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How Hewlett Packard Enterprise is Growing its Employee Advocate Economy [Podcast]

Mark Gyles, a Digital Marketing Manager at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), is the featured guest on episode 137 of the Social Business Engine podcast. Hewlett Packard Enterprise is a global organization that offers a portfolio of technology spanning the cloud to the data center to workplace applications. Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s technology and services help customers around the world make IT more efficient, more productive and more secure.

As a Digital Marketing Manager, Mark’s focus is on social media marketing and employee social media advocacy. In this episode, Mark reveals Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s approach to its employee advocate economy including the “why” and the “how.” Tune in for a crash course in employee social media advocacy. 

Why?

Statistics showing the IT buyer behavior is changing spurred the decision to launch an employee social media advocacy program at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. An important fact Mark points out is that 47% of B2B decision makers now trust employees over a brand’s marketing department. Another factor is how many of Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s employees are influential subject matter experts with the ability to authentically reach audiences that are new to the brand. The modern landscape of today’s social media platforms increases the need for more than branded social networks, and there are now several employee advocacy programs in place at Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

How?

The employee social media advocacy program that Mark manages stems from the need for authentic human-to-human interaction. The program started with recruiting internal teams, reviewing the content strategy, the strategy for the program itself, and obtaining a technology platform to deliver the content to employees. Once those elements were in place HPE initiated a pilot phase that lasted a couple of months. HPE recruited advocates who were already social media savvy and active in their blogging community to be community managers and administrators. In the podcast, Mark describes how working with HR, Legal and the respective business leaders was an important part of vetting the program.

After the pilot phase, then came the “Design, Develop and Iterate” phase. This involved recruiting new advocates and activating leadership in the program. The involvement of leadership significantly accelerated the rate of adoption throughout the organization.

Two years since the inception of their employee advocacy program, it is now a global initiative supporting multiple languages.

Mark suggests a framework for an employee social media advocacy program that includes:

  • Goals
  • Content strategy
  • Recruitment
  • Activation & scale
  • Engagement
  • Employee recognition
  • Measurement & Reporting

Criteria for Technology

When looking at technology to support the program, emphasis was placed on ease of use for administrators and advocates, as well as lifestyle friendliness.

Mark pointed out the following platform capabilities as necessities for administration of their employee social media advocacy program:

  • Content curation and segmentation
  • Workflow
  • Analytics of how the content performs
  • Scalability across geographical regions
  • Mobile friendliness

Content Strategy

The content shared in HPE’s employee social media advocacy program runs in parallel with branded accounts and is regularly reviewed for performance. As applies to any successful employee advocacy program, Mark points out that content is king. In addition to the program Community Managers curating branded and industry content into the platform, advocates can share their own sourced content too. They’re helping their employees build their personal brands by providing approximately 70% non-HPE-branded content.

Community managers are responsible for adding content that is optimized for social sharing and discoverability in social media and search engines. The 30% of HPE-branded content shared on the platform supports their marketing campaigns. This includes product launches and thought leadership programs.

Impact of Employee Social Media Advocacy Program

An average of 700 pieces of content per day are shared by HPE’s employee advocates and in some instances content shared by advocates receives up to 8x more engagement than shares from branded accounts.

Recent calculations have shown that advocate shares across the program would equate to $3.3 million dollars in paid media value. In addition to the brand’s benefits, the advocates using the platform are experiencing a boost in their online footprint, influence, and reputation allowing them to start new conversations.

Consider bookmarking these show notes if you’re interested in launching an employee advocacy program at your organization. Mark’s thorough overview of their HPE’s strategy will help guide you and truly serve as a crash course.

Tune in to learn even more about how Hewlett Packard Enterprise is expanding their employee social media advocacy program.

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