What do distributed payment systems, movie streaming services, customer support systems, and, practically speaking, everything we use the web for all have in common?
Well, every one of the key online services you rely on needs databases and the cloud. And Cockroach Labs is working to make those services resilient, responsive, secure and scalable across platforms and regions through its core product, CockroachDB.
Today, powerhouse brands like Netflix, Bose, Comcast, and many others rely on CockroachDB to drive their products and services.
As a content marketer at Cockroach Labs, Dan Kelly is actively striving to get Cockroach Labs in front of the right audiences. Here’s Dan’s story of how he leveraged employee advocacy to drive Cockroach Labs’ thought leadership in its target communities on LinkedIn.
When Dan joined Cockroach Labs, the company was growing through many of the same pains as other early-stage startups.
Limited Audience Visibility
One big challenge Dan faced was increasing awareness of CockroachDB amongst its target audience. Which was particularly challenging given that Cockroach Labs was competing for attention in the same space as industry giants like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.
“Shy” Employee Culture
Cockroach Labs’ founders and most of its early employees are engineers. Because of that, the company took on a strong engineering-led culture.
This is great because the team is full of technical experts who can solve extraordinarily difficult technical problems. But at the same time, Dan noticed that the employees were also shy and wouldn’t put themselves out there on social media platforms like LinkedIn.
When he first started, Dan went on Slack to ask the team to share a blog. He had even provided copy they could use to write their LinkedIn posts. But this rarely worked. Dan told us that only less than 10% of the company would ever share content.
This was understandable. For engineers, being on LinkedIn can be risky as recruiters will often go after them. Engineers also don’t have the same incentives as other teams – like marketing or sales – to be active on social media. So, it’s harder to answer the “what’s in it for me” question.
However, Dan saw that Cockroach Labs’ people were genuinely interested. The team was full of great experts in their fields. With the right exposure, Dan knew that audiences would resonate with Cockroach Labs’ employees.
Pains of Launching a Social Media Strategy from Scratch
Dan loved creating content. It was second nature. But actively promoting content was a different challenge. Dan understood that social media was going to help him overcome that challenge.
Dan was building a social media strategy from scratch. Right away, Dan recognized that social will only work if the wider Cockroach Labs team buys in.
Audiences don’t want to see slick marketing copy from brands. Rather, audiences want to see and hear from their peers, colleagues, family, and friends. To audiences, the voices of people are more credible and authentic than brands. Cue: employee advocacy.
Dan presented these challenges to his CMO, who urged Dan to check out PostBeyond. The CMO had used PostBeyond at a previous company, so he was familiar with how it worked and its benefits.
“My CMO told me there’s a tool for this (employee advocacy). It lets you gamify and keep score. Let’s just use this!”
Sr. Technical Content Marketing Manager
Building on the recommendation of a credible source, Dan selected PostBeyond right away. And from there, Dan architected his employee advocacy strategy across these pillars.
To drive early engagement and sustain it long-term, Dan wanted to make employee advocacy fun for the team. He found that tapping into people’s competitive urges was the best way to do it. So, Dan used PostBeyond’s configuration features to set up competitions at both the company-wide level and within individual departments.
Thus far, Dan has found that Cockroach Labs’ sales team resonates with contests the most, which makes sense since these were typically competitive folks.
Next, Dan wanted to ensure he could track the effect employee advocacy had on marketing campaigns and initiatives. He used PostBeyond to extract data on Shares, Reach, and Engagement. He wanted to see how specific posts from PostBeyond were supporting key goals like website traffic and lead generation.
Finally, Dan worked to ensure that the process of both launching PostBeyond and getting the team to join it was smooth and straightforward. Finding the tool intuitive and easy to use was a solid starting point. Dan also pre-recorded demos and training videos for the teams.
Dan’s goal wasn’t to put in fancy work or spend lots of time. Quick and simple is what mattered for him and his team. And that’s how he got his employee advocacy program off to a flying start.
Results: Unlocking a Powerful Content Distribution Channel
Through his employee advocacy strategy, Dan built a channel from which he can get Cockroach Labs’ content in front of more people. In fact, 88% of audiences trust recommendations from the people they know (Nielsen). Employees are impactful, credible, and authentic voices on social.
In one year of using PostBeyond, Dan achieved the following:
- Earned Media Value: $45,736
- Interactions: 26,728
- Potential Reach: 1.97 Million
- Total Shares: 5,255
The growth of employee advocacy through PostBeyond helped Dan amplify the brand and drive significant reach. Dan’s the brain engine behind the strategy, but by leveraging PostBeyond the right way, he’s able to scale and grow it efficiently.
Driving More Employee Engagement
Since launching his employee advocacy program, Dan began seeing the people at Cockroach Labs care a lot more about their presence on social. They’re also engaging him.
“People would ask, ‘My colleague wrote a blog, why isn’t it on PostBeyond!?’” He’s constantly getting more requests for content on PostBeyond now.
Dan also started seeing engagement in certain regions, like EMEA (i.e., Europe, Middle East, and Africa). The team there asks him for more EMEA tailored content.
However, Dan is also working on driving more engagement from key teams, like engineering.
With the engineering team, Dan recently set up a special contest just for them. The person who drives the most reach and engagement for a specific blog wins.
Dan uses PostBeyond’s gamification tools to set up department-specific competitions. He then uses the analytics tool to track each contestant and determine a winner. Seeing that engineers aren’t as interested in gift cards, Dan came up with creative ways to reward winners. His goal is to get engineers and other employees to build a personal attachment to the cause.
Building a Culture of Brand Advocacy
Dan’s vision is to build a culture of advocacy in Cockroach Labs where people just go out and become active on social. It should become second nature to the team.
To get there, he’s using PostBeyond to build “a place, a library of posts that employees can access” at any time. The “self-serve” aspect of his strategy helps people become habitual in seeking and sharing content on social. Interestingly, he’s finding people seek content 2 or 3 years back – so employees are also showing interest in the content library.
In addition, Dan’s also using gamification to help nurture content sharing habits on social.
Shifting to a ‘Promotion-First’ Mindset
Finally, for Dan, driving employee advocacy and PostBeyond helped him become more of a “promotion-minded” content marketer.
“As a content marketer, we have a tendency to chase the editorial calendar and constantly pump out new content. Historically, we’ve been more tilted on creation and less on promotion. And we know that’s wrong. We should have our ratios at around 30% for content creation and 70% for content promotion.”
Sr. Technical Content Marketing Manager
By driving employee advocacy, Dan’s building an edge in the content marketing space. He’s building processes that help him drive thought leadership further and faster via social.
Better yet, Dan can use this same infrastructure to help the Sales and People Ops teams reach their goals as well, like driving pipeline and attracting talent, respectively.
Next Steps: Growing Employee Usage
PostBeyond fits Dan’s employee advocacy strategy like a glove. Dan will continue leveraging the content library, gamification, segmentation, and analytics tool to amplify Cockroach Labs’ reach even farther. He sees that the key to achieving more is honing in on the specific things that work for each of his employees and teams.