Thursday, December 8th, 2016 | 7 min read
About three months ago, we built an employee advocacy tool for our company. We call it Sprinklr Engage, and I helped get it up and running.
Before Engage, we didn’t have a full fledged employee advocacy program. We shared all content on the business’s social networks, made sure to track number of pageviews from employee sharing (using UTM parameters in links), and that was about it.
We couldn’t tell how much engagement was driven by employee sharing, or how our advocacy efforts were affecting the reach of our blog and social content. We weren’t rewarding employees for sharing our story, and we lacked a sense of community.
We needed a solution, and we wanted to do it right.
Our employee advocacy program allowed us to execute many of the best practices we’ve been preaching to clients, but we also learned some new tips along the way. Here are some takeaways and best practices that we want to share.
Engage is an advocacy community that allows Sprinklr employees to easily access and share Sprinklr-produced content as well as relevant tech news.
When employees log in for the first time, they provide demographic information (office location, department, etc.) and choose from nine different interests based on Sprinklr’s solutions and organizational structure. They then receive content based on those interests.
If an employee chooses “events,” for example, they’ll see any content tagged with “events” as on their Engage home page.
Employees can upload their own content as well, and “recommend” it to be on the site for other employees to share on social.
It’s a way for employees to spread the word about the company and bolster their personal brands by sharing thought leadership across their social channels.
One of our most important takeaways was a better understanding of the sort of content that we should promote from within. Our editorial and PR teams have produced content for years, and we wanted to make the most of what they’ve already created. So, we populated the site with the best content from the previous quarter and began to add new content to Engage the day that it was published.
We grouped content into five different categories that align with the structure of our business and content hub. We quickly learned, however, that employees wanted to share content from additional categories including social selling, external news, and eCommerce.
Since the content organization structure changed, we worked with the editorial and PR teams to create new material to fill the gaps. So while they were responsible for creating the content that we were distributing, we were informing some of the types of content that they could create and curate – it was a group effort with different teams informing the strategy of one another.
An employee advocacy tool is only as useful as the amount of people who use it. That said, you don’t want to force employees to do something they’re not passionate about. We struck a balance by organizing voluntary sign up (with a little encouragement, of course). To build early momentum, we offered an iPhone 7 as the prize for the top sharer in the first month after the tool went live.
This was a great way for us to get our people involved. The prize was big enough to encourage people to log in and start sharing, but not so big that it was the only reason people participated.
Our strategy worked: lots of people got involved, and it turned out that the employee who was the top sharer was already a top advocate for Sprinklr before we built the tool.
When beta testing a solution, many companies limit it to a specific number of users. That wasn’t the case for us. We did identify an initial group of users – made up of top existing social sharers – but if anyone else in the company wanted to join, they could.
This resulted in a beta test group comprised of Sprinklr employees who were already our champions on social, and people who wanted to rise to the occasion. Once this group of highly engaged individuals started using the tool, the rest of the company saw all of the awesome employee advocacy and said, “I want to use that! What’s this shiny new toy that everyone is playing with?”
We also held training sessions for employees in the beta group, and kept everyone informed about new features that we rolled out. This allowed members of the beta group to serve as part of the enablement process and provide a steady stream of feedback.
Since then, we’ve rolled out the tool to our sales team. Outside of them and the ~100 people we invited to our beta test group, we’ve nearly doubled the beta group just by keeping it open to anyone who wanted to join. It’s a great technique from a numbers perspective, but also results in having a group of employee advocates who are sharing on social because they’re passionate about the company.
Getting buy-in from Sprinklr executives was a challenge. The key to getting them board was showing them the product, enabling them to use it, and encouraging them to start sharing.
The involvement of Carlos Dominguez, our President and COO, was an important step. He’s one of our top sharers now and he loves it. He pulls it up when he’s demoing to clients, and shows them how to use the tool from his personal account.
Driving involvement at the top was crucial, as executives spurred wider involvement while providing an incentive for us to build the best possible tool.
Soon after we implemented Engage, it was clear that our employees were more enthusiastic about sharing Sprinklr and industry content on social using the tool.
In the first month, we saw a 1.5 fold increase in website traffic from employee advocacy compared to the previous three months. From Engage alone, we had a reach of 400,000+ in the first month on Twitter, with around 70% of advocates sharing at least once a week – spreading the word about Sprinklr but also getting a clearer picture of what’s happening around the business through engaging with our content on a regular basis.
So far, Engage reflects the power of unleashing a company’s most important advocates: its employees. By following the steps outlined above, your company can do the same.
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