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UpContent CEO Scott Rogerson was fortunate enough to be able to sit down with social media marketing leader, Hootsuite customer success manager Lexi Kuna and Gerry Avalos, the brand lead for leading commercial, rural and personal lines insurer, CGU for a webinar on employee advocacy programs. Gerry was there to discuss how his company was able to utilize Hootsuite Amplify and UpContent to drive brand engagement with their newly created employee advocacy program.
Employee advocacy is one of the fastest-growing business trends precisely because of the type of impressive results that were discussed during the webinar. In this post, we'll discuss some of the key takeaways from that meeting to help put you on track to creating your own advocacy program.
Perhaps the first question to answer is why a company would want to invest in an employee advocacy program. What is it about social advocacy that has so many businesses following the trend? During the webinar, Gerry gave us a great rundown of the benefits that he saw for CGU, and the reasons his company wanted to test the waters of employee advocacy.
CGU didn't jump right into its employee advocacy program. Instead, to test the waters, the company created a pilot program. Alongside the posts made through Hootsuite Amplify by employees participating in the pilot program, the company purchased paid views on LinkedIn. Those paid posts became a yardstick by which the advocacy program could be judged. The numbers were impressive, as the established audiences of CGU employees engaged with the content significantly better than LinkedIn customers who were exposed to it through the paid promotion. The numbers below show just how much more successful the pilot program on Amplify was compared to the LinkedIn-owned page.
Gerry credits the success of the program with the fact that they started with the pilot program. More specifically, he feels as though the selective nature of participation in the pilot allowed the program as a whole to get off on the right foot and build the type of interest that allowed them to achieve a respectable 71% employee participation rate:
"One of the things that worked really well for us was making sure that the pilot group were people who were already in the social space and had the appetite to participate. And this kinda helped us build momentum so that other people wanted in." - Gerry Avalos, CGU Brand Lead.
As one of Amplify's customer success managers, Lexi is uniquely positioned to discuss what does and doesn’t work when forming a new employee advocacy program. Early in the webinar, she broke down what Hootsuite sees as the four pillars of creating a successful program.
We've seen how curated content can help meet the demanding posting schedule required of a successful advocacy program, but how do you find the right balance between curated and original content? Scott chimed in during this part of the webinar to explain what UpContent has learned about using curated content in any form of content marketing strategy. The key, he says, is thinking the two types of content in terms of assets and operating expenses:
"The original content is assets, things you are focusing a lot of time and energy and resources on. You want to get the most value from this as possible. The third-party content is more of that operating expense. It's a little bit more 'i can get it out there and test new things’." - Scott Rogerson, CEO of UpContent
Scott expanded further on how the breakdown usually works. Lifestyle content is content that isn't necessarily within the wheelhouse of your company. Topics like 'Anxiety in the Workplace' or 'Returning to Work After the Pandemic' may be of interest to your audience, but don't really fit your brand - often making them poor candidates for original pieces. Third-party content shines here. It allows you to share works by creators who have more authority in the area while still linking back to your brand and providing your team with a content mix that allows them to showcase what they care about beyond the specific company offerings.
Industry content can come in at around 50/50. Here, original pieces from your company help to establish you as a thought leader and get your own voice and message out there, while third-party content from industry sources helps to fill out the posting requirements and show your audience that you're keeping up with the industry as a whole.
Finally comes company-specific content. These are items that relate specifically to your company. It may seem as though 100% of this must be original work, but any earned media coverage can pad this category out as third-party content as well.
Hootsuite Amplify and UpContent make a perfect pairing for creating a content pool that your employees can use in their advocacy efforts. Together, they provide all the tools you need to benefit from your employee's existing networks and their desire to share information about their work while also keeping your own brand messaging on target.
Check out our other blog posts for more on marketing, content curation, user stories, and more.
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