Vodafone is the world's second largest mobile phone operator. When you're in the business of connecting people, you have to practice what you preach. So who they gonna' call? Employee Advocacy.
I recently had a chance to speak with Kimberley Harcombe of Vodafone UK to get the inside scoop. Listen to the podcast interview on iTunes, SoundCloud or keep reading for a summary of our conversation.
What prompted Vodafone to launch an employee advocacy program?
"Our team is responsible for Vodafone UK's social media policy and after doing some research around employee attitudes towards the policy and whether they understood it - whether they even knew it existed - we discovered that the majority of people we surveyed weren't sure what they could and couldn't share through their personal social media profiles. The results also showed the employees would be willing to share Vodafone-related content through their own profiles, if it were easy to do. So we just joined the dots, and that's when we introduced "Go Social", which we developed with Dynamic Signal, they're our partners on it. It gives us the opportunity to activate those advocates within the business, as well as make it explicitly clear what employees can and can't share on social as a Vodafone UK employee."
What type of content seems to resonate best with employees?
"What we found is that we have a plethora of content that we share through Go Social, from a range of different sources. So that might be the consumer blog, it might be our enterprise blog, and Vodafone news stories from across the Web. For example, this story about the plaque will be covered by The Newbury Weekly News today, and people will love that, so we put that into Go Social and they're the kind of stories that our employees really like to share. So that's what we're finding. The stories that we populate into Go Social get a really good reaction.
And one of the great things about Go Social as well, is the ability for employees to actually submit their own content. If they've seen a really interesting piece on, for example, "Do you actually have to put your phone on airplane mode now when you go up in the air?" They could submit that into Go Social and, once it's approved, the content's available for everyone else to share, which people really like. So it becomes peer-to-peer sharing internally as well as externally with our social networks. And we found that our employees really like to share the content that demonstrates we're more than just a brand, and that there are people behind the logo. And we've also found the employees tend to care about different things, to media or to what our customers might care about, and Go Social gives them a chance to share those stories with their networks that they might not otherwise see."
What have been the main benefits for Vodafone?
"For the company specifically, advocacy is a major benefit. As mentioned previously, we knew that there were advocates out there, based on the survey that we did, but we didn't know who they were and where we could find them. And we were really looking for socially-savvy advocates, and those that already used social media in their personal lives, that would know how to use something like Go Social and be happy to share. And we've really found those advocates within the business, and we're still searching out others, but we've made a really good start. The Go Social program enables people to be advocates for their brands, to say, "Hey actually, I think this is really great, what we're doing in this space," whether it's something like community connection awards, where we give away money to local charities. It really allows them to get behind what we're doing as a business.
And also, obviously, increasing the organic reach of our content, so our employees will share our content - whether that be news or a blog story or a TV ad - through their personal social media profiles, and that reduces the reliance on paid media. We've also seen over 20 million impressions to date from a relatively small group of employees sharing that content."