trainer it is frustrating that all your good tips & tricks were no implemented (in the spur on the moment).

sombreroRecently, I came across an interesting app called Sombrero which actually starts where you left of in your social media training.  This app acts as you guide and teacher but in small bits on a daily basis.  I tried the app myself first and then spoke with the people from Sotrender, the company behind this app.


Getting started is simple!

Installing the app is easy and so is setting it up.  Register your social media profiles like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and the small tasks start rolling in.  The nice thing is that the app takes babysteps as the task are simple and take very short time to complete.  The app gives you a real sense of accomplishment but still you are moving forward to professionalizing your social media presence.  True, if you are already active the first days/week might be boring but it provides some good benchmarking on where you are.

sombrero app

As you move along the timeline, tasks become a bit more challenging but reflect how you should be running your social media.  I found a great complement to my training program.

It is not all sunshine, of course!

What caught my attention is that there is bit of confusion around the target profiles: personal vs company profiles.  The app wants to serve both and it is not always clear which way it tilts.

Since I mostly focus on B2B, LinkedIn is a major component.  Unfortunately, this bit is missing today.   I understand it will be coming in next versions.

Another little drawback is the fact that it is an English-only version and my feeling tells me that the audience best served is not always used to work in English.


Since this app is free (and there is no catch) and very educational, I think you try it on your smartphone or tablet.  I am convinced that you will learn a thing or two even if you have some experience.  The app really delivers when it comes pushing your boundaries and boosting your online performance.

Let me know what you think!


Employee Advocacy in 9 questions?

November 27, 2015

I recently organized an event together with “ADM – Where Business meets ICT” on the subject of Employee Advocacy.  It is a hot topic for many companies as the low hanging fruit for brand ambassadors has not been picked yet.

Here is what members of ADM taught us.  The full list of questions are below in the appendix

Q1: What words come to mind when you hear the word “Employee Advocacy”?

Here is what the audience thought….

EA - 11

We all know that Employee advocacy” is a term used to describe the exposure that employees generate for brands & company using both their own online and offline assets.

Q2 – Q4 pertained to current Employee Advocacy

About 2 out 3 companies that took part in the on line survey during the event had a program in shape or form for EA.  Most of the Advocacy seemed to happen on LinkedIn (45%) while Twitter and Facebook came in 2nd with about 23%.   In most companies between 15% and 25% of employees are being advocates.

Q5: What Employee Advocacy programs do you know?

One thing that is clear is that even though there are many platforms out there, people seem to know few of them.

EA - 12

Q6 – Q8 pertained to who drives the EA initiative

Though marketing seems to be the biggest driver (46%), HR and communications are close seconds.  Even though we seem to hear that incentives are the key to successful EA, most of the companies in the survey disagreed.  Less than 30% offer incentives to their employees.

EA - 14

Now with Employee Advocacy comes the danger of having things go wrong so having a clear up to date social media policy is key.  As my other research has shown about 50% of companies are not paying attention and have no or an outdated social media policy.

Q9: Who is responsible for the content that will be shared through Employee Advocacy?

The obvious answer seems to be marketing but stories from and by employees seem to be the trick to successful EA.


If your company want to start with an Employee advocacy plan a few steps need to taken:

  1. Make sure you have a culture of sharing and openness
  2. Update your social media policy
  3. Have your employee create content
  4. Implement an employee advocacy platform
  5. Encourage sharing through a smart incentive plan

What are your thoughts, feedback and experiences? Love to hear from you

EA - 13

Appendix: questions asked to about 70 companies during the event

  1. What words come to mind when you hear the word “Employee Advocacy”?
  2. Does your company have an Employee Advocacy program?
  3. On what platforms is your advocacy happing?
  4. What % of your employees participate in advocacy?
  5. What EA platform are you using or know of?
  6. Which department drives EA?
  7. Are people incentivized for being an advocate?
  8. Do you have an updated social media policy?
  9. Who is responsible for creating content to be shared via EA?

The Renaissance of the social media policy

October 15, 2015

Let’s start in 2009

2009 is the year that social media breaks through on a large scale.  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the likes are adding members quickly.  I would like to call this the age of “consumersation of Social Media”.

social media errorsBut 2009 is also the year that we start seeing how naif people are.  They post anything and everything on social media.  They tarnish not only their own reputation but also that of the companies they work for.  Some even get fired for their behavior.  But also companies make mistakes with this young and new medium.  And then companies do what companies do best: the lock down and lockout social media on the work floor!

They did however not count on the fact that mobile was also becoming a  commodity. People creative as they are fled to these mobile devices to take part in social media during work hours.   Companies had to do something: The social media policy was born!

2011 – 2012

one in fiveWhen I did my survey about social media policies in companies, I found that only 1 in 5 companies had one.  Even worse: within those companies less than 10% of the employees knew about it.  This still holds true today.  Social Media policies were merely a tick in the box.

Companies only made one when disaster struck.  They created them as insurance policies.

2015:  Time for a social media policy renaissance

We are now 2015 and there 3 important reasons why companies should revisit their social media policy or create one.

3 reasons socmedpol

Reason #1: We all know that 2015 is the year of the video more specifically live-streaming.  Apps such as Meerkat, Periscope or even Blab give every employee a live camera in their hand.  What if they start live streaming your production process?  What if they stream paying events?  And this is just the beginning.

Reason #2: For years companies have been looking for ambassadors.  They kept looking outside the company and forgot their biggest assets, the employees.  Today Employee Advocacy is stepping into the limelight.  Employees can amplify company approved content and get a higher organic reach.  Today companies are using a number of tools from rFactr, over GaggleAmp to Sociabble or Smarpshare just to name a few.  But what if your employee add comments to post that are not appropriate?

Reason #3: More and more companies are embracing Social Selling (aka the use of social media by sales to find leads and build relationships).  We all know how disciplined sales people are and things can go wrong very quickly (and yes, this is black & white).  You really need a policy to help this people with their social media.

And finally, people are still naif in this day and age.  They are still being fired for posting stupid stuff.

So time for the renaissance of the social media policy.  If yours is more than 2 years old, it is time for a revision.


From my current research, it looks like about 50% of the companies have as policy of which some are more than 2 years old.  With social election in many companies coming up, it might be a good idea to include some paragraphs about union behavior and use  of social within your enterprise.

In my next article I will focus on the how you make/update your current social media policy.

You really want me to pay for LinkedIn?

November 15, 2014

paying for Linkedin I recently read yet another article about 8 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade To LinkedIn Premium.

Though I am not against paying for LinkedIn I believe you should be stretching it first to its limits before you do pay.  I find that a lot of people are paying where they shouldn’t or as they are not using the extra functionality.  Let me give you some insight into why I think you should not pay…

Additional Filters

I agree with the fact that the advanced search of LinkedIn is very powerful.  If and when you are working in a smaller type market (Belgium with 2.3 million members), these extra parameters are of no value.

Tip : just use the keyword search to get better results.  You will not be disappointed.

More Search Results

Okay, you can see more than 100 profiles which means that your search is not specific enough.  Let’s be honest you do not have the time or even energy to scroll through 30 screens.  You are not doing this on Google search so why would you do it on LinkedIn.

Tip: Be more specific in your search criteria.

More saved searches

There is something to be said about that were it not that few people (that I know or  have been in my classes) even know about this function.  It is very powerful to detect who in your network has changed his/her profile and now falls into your “target audience”.

Tip: set up your 3 saved searches

Do more reference searches

To my knowledge few people are even coming close to using this function.  Heck, most of them have not even discovered where this button is.  And let’s be real, in my neck of the world people ask you who to contact as reference.

Tip: Get some recommendations and endorsements of your skills. You could add to your summary that you are willing to provide references (if needed).


Of course, this is one of the high flyers when it comes to paying for LinkedIn.  Is sending emails to someone you do not know really such a good idea or practice? And by-the-way, did you know that you can send an email to anyone for free?

Tip: Just join one of the groups that person belongs to and your email is free!

More Introductions

Yet another one of LinkedIn’s biggest secrets.  Like in real life you can be introduced by someone you mutually know.  The quality of the network of many LinkedIn members is very good so they can do this type of introductions. Great feature but rarely used.  I rarely get a request (which I gladly pass along – try me!) even though I do have a large network.   Since this feature is hardly known few use up the 3 introductions.

Tip: Use your monthly 3 free introductions and be open to pass introduction.

Free subscription

See full profiles of 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree contact

Yes, it can be frustrating not to see the details of your 3rd degree contacts.  However, these people have a public profile which can be easily found back through a simple google search.  All you have to do is enter the First name, initial and company and Google will give you the public LinkedIn profile.  Here you will find the full story.  Have you ever tried?

Tip:  Try a Google Search on one of your 3rd degree contacts.

Who viewed your profile

Yet another top reason to pay for LinkedIn.  You can see everyone who visited your profile in the last 90 days.  Do you have any idea how many people visit your profile on a daily?  I dare to tell me it is over 5 which is what you see when you have a free subscription.  And no, you will nog see more from the anonymous people who view your profile.

Tip: Check your “Who viewed your profile” daily and you will catch all viewers.

Open profile

Are you really waiting for unknown people to send you emails on LinkedIn?

Tip: Just mention you email address in your summary or make visual on your public profile

The gold Badge (Premium)

Well, what a vain person are you?

Tip: Be less vain!


Unless you are a recruiter or salesperson working in a very large community, it makes no sense to pay for LinkedIn.  Stretch the free version of LinkedIn to its limits  before you decide to pay.  Yes, I have recently signed up for a premium account for Sales Navigator.  As part of my social selling practice, I need to appraised of its functionality.  The jury is out whether this will actually bring me the so much awaited ROI.  Will keep you posted on my results!

How social is the CIO-of-the-Year 2014?

October 1, 2014

The end of the year is slowly on the horizon.  And with that come numerous competitions for “best in class”.  One of these is the Datanews “CIO of the Year” competition.

CIO of the yearSometime ago (august) the list of the top 10 nominees was published.  Each of the nominees was selected for having a good vision, strategic insight, leadership qualities and personality.  And then is was up to the the public to vote who will be in the top 3!  The winner will be crowned on November 20th in Brussels.

I started wondering how these CIO’s would go about promoting their candidacy for the top 3.  One great place to do this is social media.  Think of the success of #TVVV or #BGT.   Since I had some reasearch (blogpost of April 2011) a long while back, I decided to take another look on social media.  After all these years I expected the presence to be much improved.  But no, it was again (still?) staggering to see their presence is very limited.


All CIO’s have a reasonable complete profile and good amount of contacts.  However, few have discovered the functionality of sharing a Status Update which could be formidable weapon in their quest to become one of the Top 3 CIO’s.

Only one CIO noticed that I visited their profile and wanted to connect.  The rest did not even click back.  Well I guess who will get my vote.


7 out of the 10 do have a twitter account which  I think is great. When it comes to tweeting few have masterd the art.  They all remain under 300 tweets (all-time) and 50% have not tweeted at all.  I just wonder if they know who is following they.


Half the CIOs are on facebook. And of those who are, none of them have protected their friends and/or pictures.  I would have thought they of all people would know something about privacy.


CIO’s seem not to missed Google+ completely.  I think 3 have discovered it probably by accident but their profile lack content and general information.  It is as good as empty.  But then again, Google+ is considered to be the desert among social media platforms.  Maybe CIO’s will move directly to

Other platform

When it comes to leadership one would hope that CIO’s run a blog but unfortunately, I was not able to find one.  Neither do they have a slideshare account or YouTube channel.  But one could say this is only for marketing.

cio logo
CIO messages2


Even though their companies are using social media heavily, CIO’s themselves still have not discovered Social Media – the cloud applications that outrun any other application domain.  It is clear that Social Media will have a minimal bearing on the winning of votes to be among the top 3.  This was a sad conclusion on most of the profiles of the 10 CIO’s


How Often? When? And How Many?

August 31, 2014

social-media-crazyThere are all kinds of statistics around about when to post where and with what frequency in order to reach as many people as possible.  Over the course of the summer, I conducted a survey among my LinkedIn contacts, Twitter followers and Facebook friends to understand their social media behaviour.  Here are the results.


Check Frequency: 45% check Twitter mulitple times per day.  Add another 17% that checks it daily.

Check Peak:  The prime moments for checking Twitter seems to be during and after work hours (over 70% for both categories).  The morning seems to show the lowest activity and so do breaks.

Post Frequency: There is a wide spread which is linked to the large number of lurkers on Twitter.  However, it seems that 43% tweet 1-3/week,.  27% do it between 1 and 3 times per day.  Less than 10% tweet more than 5 times per day.


Check Frequency: The use of LinkedIn for more than HR purposes is driving up the frequency with which people check LinkedIn.  With over 35% checking multiple times/day and 29% daily we give LinkedIn a thumbs up. Amazingly enough 2% never visits their profile while the rest checks it once a month.

Check Peak: As can be expected with a “professional” networking platform, most people access it during the work day.  An amazing 80% do it during work hours.  Breaks, mornings and evenigs do not seem to be  so popular.  It si considered work.

Post Frequency: From experience I know people do not do many Status Updates on LinkedIn.  The survey confirmed this again with 27% never posting and 33% only once a month.  Less than 11% post daily on LinkedIn.


Check Frequency: As expected over 65% check their Facebook multiple times per day.  Adding the 17% of daily checkers and we can conclude we are addicted to Facebook!

Check Peak: Here too, not many surprises except the fact that before breakfast does not do so well.  The highest peak lies in the evening after work.

Post Frequency: Since facebook has the highest degree of “lurkers” it is not surprising that weekly (42%) and daily (31%) post are the dominant numbers here.

Google what?

Yet again, Google+ demonstrates its ability to stay under the radar.  Even though there are so many accounts (gmail users, android users, picasa users, youtube user, etc.) few people are even aware they have a G+ account.  More that 60% never visit the account with another 10% that don’t even know they have such an account.


Though this research did not reveal anything dramatic, it confirms that LinkedIn is the professional tool of choice and tolerated in the workplace; Facebook the lurking tool into our realm of friends and brands; Twitter the platform no one really knows what to think of; and Google+ that special place in the desert!

How does your social media behaviour fit in with these results?

Here is the graphic representation of these survey results.

Social Media Access (1)

What is your Twitter clockspeed?

July 22, 2014

timer social mediaSalespeople are embracing social selling.  There are a lot of benefits to adding social to your traditional sales process which has been covered in many different articles.  These articles cover things such as researching your clients, content curation, relationship building and even lead generation.

After doing some research of where your target audience is , creating social (selling) profiles is easy.  Especially with all the good advice, tips and tricks you can find on the internet.  But then the next dilemma’s  arrive on the scene: what content to post where, how many posts and how much time will this take?

Of course, there is no unique and one answer to these questions.  There are some articles out there that say you will be spending 20 – 60 minutes per day, but is that realistic?  Looking at the forerunners of social selling might give us some more insight.  Where better to look for inspiration on the above questions than to the list with the Top 30 Social Salespeople.  Today, I will focus on what they do on Twitter.


There are many posts about how many times you should tweet per day.  One thing that seems to jump out is that the quantity seems to be going up.  In the past it was once a day but today the number is likely going up to 3 to 8 tweets a day.  This includes of course your tweets, retweets and replies to others.

But how many are our experts averaging?  A quick analysis gives us a range between 4 and 36 tweets per DAY!  The average being 17.  One of the reasons why this number could high is because these experts are taking part in twitter chats and are much solicited by their “fans” but that could also be considered as social selling.

Digging a little deeper, it seems they are tweeting every day of the week with Saturday and Sunday at a 1/3 or less of the weekday volume.  And most tweet around the clock with a real dip around 2-5 AM.  I assume this has to do with their worldwide audience and their use of scheduling tools.

And then there is the lifespan of a tweet.  After some digging I found that this varies between 10 and 18 minutes.

Conclusion: There is, of course, no exact number but it seems that you need to tweet 10+ times/day or otherwise said “once every hour” during the workday. And possibly 3 times/day during the weekend.

Content Structure

How-To-Write-The-Perfect-TweetThere is no such thing as a perfect tweet, but common knowledge has it that every tweet should have a good text with a call to action, a link to more content and one or more hashtags.  To make the tweet complete, you might add a twitter handle as part of a reply or general mention.

Unfortunately, most tweets do not adhere to this scheme.  Our experts manage include a link to more content in about 15% to 90% of their tweets. The average being one tweet out of two having a link.  When it comes to the use of hashtags, we see a similar behavior.  The experts average between 0 and 4 hashtags per tweet.

Conclusion: Every tweet you send out should have at least one or possibly 2 hashtags.

Time investment

So how much time do you spend tweeting?  The 2 above topics can give us some indication on how much time you will be spending per day.  Since there is no real science to this, here are some of my thoughts

  • Tweet 12-15 x day
  • Every other tweet has a link to additional content and a good hashtag.
  • Average time to create and send out a tweet: 1 minute (and yes this can vary) but keep in mind that some thought needs to go into the text, call to action and hashtag(s) to use.
  • If you include a link in your tweet or you retweet a tweet with a link, you need make sure you have read the content of the link which I will count as 1 minute per link. Since half the tweets contain links this will consume some time.

Conclusion: Taking the above bullet points into account, you will spend 20 minutes or more per day on your outgoing tweets.

And there is more

Of course, sending out tweets (like sending out email content) is only the beginning of the integration of social into your sales process.  You will be investing time into listening, content reading /curation and actual relationship building.  More to follow in future posts.

So how much time do you think you invest into your social selling routine?