Does it matter if your organisation has a social CEO?

Does it matter if your organisation has a social CEO?

If you work for SalesForce, General Electric, or Hewlett-Packard, you are one of few employees who has a social CEO. You might take it for granted. But research shows that as at 2016, 61% of Fortune 500 CEOs had no social media presence at all. However, CEOs like Apple’s Tim Cook and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella are active on Twitter. And General Electric’s Jeff Immelt and Hewlett Packard’s Meg Whitman have more than 100,000 followers on LinkedIn. It is not always possible for your company’s CEO to be a social media guru, but it does make the marketing team’s job a lot easier.

Social CEO Logic: Successful Employee Advocacy Is About Culture And Leadership

YO! Marketing employee engagement social media As I prepared to write my book, I interviewed social media and marketing professionals in ten companies. These companies included GE, SAS, and IBM. It became clear that some companies had a head start with employee advocacy. This was partly due to their inherent company culture and exemplary leadership. Leaders like’s CEO Marc Benioff have done an outstanding job of being present on social platforms  in a way that encourages his employees to follow suit. It’s a sign that says, “Hey, I buy into this!” Other companies have struggled to generate the level of employee participation required to make social media employee advocacy sustainable. Part of the challenge is getting their business leaders to walk the talk. Over recent years, more reasons have been uncovered as to why CEOs should be social that dispute some of the risks involved in putting one’s self out there.

Social CEO Problem: Research Shows It’s A Good Idea But It’s A Hard Sell

YO! Marketing social media CEO employee advocacy The 2016 Brandfog Survey on the Social CEO reveals the perception that executive participation in social media leads to better leadership grew by 15% between 2013 and 2016. Respondents to the survey also believe that it builds brand trust. This is probably why 85% state that having a socially active C- Suite leadership team can mitigate risk before a brand reputation crisis occurs. How might you encourage your CEO to be more social? A recent article on IF suggests that training your CEO is out of the question and recommends fitting social around the CEO rather than trying to fit the CEO into social. A fair bit of researching and convincing needs to be done to move a non-social CEO into social media. This is the reality.

Social CEO Reality: Your CEO Is Probably Too Far Away Anyway

YO! Marketing social ceo team work employee engagement Top executive support inspires employees. However, one global social media manager at a top social brand told me that it is more important to have a layer of middle managers that support social media employee advocacy programs. A social CEO might be just too far away to be an effective role model to those lower down in the organisation. In addition, the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer: 52% of consumers trust an “average” employee more than a CEO, a statistic that rose 30% between 2009 and 2014. And this % has probably grown since then. Perhaps middle management is more influential—not just internally, but externally too.

Social CEO Trend Line: The Future Of Employee Advocacy

YO! Marketing employee engagement During the interviews, I found that managers reinforced values by talking about them and behaving in ways that supported them. Employees are empowered by this. With the appropriate guidelines and support, employees start to participate. A recent article in Fast Company shows that employee advocacy programs have grown by 191% since 2013. Perhaps we can expect similar growth in CEO participation on social media.  Are you a social CEO or do you work for a company that has one? Leave a comment to tell us if it makes a difference.

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This is a modified version of a blog originally published on the blog on 22 February 2016
9 Employee Advocacy Stats and Case Study Examples

9 Employee Advocacy Stats and Case Study Examples

What is employee advocacy?

Imagine that IBM says, “We are a great company to work for!” Let’s say you believe them. And you add them to your list of companies you’d like to work for. You might even see IBM as a company you would like to do business with. Now, compare how convinced you would be if IBM’s employees say, “IBM is a great company to work for”. Whether or not this is true, it is more convincing when employees engage online with relevant messages. This is employee advocacy. Employees advocating on behalf of a cause, a brand or an employer.

Research shows employee advocacy is a good idea

Research shows that content shared by employees receive eight times more engagement than content shared by brands. Yet only 17% of organisations have formal employee advocacy programmes. B2B engineering and advanced manufacturing sectors in particular, have significant opportunity to digitally engage and interact with customers. Here is a simple infographic showing top nine stats for making a case for employee advocacy:

YO! Marketing provide support to help you get started with employee advocacy

Because of the level of participation required, success comes down to having a conducive corporate culture. Leadership support, aligned business goals, and training are some of the key elements that help sustain employee advocacy.

Case studies from engineering companies

The stats show that content provided by technical experts is highly valued, more so than traditional promotional content. Sharing knowledge positively influences employees’ personal brand. It allows them to be credible as thought leaders and experts in their field. Still, it seems challenging to motivate engineers, scientists and researchers to participate online. Professional visibility is one of the most motivating factors for these knowledge workers.

Some engineering companies that have made employee advocacy work for them. Examples include LR Senergy, Landis+Gyr, Amec Foster Wheeler and GE.

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The benefits of employee advocacy

Picture this:
You are in a room full of people and you are telling them your story. You tell them why you do what you do, your values, what you offer, why they should care and how they can get it. Think about employee advocacy on social media as a way to exponentially increase the number of people in a room. In addition, each of your employee advocates has a room of their own. So think about the number of rooms you could have at any one time and the combined reach of your message…

The shear brand reach, recognition and visibility of employee advocacy leads to faster business growth. It also shortens sales cycles and helps to identify new revenue streams.

Finally, check out this recent report by Hinge Research Institute and have a look at SlideShare for what YO! Marketing can do for your firm.

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