Corporate employees (regardless of company) generally have a trusted voice in the marketplace with respect to the industries they work in, but often do not understand or know how to leverage their social channels to help grow awareness and affinity for brands they support. Most companies do not take advantage of the benefits of employee social advocacy. According to a Social Media Today survey, only 31% of respondents have an employee social advocacy program in place. This is a missed opportunity—again, according to Social Media Today, “[c]ontent shared by employees sees 8x more engagement, on average, than content shared through branded channels, while 61% of consumers say that they’re more likely to research a product or service after seeing a friend’s social media post about it, compared to 36% if the same were mentioned by an influencer.”
In January 2019, Comcast Advertising launched an internal social advocacy program called Social Agents to leverage those voices to organically share content with their social networks, especially on LinkedIn and Twitter.
The company’s goal was to onboard 1,000 employees across the brands under Comcast Advertising: FreeWheel and Effectv; teach them the importance of social media and how to optimize their social profiles; and provide them a platform to share content including company news, campaigns, product updates, recruiting opportunities, industry news, and content advocating for Comcast Advertising clients and partners.
In prior years, both FreeWheel and Effectv had their own siloed employee social advocacy programs, but by merging them into one platform, the company was able to increase Comcast Advertising’s network effect.
Hand-in-hand with the program launch was a training series in which Comcast Advertising’s social media experts created custom and on-demand trainings to educate employees on optimizing their social profiles, best practices for social-selling, and how to utilize the platform. They also created a video that was launched globally to highlight the importance and value of employee advocacy. Leaders across the organization were engaged to encourage their teams to adopt the program.
The social team cultivates an updated content stream by adding new articles and campaigns daily, which can be distributed to participants via email, mobile, Slack and Microsoft Teams. Employees can then access that content for sharing using the same dedicated mobile app or in Slack and Microsoft Teams.
To keep the program lively (social media should be fun, after all), the program is gamified, and participants earn points when they share content, submit content and when their network engages with the content they have shared. Leaderboards split up by teams and regions inspire a little healthy peer-to-peer competition.
Feedback from our employees has been phenomenal. And by participating in this program they also raise their own reputations as thought leaders in the industry and create opportunities with clients and prospects:
Employee social advocacy gives Comcast Advertising’s organic content reach and engagement that it could not achieve in any other unpaid fashion and has become a cornerstone for its social marketing strategy.
Content shares in 2019 in the new platform exceeded 2018 by 55%, and there was a 99% increase in social impressions, and 130% increase in clicks and engagement.
Over the course of the year, the team exceeded its onboarding goal of 1,000 global employees by 25% and these employees went on to share content 46,000 times, earning 80 million social impressions, 108,000 clicks on content, and 45,000 audience engagements.
Comcast Advertising’s brand channels benefited greatly from the increase in organic voices talking about its brands and campaigns, with some of its social platforms experiencing 375% increase in brand mentions, thanks in part to Social Agents.
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