The start of a new decade is an appropriate time for an update on where we stand in our efforts to bring a better PostBeyond to our current and future customers. It’s also a great time to think about where we envision employee advocacy going on the road ahead.
Over the past several years, the team at PostBeyond has really focused on aligning our vision. We had to get back to understanding the problems our customers looked to us as experts in solving.
To continue PostBeyond’s growth, we focused our efforts around our company vision, “We unlock the potential for influence within everyone.” When I look to the future for PostBeyond and for the employee advocacy landscape, our vision stands true as our guiding principle.
Here are three key themes for us that will shape employee advocacy and influence in 2020.
1. Trust continues to drive deeper interactions. The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer continues to reinforce that people trust the individual more than the company. Engaging in active influence through your employees, partners, and customers are the trusted “conduit.”
There is rarely a single interaction in our respective decisions made, whether personal or professional, where we don’t look for different perspectives or are influenced by the content. This is because no one wants to make an uninformed decision.
2. Educating and influencing have always been a team effort. Adding a layer of social media is the natural extension to connecting with potential customers through a phone call, email or in-person conversation. The biggest difference is that many of us get overwhelmed. This means that we often screen our calls or avoid emails from unknown individuals. Today, we spend more time than ever with our heads down in our mobile devices, not in a conversation.
The one thing we are all doing is consuming more content. We’re trusting content from reliable sources that educate us in making decisions. This consumption and influence isn’t a “one-time” deal. A flywheel effect needs to exist which constantly works to reinforce the decision process. The complexity and cost of our decisions increase the amount the flywheel needs to spin and the trust we need. There is seldom one “big bang” event.
3. Engaging authentically, measuring results and acting on insights. The marketing technology space is crowded with tools to enable sales, engage audiences and distribute content. Yet the three most critical components of why marketers integrate new solutions is whether they optimize channels, improve customer engagement and drive measurable business results.
Employee advocacy and influence are experiencing interesting shifts because the measurement piece is hard. As the use of employee advocacy solutions continues to grow, we are seeing vendors move away from solving the challenge of employee activation and towards spaces such as employee communications.
Fundamentally, our customers aren’t telling us that their problem is communicating with employees. There are many platforms both old and new to address this. The problem our customers face today is reaching their intended audience, starting conversations, building trust and engaging authentically. Most importantly, being able to measure and understand the results is a critical piece of the problem.
Here are the major changes that we expect to see in 2020 within the employee advocacy and influence category:
1. Employee advocacy and influence are one and the same. The same in that the term “advocacy” (a term usually associated with someone with a cause) is likely the wrong term. We are both affected by and contribute to influence, and it is contributing to how we decide.
2. The only influence that matters is what you can measure. Measurement can take many forms and it can be quite an uncomfortable topic (i.e. is your content not getting consumed at all, despite employees sharing it?). Are those initial influencers (those with a more direct benefit for influencing such as sales, marketing, and talent acquisition) actively engaging on social media? Do they share content? And is anyone listening or engaging back? A focus on measuring the results of influence and its engagement should form the basis for making an investment.
3. Engaged employees who truly care about your brand can influence on your behalf. For those companies that invest marketing resources and budget, they will have to reallocate marketing spend in what moves the needle. Not every employee has the ability to influence and nor should they be pushed to do so.
4. Early adoption of advocacy solutions is ending as we move to the early majority. Whether you choose to invest in these solutions, the core problem you face is noted above in item 2. If you aren’t reaching your intended audience on social media then competitors will. As our preferences for engagement grow in online channels, how are you keeping pace or are you giving up the lead?
At PostBeyond our strategy is focused on addressing the difficult problems that our customers face. We continue to focus our product philosophy on measuring the effectiveness of enabling all the stakeholders within their ecosystem to expand results on social media.
We look to solve the problems of consolidation, syndication, sharing, and measurement across your business. No organization should need to choose multiple solutions supporting influence and advocacy; one for employees, another for customers and one for channel partners. The core business problem with some subtleties is one and the same.
We look forward to driving success together.