• Russ Fradin
    Russ Fradin on July 29, 2014

    Why Employee Advocacy Matters

    Employee advocacy is an emerging new marketing strategy where companies empower their influential employees to authentically distribute brand approved content, create original content, and in turn earn recognition and rewards for their activity and participation.
  • alexmoffit
    Alex Moffit on September 4, 2014

    John Doerr on OKRs and Goal Setting at Google and Intel [VIDEO]

    “Ideas are precious, but they’re relatively easy. It’s execution that’s everything,” says John Doerr, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and the man who introduced Objective & Key Results (OKRs) to Google. Google widely credits OKRs for helping the company grow from 40 to 40,000 employees. Other businesses including LinkedIn and Twitter have also embraced OKRs.
  • Greg Gerik
    Greg Gerik on September 16, 2014

    Shaking Up Social: Attending the Social Shake-Up in Atlanta

    Last year, the Social Shake-Up was one of the best social conferences to attend and this year promises to be even better. Here are a few of the hottest topics and sessions at the Shake-Up this year that are sure to deliver and drive this industry forward.
  • We just wrapped up our first Employee Advocacy Summit, and it was packed with information on this exciting new field. We heard from everyone: advocates themselves, training experts, best-selling authors, long-time leaders, and even a lawyer (with a sense of humor).

    We just wrapped up our first Employee Advocacy Summit, and it was packed with information on this exciting new field.

    We heard from everyone: advocates themselves, training experts, best-selling authors, long-time leaders, and even a lawyer (with a sense of humor). Mike Bruny talked about "falling in love with your company"; Liz Bullock unveiled 10 steps to implementing a training program; Sabrina Stoffregen, DeShelia Spann, and Tammie Wagner told us how to take our program to the next level; and our fearless leaders, Chris Boudreaux and Susan Emerick, held court on everything from technology to metrics to the bottom line. It ended with a live episode of Denise Holt's Social Business Helpline podcast that blended right into cocktail hour, as the audience questions kept coming.

    We think it's safe to say that, based on the enthusiasm we saw from both panelists and the crowd, Employee Advocacy is a red-hot topic that's sure to keep spreading like wildfire in the years to come.

    One of the hosts for today's panels at the Employee Advocacy Summit, Susan Emerick, and her partner at Brands Rising LLC, Jeanne Murray, delved deeply into metrics, KPIs and measurement frameworks for employee advocacy programs. They also answer one of the most difficult questions faced by their audience: "How do I prove business value?"
    One of the hosts for yesterday's panels at the Employee Advocacy Summit, Susan Emerick, and her partner at Brands Rising LLC, Jeanne Murray, delved deeply into metrics, KPIs and measurement frameworks for employee advocacy programs.  They also answer one of the most difficult questions faced by their audience: "How do I prove business value?"

    Notes from the Measuring Performance and Value session at the Employee Advocacy Summit in Atlanta, GA on September 15, 2014.  This is one of a series of posts recapping the day and key comments from speakers and guests.

    SPEAKERS

    Susan Emerick
    CEO & Founder, Brands Rising, LLC

    Jeanne Murray
    Partner, Brands Rising LLC

    NOTES

    A problem that is pervasive throughout marketing and PR, not just employee advocacy, is measurement and proving tangible business value.  Susan and Jeanne share from their personal experiences, including IBM.

    Goals

    As a manager of an employee advocacy program, it is critical to set clear goals and lay out responsibilities.  The success and scalability of an employee program can hinge on how employees understand their responsibilities are and what they mean for them, in addition to the overall business goals.

    Creating a Measurement Framework

    There has certainly been a maturity over the years of things that can be measured; however, most of these do not prove business value.  There are two very simple things businesses care about: increasing revenue or decreasing costs.  When creating a measurement framework about value for an employee advocacy program, think about what the program will achieve and how it will be done.

    Metrics

    A robust employee advocacy program will have employees from a wide variety of business units from within your organization.  Just as in their jobs, they do not all have the same roles, responsibilities, functions and are not reviewed in the same way.  Their performance in an employee advocacy program should be no different.  Different employees will excel in different areas and should be measured accordingly.  This is not a one size fits all situation.  Marketing/Sales/PR/IT/HR/Finance may each need different goals as well as metrics for determining their success.

    Engage Employees

    Employees need to be equipped to understand their goals.  While they should be aspirational and achievable, most importantly they need to be understandable and relatable.  Engaging employees is important to not only ensure goals are met, but to help employees optimize their own performance by understanding shifts in the market and remaining motivated to stay involved.

    Social media training is a balancing act between teaching employees the risks of social media and how to be active on social for business benefits and closer customer relationships. There are ten steps to consider when launching a social media training program across your organization. Read on to find a recap of these insights, presented at the first Employee Advocacy Summit in Atlanta (#EASummit14).

    Social Media Training is challenging.  It is a balancing act between teaching employees the risks of social media and activating employees to be more effective in their roles.  

    A few years back in a previous corporate role, I recall taking a compliance training course and being informed not to leave candles burning on my desk.  I was surprised to be told this, as it seemed like a no-brainer, but then realized there must have been a prior incident for this message to be shared  broadly across the organization. Social media risk management training is like the candle in this example: we have to inform our employees that there are risks, and there can be damage for the employee and the brand. But on the flip side, candles provide light and warmth, and can be very powerful.  Social media, too, is a powerful tool that can bring us closer to the customer, make our business more effective, and help us become better listeners.

    In the first Employee Advocacy Summit of its kind, I was provided the opportunity to present ten steps to consider when building out a social media training program, teaching employees how to use social media effectively without burning the building down.  

    One of my favorite steps is going back to the old marketing creative brief.  Remember answering the question of what you want your customers to think, feel and do?  It is the same for our employees.  What do we want employees to think, feel and do with social media?  I've recommended this exercise to numerous customers, encouraging them to write the actual answers down.  This will help inform the training content, plus activation plans.

    Another favorite tip: get employees to understand a two-page legal document (insert your social media policy here).  The reality is that none of your employees are going to read the social media policy.  This is the foundation of risk management, and you need to think creatively about how to message this content to your employees.  Also, use your Executives: employees tend to listen and follow their input. 

    You can find the remaining eight steps in the SlideShare presentation below:
     
     
    Here's the reality: the role of the employee is changing.  It is our duty to protect our employees, as well as inspire them to build their personal online brands, while listening and meet our customers in this new era. I believe a strategic social media training program has the power to protect and inspire action.  
    Back in the early 2000s, there were visionaries who saw the promise of social and what it could be, and it didn’t have anything to do with technology. One of those visionaries is Brian Solis, the principal analyst with Altimeter Group, which helps companies adjust to technology disruption. He's also an author and in-demand speaker on the startup circuit. He opened the first morning of the The Social Shake-Up 2014 on Tuesday, Sept. 16, with Social Media Today’s co-founder and CEO, Robin Carey. Read on to figure out how you'll strike back at technology with human-to-human connection.

    Back in the early 2000s, there were visionaries who saw the promise of social and what it could be, and it didn’t have anything to do with technology. One of those visionaries is Brian Solis, the principal analyst with Altimeter Group, which helps companies adjust to technology disruption. He's also an author and in-demand speaker on the startup circuit. He opened the first morning of the The Social Shake-Up 2014 on Tuesday, Sept. 16, with Social Media Today’s co-founder and CEO, Robin Carey.

    “Business has never been human,” Solis said. “There is nothing about relationships in CRM. We could be more human. Some of us are still fighting the same thing today as we were in early 2000. Just because you come out on social doesn’t make you social. You really have to try to be transparent, to connect with someone. That’s the core of what makes business social. A lot of us lost sight of that.”

    Carey put Solis on the spot right from the start, asking him his opinion about Scott Monty’s departure from Ford Motors as its social media pioneer. She asked specifically, “Has marketing taken over social business?” Solis was taken back, responding that the coffee is still digesting. Of course, the audience laughed with them. And then Solis said Scott never lost sight of the human side of social. Ford became more human under his lead. But he reassured Robin and the audience that just because such a high-profile social leader left a large corporate brand, it’s not the end of social—we just have to figure out what we want to do with social. Do we stay or leave? We’re at a crossroad.

    “We got comfortable with what social should be but never got it to where it could be,” he said. “It’s mired in politics—who does what, who funds what?"

    At the end of the day, is your energy spent better elsewhere, as in Scott’s case? Well, let’s compare Monty’s exit from Ford Motors to when Luke left the planet Hoth to go the planet Dagobah to train under Jedi Master Yoda. While Luke was training, Darth Vader captured Luke’s friends, so he had to decide whether to complete his training and become a full Jedi Knight or to confront Vader and save his comrades. Perhaps Ford Motors was Monty’s Hoth and Shift Communications is Dagobah. Have we been captured by Darth Vader, which, in this case, is technology? Will Monty save us from technology, continuing to be our Jedi Master of social media and reminding us of the human side of it?

    This Is the Crossroad

    We have to answer these questions with other questions first. Do you see the future of your company as more responsive and listening more to customers? That’s what social brings to the party. If your company isn’t responsive, and if it doesn’t listen, what are you going to do? Our Social Change Agent survey shows many of you are willing to push for social and stand up for it to colleagues and superiors despite the risks. Some of you are even willing to lose your job versus compromise your social beliefs.

    “If you ask a CEO what keeps them up at night, their typical response is technology," said Solis. "If you ask a CMO, they say we don’t know our customers as well as we’d like to know them. But we know them. There’s a gap between us and the C-suite. Although none of them would say, ‘We don’t care about our customers,’ if they were truly customer-centric, CEOs and CMOs would put people first.”

    Solis’ research, in fact, found 88 percent of CEOs said their companies are undergoing digital transformation; yet only 25 percent studied the digital customer. “The problem with any executive is that I honestly don’t believe they think they’re selling to humans. I don’t think we appreciate when we talk to someone else, the opportunity to talk to someone else. I have your attention and you have mine. Now what are we going to do with it? What happens next? What’s different about this? We don’t know. We have so much structure, etc., it doesn’t allow the natural progression of an embrace.”

    The “embrace” Solis spoke of isn’t the typical hug, of course. It’s the “gift of empathy” on social. We’re measured by transactions, he said, which come after the embrace. So don’t just tweet back to solve a problem. Get to the root of the problem. Practically share the bad experience to counter all of the other stuff, Solis suggested. “People don’t share good experiences as much as they share bad experiences, but we have to inspire behavior we want to see, and stop reacting and start cultivating this community.”

    None of us have come out and said, “It’s not about me, it’s about community,” he continued. “It’s not about technology, it’s about real problems that we’re trying to solve in the real world,” Carey added. “It’s really about taking this collaborative global thing and plugging into solutions.” 

    But Solis said you actually have to care. Mediumilism is a term he came up with to explain how we jump on everything, such as infographics as the new press release. “Every content piece you’re going to create, whether it’s an infographic or tweet, you’re faced with what do I want to do next, how do I want people to use it?’

    Content is a means, Solis explained, and social is a means. But what do you want to have happen from it, he asked? It’s not just that you want to feel good, but you want someone on the other end to feel good. Imagine a world in terms of content where we all truly cared about the person on the other end of the infographic or tweet. That’s the core of social business. And Solis believes that’s what will convince the C-suite.

    Although Monty moved on from Ford Motors, he continues to guide us in social media marketing. And as you probably know, Luke left his training with Yoda to save his friends. What are you going to do? As long as you have the person on the other end of the content in mind, no matter your business goals, social strategy, or audience, the empire will surely strike back. The best possible case is that human connection will collaborate with technology. Reminds you of when Darth Vader saves Luke in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, doesn't it?

    We've only been at The Social Shake Up 2014 for a little over 5 hours, but we're already learning valuable takeaways about content creation. Here are 5 tips for more effective content creation and what to watch for as we look to develop creative, engaging, and relevant content for our brands.
    We've only been at The Social Shake Up 2014 for a little over 5 hours, but we're already learning valuable takeaways about content creation. Here are 5 tips for more effective content creation and what to watch for as we look to develop creative, engaging, and relevant content for our brands. 
     

    1. Your Audience: Know 'em and have 'em know you

     
    While you may have the resources to spew out content all day long, if it's content that your audience doesn't care about, then you're essentially wasting your resources. Be sure that if you're talking to Millennials, the look, feel, and tone fits them. It's probably not the same content that you'd serve up to Baby Boomers. The more often that your content is geared to the right audience, the more likely they'll notice you. You need to cut through the clutter, so audience understanding is at the heart of that. 
     
    Watchout: While it may feel right to jump on the latest trending conversations, it might not be anything your audience is talking about. Don't always feel compelled to just "join in" because everyone else is. Join in the conversations relevant to your audience, your social media team, budget, and resources will thank you. 
     

    2. Update Your Brand Book: social media needs a chapter

     
    In the days of traditional advertising and marketing, imagery, logo usage, colors, brand voice, and vision were all mandatories in your brand book. Today, in our digital world, social media standards need a chapter of their own. 
     
    When you clearly define your social media standards and how you want to come across in the digital world, like the social appropriate voice, the campaign goals, the standard visuals, etc it can help speed up the content creation process since you have a guide in place. It allows you to limit the number of approvals needed to publish content since you've already identified and agreed upon the standards in the brand book. Setting up a solid foundation for your social media just like any other branding attributes will set you in the right direction. 
     
    Watchout: make sure your guidelines don't limit the creative process. While you want guidelines for consistency you don't want monotony. Ensure you create guidelines with some flexibility to allow your creativity to still shine. 
     

    3. Be Organic: don't force everything, let it happen on its own

     
    "The best moments are unplanned", according to Andrea Harrison, Head of Platform Strategy for RebelHouse. Andrea emphasized that it's important to let some things happen on their own. One of the examples is instead of just creating custom branded hashtags to interject into the social space, maybe it's better to listen and jump on the hashtags that are already part of conversations. Sometimes reinventing the wheel isn't how you'll get skin in the game. Talk about what others are talking about so you are part of what's already happening. 
     
    Watchout: make sure that you can cut through the clutter. When you jump on the bandwagon you're competing with everyone else on it too. When you have compelling and innovative content it will help you standout amongst the crowd.
     

    4. Creative Content Sandbox: have a place for creative minds to generate ideas

     
    If you don't create a space, the time, or group of people to get social media content created then you'll go nowhere. Remember, you need resources and talent to get things done. We live in a world where people are actively wanting new things all the time. It's the advent of we will not wait for it. So if you don't have people and resources at your company coming up with content, then some teenager in their bedroom and/or a YouTube sensation will be doing it on their own time, potentially taking away your audience's eyes and time to their content. Invest in a team so you have a quality social presence.
     
    Watchout: don't bite off more than you can chew. The last thing you want to do is not keep up on your content if you start publishing. It will deter your audience from continuing to engage. To help combat this, developing a well defined social media calendar will help you stay on track. It will hold your company accountable as well as setting up a publishing pace that's appropriate for the time and resources that you realistically have. 
     

    5. Consistency Leads to Discovery: importance of unified naming conventions 

     
    In the sea of users and companies on social media, getting noticed can be a problem in and of itself. Do yourself one favor and start by unifying your naming conventions. If you have your Twitter handle named a certain way, use that same name in Instagram, Facebook, etc. It can already be hard enought to get your audience to find you once, let alone as differing entities. The more consistent you are with your naming the more you can heighten your discoverability across channels. 
     
    Watchout: try to find a name that works across as many networks as possible. One way to check and find the best name is through the website http://knowem.com. Knowem scans hundreds of social networks and shows you which networks have your name available. Quick, down and dirty way to checking your name all in one place. 
     
    Be sure to join the conversation and add your own tips and learnings on Twitter with #socialshakeup.