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From employees to social brand ambassadors

By Published on .

The other day I was reading an article about “Cognitive Dissonance: Why Social Sharing Creates Employee Advocates.” Intuitively, you would suspect that “employee sharing can influence your employees to love your company more,” but I'm always thrilled to see research, data and science to support these theories. Thank you, psychology!

If you're still skeptical about why employee enablement in social media matters, consider these factoids:

  1. 41% of people believe conversations with company employees to be the most credible specialist sources of information.
  2. There are over 10 million social mentions of the Fortune 100 each month—with Twitter generating the most amount of chatter.
  3. 56% of customer tweets to companies are being ignored.
  4. 70% of brands ignore complaints on Twitter, and 83% of people who complained on Twitter loved the response from those companies that did make the effort.
  5. 39% of companies do not track their social media responses at all, and 55% ignore all customer feedback on Twitter and Facebook, largely because they have no process in place to respond.
  6. B2b marketers believe social media is critical to organic search success. Marketers rate social media as the second-most important factor (64%) in search, behind only strong content (82%).
  7. One-third of global b2b buyers use social media to engage with their vendors, and 75% expect to use social media in future purchases processes.
  8. Top executives need to be involved in social media. 77% of buyers say they are more likely to buy from a company whose CEO uses social media. 94% said C-suite social media participation enhances a brand image. And 82% of employees say they trust a company more when the CEO and leadership team communicate via social media.
  9. Over 40% of business technology decision-makers indicate that support forums, discussion forums, and professional social networks influence them throughout their online journey.

Shocking? Think about these statistics with your operations hat on. Where will people come from to respond to ignored tweets? Where will you find people to scan discussion forums to aid potential customers on their purchase decision journey? Where will you find subject matter experts to create social-friendly content to help improve your Google ranking? And so on. This is where your employees can come to the rescue. Previously, I blogged about how to mobilize your employees and how to create a killer social media training program. (I also invite you to browse the Digital and Social Media blog for employee activation and training-related posts written by other members of my team if you want to learn more). I want to share a few mini cases on how we engage our employees at Cisco:

Our approach is to offer a variety of different engagement opportunities, ranging from short-term and simple efforts to long-term and more complex initiatives depending on the employee's skill set, desires and the company's business needs.

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