How Employee Advocacy Fits into Your Marketing Technology Stack
How much software does your marketing department use? My guess: A lot. You have tech for web analytics, lead nurturing, content marketing, data cleansing, events, webinars, mobile marketing, online ads, social media, and more.
So, how does an employee advocacy platform fit into your larger technology ecosystem? The answer depends on the sophistication of your employee advocacy tool. Let’s dive in.
A Quick Look at the Flow of Content
Distilled to its essence, employee advocacy is about content. Employees need content to build their professional brands on social media, and marketers see advocacy as a way to expand the reach of content.
To discuss employee advocacy’s place in the marketing technology stack, we must first think about how content moves through an organization. There are three basic parts:
The Content Problem
Every company needs content to attract and nurture customers. But where does the content come from? That is the content problem. Blog posts, infographics, and white papers don’t just magically appear in our offices.
To solve the content problem, companies have three options: They can create content. They can rely on third-party content. Or they can do what many smart companies do – rely on a combination of both created and curated content. (See the 4-1-1 rule.)
Got Content. Now What?
The next step is to organize and distribute content internally so that it can be shared externally. This means building a content library, where key stakeholders can find the assets that they need. Moreover, it means notifying key stakeholders that new assets are available and are ready to be shared publicly.
Many people overlook the importance of internal content distribution. SiriusDecisions estimates that 11% of content is not used because it is hard to find, while 17% is unknown to users. As a result, significant amounts of money are wasted every year.
Optimize through Measurement
Finally, you need to measure the effectiveness of your content. Are people engaging with it? What are people reading? Using the data, you can improve on the performance of your content marketing.
How Employee Advocacy Platforms Fit In
Now that we have an understanding of how content flows through a company, the next question is: How does this pertain to employee advocacy?
To be sure, employee advocacy platforms are not content marketing platforms, and content marketing platforms are not employee advocacy platforms. They are separate beasts.
That said, the content marketing workflow is useful for understanding how much an employee advocacy platform can accomplish. Let’s take a look.
Bottom-Shelf Employee Advocacy Tools
The least sophisticated advocacy tools focus on content distribution. They allow companies to distribute links to their employees, who can share content to their social media accounts. That’s it.
Sometimes, these tools offer the ability to create a content library and to notify employees when new content is added. But in general, they are link distribution tools.
To build a more powerful employee advocacy program and to measure its effectiveness, you need to look for a more sophisticated employee advocacy tool.
Mid-Tier Employee Advocacy Tools
The next tier of employee advocacy tools adds another layer of sophistication. In addition to enabling companies to distribute content, they add some statistical data. How many clicks are employees receiving? Which pieces of content are receiving more engagement?
These numbers help you amplify what’s working and eliminate what’s not working. To be successful with employee advocacy, program managers need these metrics at their fingertips.
Top-Tier Employee Advocacy Tools
While the inclusion of metrics is a nice addition, mid-tier advocacy platforms have a glaring shortcoming: They force you to solve the content problem on your own.
To satisfy your employees’ content needs, you have to either produce copious amounts of content, or you need to find third-party content to supplement your company-created content.
That’s where sophisticated employee advocacy platforms come in. In addition to helping you distribute content and measure its effectiveness, top-tier advocacy platforms help you solve your content problem.
As you think about top-tier platforms, keep in mind that the majority of employees want to share a combination of company-created content and third-party content. They love the blogs, white papers, and infographics that your company creates. At the same time, they don’t want to be corporate shills. They want to gain their follower’s trust by sharing content from other sources.
For many employee advocacy programs, the real challenge lies in finding enough third-party content to satisfy your employees. With a top-tier advocacy program, that is not difficult. Sophisticated employee advocacy platforms will provide you with a powerful content curation engine – one that uses artificial intelligence to learn your preferences and recommend new pieces of content.
That way, your advocates will always have the right content – content that they want to share and know will resonate with their followers.
Envisioning Employee Advocacy in Your Marketing Stack
By now, you understand why employee advocacy is important. You have thought about what makes for a successful employee advocacy program. And you can conceptualize how employee advocacy fits into your marketing ecosystem. You understand that a top-notch employee advocacy platform fulfills many of the functions that your disparate content marketing solutions do:
- Solves your content problem
- Organizes your content
- Distributes content to key stakeholders
- Notifies stakeholders when new content is available
- Measures performance
Now, you’re ready to think about your platform options. It’s time to create your list of vendor criteria. Here are some resources that can help: