Episode #11: How to Harness Your Employees’ Influence to Increase Revenue

Social content shared by employees gets 8X more engagement than the same content shared by a company. That’s why building an employee social media advocacy program is the secret ingredient to increasing pipeline and deal size, improving brand recognition, and attracting top talent.

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PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

All right, welcome to the CXM Experience. And today we’ve got a special episode we’re doing on employee advocacy, which is what I would think of is my secret weapon over the last six months to a year. And something that I think most brands are massively under utilizing.

When I was at another company, we had about 50,000 US employees. And we did a quick study with LinkedIn, and we found out that those 50,000 employees, through just LinkedIn, were connected to more than 60 million people. And what you probably don’t realize or even fully appreciate, are the networks that your own employees bring to the office every day. And those networks tend to be quite differentiated. So you’ve got a tremendous amount of reach with your own employees.

And I think there’s a mindset issue here… a mindset shift that’s necessary, because I don’t think companies think of their own employees as a network resource. So companies have tend to have a — this is a Copernican shift, I think, in a way — so employees tend to have a company-centric view of how the communicate, right? So we, as a company are going to make our stuff and then we will buy channels, we will buy reach, we will buy audiences, and we will ship it out on our own. And our employees will maybe or maybe not see it.

I think the Copernican shift is that your best channels are probably sitting in desks at home right now, or in the office in the future, cross fingers. And those people are willing, able and excited to be able to actually share the content. What we’re finding is, as you look at employee advocacy programs, they’re actually incredibly effective because they harness the influence of someone that someone else trust. And the big change that’s happened is that in the world we live in today, people trust the word of people they know more than the generic word of a company they don’t know. So the anonymous influence of a company has gone way down, and the identified influence of someone you know has gone way up.

So content shared by employees actually gets eight times more engagement than the same content, the exact same content, when it’s shared by the company. And 98% of your employees use at least one social media site for personal use, of which half of them are already posting something about the company. So you might as well give them something to say. And when you do that, you can actually generate business. So there’s twice as much pipeline with companies that have used employee advocacy programs, and a 48% increase in deal size when employees are empowered to participate in advocacy programs. Just think about that for a second, double your pipeline, and increase your deal size by 48%. At virtually no cost. There are some costs in that you need to have an advocacy platform. You know, quick ad… Sprinklr has one, it’s amazing. But really compared to the value of what you’re pushing on channels, it’s a really nominal cost. You’ve got some content you have to create, which you probably created already.

It’s also good for your brand, you know, almost 80% of firms surveyed, get more online visibility with employee advocacy programs, and socially engaged companies are 58% more likely to attract top talent, so you can get better people. And your brand itself is reinforced as well.

And so let me tell you a little bit about what we did at Sprinklr. Just so you understand how it works. It’s not that complicated, but it’s worth noting. And then I’ll talk a little bit about our results. And then just leave it up to you to sort of follow up because if you’re not running an employee advocacy program right now, you’re literally leaving money on the table, and under leveraging the employees you have, who would love to do something like this. So let’s talk a little bit about what it is.

So it simply is a portal that employees log into and on that portal are pre canned content. If I look at my current Sprinklr advocacy site today, we’ve got a piece on Sprinklr and how Sprinklr’s changing the world. We have an ad for Sprinklr Coffee Club, my friend Marshall Kirkpatrick does every week special guest Dan Gingiss is talking on coffee club this week. A joint promotion between Sprinklr and Wipro on how to embrace digital care evolution. A little case study with L’Oreal, something on L’Oreal as well in the digital magazine. A thing on how we’re hiring, tips for being fearless in your career. I think you get the idea, right? So stuff with customers, stuff with partners, stuff about us, stuff that are case studies, all the different pieces of content. You can actually sort it and look at all sorts of different kinds you can have like I’m looking at industry insights, or I can look at just Sprinklr content, or content focused on Black Lives Matter. If I go to industry insights I can see a conversation with John Chambers on brand leadership in times of crisis. I can look at see what’s trending and see what content is most popular. We won an AdWeek Reader’s Choice Award. So that’s a piece of content that people are sharing. Our recent series G is in there, there’s all sorts of stuff that you can post.

And what we’re finding is that Sprinklrites are going in there. And they are getting content that they want to share with others. They’re at a branded destination, we are basically equipping people with content that they can share with one click. And then you can offer other engagement opportunities, such as discussion forums, and gamification and things like that.

And what I think is most compelling about this is that most people who are working at a company and taking a paycheck are proud to be there, and they want to talk about it. So if you give them the content to talk about it, you’re allowing them to stay on brand, allow them to say things that are helpful to the brand, it makes them look really robust, because it’s a nice piece of content that they can share to their network, and then all that benefit that accrues to the company as well. And so you know, if you think about this, it’s like, increase your revenue, by leveraging your employees, decrease costs by diverting spend that you would normally spend on the channels to get that reach. And then you can also mitigate risk, because you’ve got company branded communications with company voice. So employees can add comments and stuff as they post it, but you’re staying on brand as you go through that whole process.

So what’s happened at Sprinklr. We launched this probably about a year ago. And we’ve been going at it pretty heavily since the beginning of COVID. Because we knew that was an important way for us to counteract the impact of reduced marketing budgets and some other changes we made to be precautionary in COVID. And today, I am amazed to say that 78% — 78% — nearly every single Sprinklrite, is engaged and has done something with employee advocacy. 30,000 posts have been shared, we have 2,000 employees, average posts per advocate is 37. And there are more than 250 pieces of employee generated content that have been produced. So our reach has been in the millions on Twitter alone, and 85% more posts have been generated through advocacy than through our own brand channels. And our audience has grown 31% and our blog traffic has grown 70%. We’ve saved 90% of the time that normally would be spent by an employee advocate. And the cost savings are in the 10s of thousands and the earned media value is in the hundreds of thousands. So it’s pretty amazing, actually.

And I’m kind of curious, in some ways of why most companies don’t do this. And I’m not sure what it is, I think my guess would be that maybe people feel a little uncomfortable about leveraging the employee base. But the way I would think aboutit  is employees are clamoring for this. Eight out of 10 Sprinklrites are posting something about Sprinklr. It’s great. And I’ve never worked anywhere where I wouldn’t want to say something about the company. And having something that’s pre formatted and ready to go and easy to use is fantastic. And a lot of the content that you see in our employee advocacy is coming right out of our content marketing platform. So Sprinklr’s single unified front office allows the content that we create for other channels, and for other purposes, to also be ported into the employee advocacy platform. So you’ve got one way of producing content and managing content across the whole enterprise. You’re not just producing for that one channel.

I think it is going to be the companies that figure this out, especially the really large companies, I think it’s going to be a secret weapon. Because it’s really hard to measure it. It’s really hard to see that as a spend and allows companies to have unfair competitive advantage. So employee advocacy, mark my words, the people that do this are going to move ahead, they’re gonna move ahead faster. And you’ll wonder why. What’s going on? Why is the engagement levels so high? What’s this company doing that’s different from everyone, everything else? They’re doing employee advocacy, and for the CXM Experience, it’s Grad Conn, and I’ll see you tomorrow.