Why the Echo Chamber is Killing Corporate Content

In my last company we had something that was called the “echo chamber” it was one of these employee advocacy tools.

It was very simple, you gave it your social media details and it would post corporate content for you. What a great idea it would seem, as an x manager of mine said “let’s automate social media and go back to doing our day jobs”. It would seem to save time, surely? Being open minded, I tried it and lost followers, in fact whenever I posted corporate content I lost followers. I had salespeople come to me and ask why they couldn’t grow their follower count. Again, as soon as they stopped posting corporate content, things picked up. This is the first problem with “echo chambers” and employee advocacy it’s treated as “just another channel to push” boring content. Yes I know you are really excited about your special widget but to be honest, none of us care. And while your staff are proud of a company that create special widgets they know, as well as you actually, nobody cares. A friend of mine recently told me the story of how he unfollowed the sales people of a company as all they posted was corporate stuff. He went to just following the corporate account instead. What’s the point of getting the same content 10 times when you can get it once? Let’s not forget that social media is the worlds best democracy, people don’t have to follow you and if you are not insightful, educational or funny they will unfollow you, or mute you.

Are you a corporate spammer?

Also at my last company they did what they called “social bombs” we would all have to tweet or post at the same time. Literally 10s or 100s of people would share the content at the same time. So often we see people take corporate content and then multiple people post it and it turns, what is probably good content into corporate spam. As you can imagine this was corporate spamming on a massive scale! I digress but also at my last company they used an application to push content out to the channel. The report was proudly shown to me of how many partners had signed up for this. When I asked why on this report it showed all the partners that had signed up, there had not been one like or retweet of that content. This meant that there was no engagement, no amplification, they were literally talking to themselves. None of us cared. The people running the program had a KPI to sign up the partners, nobody cared even at the supplier if anybody shared the content. So often we see people looking to “save time” by posting content that isn’t insightful or educational. All corporate content being usually the same, that it says how great you are and that I should buy your product. Of course, buyers, you and me filter this out as noise. This is why it’s so important that salespeople create their own content. People don’t want to know how great you are. Yawn. They want to know about the people. They want authenticity.

Real Employee Advocacy

Employee advocacy isn’t the endless pushing of boring content that nobody reads. It’s about empowering your employees to talk in their own voice about your company it’s products and services. For many Marketing Departments devolving control of the brand is too much, unfortunately the genie is out of the bottle. Employees can already talk about your company on social. Most sales departments have already embraced social selling. It makes sense therefore to provide the employees with the right tools and embrace it. There is a saying “keep you friends close and your enemies closer”. The same can be said about Social Media, you can control it by pro-actively empowering people to use it.

Why Is this Not about Marketing?

Empowering your employees is a very powerful program, it not only shows you have an open mindset culture, rather than a fixed mindset culture. It shows you are willing to invest in your staff, more importantly people are actually interested in what your staff say.

The Employee Advocacy Business Case

Recently we were in Singapore looking out over the Singtel building. Singtel are the major cellular carrier in Singapore and is a great example of why corporate marketing isn’t working. We looked up their Twitter, 35,000 followers, which you have to admit is pretty good, until you know they have 4 million subscribers and 25,000 employees. In fact this proves nobody is interested in their corporate marketing.  If we took the employees and rolled our employee advocacy and they all had only 100 followers and we only got 50% buy-in, we would have (25,000 * 0.5) * 100 = 1.25 Million followers. That’s a way bigger network that the current 35,000 followers. The difference also being that your employee followers, know and love your employees so they are more likely to share the content. In fact if your employees are sharing insightful, educational or funny content then you are pretty much guaranteed that will will be read, shared and amplified. Enabling you to be front of mind with more prospects and customers than any of your competition. Do the maths with your own organisation and let me know the results. Related: Digital Transformation on Top of a Broken Business Model …