Speaker 1: (00:00) On this episode of Edge Of The Web.
Glenn Gaudet: (00:04) Well, first of all, you have to remember that there are some employees that, they’re just going to do this, they’re going to want to do this, right? They don’t need the pat on the back. But what we always recommend is that when you’re creating a successful program, it’s not just all about the software, it’s just not all about the marketing folks, or even the employees. It’s about communicating it broadly and saying, “Hey, you know, let’s give some recognition to all the folks who have had an impact this past week.”
Speaker 1: (00:39) Your weekly digital marketing trends with industry trendsetting guests. You’re listening and watching Edge Of The Web, winners of Best Podcast from the Content Marketing Institute for 2017. Hear and see more at edgeofthewebradio.com. Now, here’s your host, Erin Sparks.
Erin Sparks: (01:00) Let’s introduce you to our audience. Glenn Gaudet is the founder and CEO of GaggleAMP where he and his team help companies get the most out of their social media efforts with their solutions that help amplify and analyze their efforts. Glenn is also the author of Connection, Community & Conversation: Making Social Media Work for Your Business where he shares principles that drive GaggleAMP and is helping employees share their organization’s branding and content to supercharge those results on the different social platforms.
Erin Sparks: (01:32) So, thanks for joining us again, Glenn. There’s our official bio but we’d love to hear your backstory of how you got into digital marketing and especially employee advocacy.
Glenn Gaudet: (01:46) Well, I don’t want to date myself but I’ve been in marketing a very long time. Actually, I’ve done marketing almost in every position. The highest level that I’ve been within marketing is chief marketing officer and that was prior to me starting this company. I started the company about nine years ago and it actually came out of a job interview. I was interviewing for chief marketing officer position at a company here in the Boston area, and this was back in 2010. So put yourself in the way back machine, think about what it was like in 2010. Social media had been out for a little bit but it was not the main focus for a lot of people in the organization as it is now, within the realm of digital marketing.
Erin Sparks: (02:38) Absolutely.
Glenn Gaudet: (02:40) So the CEO had asked me, “Well, tell me about this social media thing and what should we be doing around it?” Now they competed against a company called Cisco, you might have heard of them.
Erin Sparks: (02:50) A little bit, yeah.
Glenn Gaudet: (02:52) And even back then, they were the 800 pound gorilla, even in social and digital marketing. And so this company was really starting from scratch. And I said, “Well, how many employees do you have?” And he said, “Well, we have about 1,000 employees.” I said, “Well, maybe one of the things we want to do is enroll our employees to be part of lifting up that message,” because even back then there was a lot of noise in social.
Glenn Gaudet: (03:20) So he thought it was a great idea. I thought it was a great idea. I went home that night and i figured I would research to figure out what product I would use to help me to this because I felt good about the interview, I thought I was going to be asked to come back and keep going around that, and I wanted to be able to know that I could do what I said I could do.
Glenn Gaudet: (03:41) Well, come to find out there was no products out there. There was no easy way to really engage your employees and help support them to be part of the digital marketing effort. So I ended up starting the company instead of necessarily taking the job.
Erin Sparks: (03:59) That’s awesome. Yeah, I bet that CEO’s kind of grinding his teeth about that one. “Sorry, I really can’t take your job. I’m just going to go start my own company off of this interview. Thanks so much.” That’s awesome.
Glenn Gaudet: (04:13) Thanks for the idea, yeah.
Erin Sparks: (04:14) So all of our … predominantly our audience are digital marketers, and they understand the importance of social media. I wanted to just open up with this concept of tribe building. Seth Godin uses tribes on a regular basis, and in fact, the book’s fantastic. It’s very important for the brand’s lift to directly tie into an advocacy group, a loyalist group of not only customers, but obviously employees.
Erin Sparks: (04:42) It’s not just advocating the services, it’s about the brand’s why, right? It’s a why story, it’s mission, and that’s where the alignment of employees can certainly be tied in there. It’s not only that tribal group, it’s not only for new customers, but it’s also for the retention of new customers as well. But content, when you’re building a tribe, and not focused on your employees, you’re constantly focused on that buyer’s journey content, the awareness content, consideration, and so forth, and it’s all about meeting people where they need help, right? Which is a completely valid marketing strategy.
Erin Sparks: (05:25) But it’s all outward, and it’s all focused on acquiring new, right? We all know that from a customer basis, it’s a lot easier to work with existing customers than go out and get new customers. I mean, we know that relationship. Working with your employees, and it very well could be a small employee base or a large employee base, not even looking at how you can empower your employees to have some pride about where they work, and be able to champion the company, and also align their own values with the company’s values, that’s such a missed opportunity [inaudible 00:06:05]. So I mean, you’ve come across companies again and again, why are companies so fearful of diving into that, or do they even recognize that that’s a bountiful gift there?
Glenn Gaudet: (06:19) Yeah, I think you’re seeing less of it now, to be fair, but certainly as I’ve seen this almost over nine years now, I think one of the challenges in the early days of this was the sense of control. Because if you were raised in marketing, prior to the introduction of social media, you were really focused on control of the message, control of the brand, there would only be so many people within the company that were approved and trained to talk to the press, to talk to the analyst community.
Glenn Gaudet: (06:53) So there was that tight knit control, but all of a sudden now, when you have social media, really anyone can say anything about your brand. Anyone can say anything good or bad. This idea where you can really ratchet down the message to only having select people in the organization say anything that’s been pre-approved, it’s not something that lives in reality anymore because if you’re not out there having a conversation with folks, somebody else is.
Erin Sparks: (07:29) There we are.
Glenn Gaudet: (07:30) Good or bad, right? And so-
Erin Sparks: (07:32) Go ahead, keep on going. I’m sorry.
Glenn Gaudet: (07:34) Well, what I was going to say is that most people should think about it from this point of view, which is the outcome. So if you focus on the outcome, what is the outcome that we’re all trying to achieve from a … you know, we’re trying to make some more sales, and the way you do that is typically through some sort of relationship. The more people that you can have in your organization that have relationships to prospects and customers, the better. How do we do that from a digital point of view when we know that not everyone in the company really truly understands everything there is to know about digital marketing? Including our marketers. So how do we do this in such a way where we’re providing some guardrails yet we provide value both to the employee and to the company at the same time, and that’s really where we’ve focused the last nine years of understanding and innovation around.
Erin Sparks: (08:35) Got it. Yeah, so some of those, those fears, those unwarranted … and sometimes warranted … I mean, just going through and just in our company’s history, we’ve had a number of experiences, we’ve had one company that was so fearful, and this was actually a 11 hospital network, they were so fearful of social media, one, they blocked all social media through their firewall, and literally would not allow their employees to go on Facebook during work hours, which is productivity issues, but at the same time, what a … I mean, you’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak, if you’re just putting a dampening field over any connectivity to these social platforms, right?
Glenn Gaudet: (09:21) Yeah. It’s really interesting, if you think about it, just a non-digital example of this is I grew up, my mom’s side of the family was Italian, and if you go to Italy, it is a very common occurrence where the kids will grow up, they might have a glass of wine with dinner even though they’re under the age of 21. Right? So it’s never a taboo subject.
Erin Sparks: (09:50) It’s cultural.
Glenn Gaudet: (09:51) It’s cultural, and then when you come to the United States, it’s taboo, so what do a lot of people do the first thing when they go to college? They start drinking because they couldn’t drink at home. Right? So there’s this pent up anxiety around it, and also the lack of guardrails that come with that. So when you’re blocking your employees from doing anything, saying anything, you get some of that showing up because people get to the point where they’re afraid, they don’t know what to say, they don’t know what to do, they may dabble a little bit, but then it feels uncomfortable because they weren’t given the guardrails.
Erin Sparks: (10:32) They’re under pressure, basically.
Glenn Gaudet: (10:34) They certainly are, and part of the reason why they’re under pressure is they may be getting requests digitally, they may be getting asked questions digitally because somebody sees that they might work for a particular company and they’re on LinkedIn. “Well, hey, I’m having this particular issue.” Well, what do I say to them [inaudible 00:10:53]? Should I say anything? Are there some areas that I could go and have a conversation and actually maybe add some value to them? Oh, there’s an idea.
Erin Sparks: (11:07) One of the key factors that we recognize from a relationship … a different relationship of customers as opposed to employees, there’s one key factor, is that employees can get fired. Right? And there is a lifestyle, a transaction that’s happening here, and the risk, the fear is that if you empower these employees, when they are upset, either rightfully so or they got dismissed on merit and now they now have the microphone, pun intended, to be able to communicate negatively in the same space, right?
Glenn Gaudet: (11:46) So it’s funny, one of the activities you can do in our platform is you can ask your employees to write a review about what it’s like to work at the company on things like Indeed and Glassdoor. Right? So isn’t it better to ask your employees to write that review while they’re still at the company than when they’re doing it after you laid them off?
Erin Sparks: (12:09) Absolutely.
Glenn Gaudet: (12:10) I would think you would want that, right?
Erin Sparks: (12:12) Oh, absolutely. And to further that point, embracing the employees in their digital space, right? And giving them not star power, but you’re recognizing their existence outside of the business. You’re empowering them to a good deal as you’re asking that type of promotion or asking of that type of review, you’re sharing the communal brand. You’re actually asking them to represent themselves as well, because part of it is if they’re giving a review out there, they’re letting the rest of the world know is “I’ve chosen to work here, and I’m giving a review of my selected employer.” You know?
Erin Sparks: (12:59) So there’s a huge positivity there, absolutely, and it’s a lot easier to ask them to do that than suffer the consequences because you haven’t even geared yourself up for even a social media policy or a structure to be able to work with. So that aside, the risks aside, you could go on and on about the risks, right?
Glenn Gaudet: (13:20) Yeah. Right.
Erin Sparks: (13:20) Toxic employees and this, that, and the other. One last thing, what about the value alignment? Because employees may not be having the same values as the company, and social media is where they can actually move their own thoughts, their own concepts out there, and it could possibly be that the company can be affected by that particular brand that the employees were rolling out there. Again, this is a fear, this is potentially a myth and a risk, because that’s where their companies have just tried to veer away from because of those scenarios, right?
Glenn Gaudet: (14:02) Yeah, and to some degree, it is a myth, right? Because if you think about it, if there’s an employee out there, if there’s a disgruntled employee, there’s plenty of ways on social media to anonymously get the word out that you’re not happy.
Erin Sparks: (14:18) Absolutely. Right.
Glenn Gaudet: (14:19) Right? So that’s going to happen, whether or not you’re embracing your employees to do it. It doesn’t matter, it’s not like you open the floodgates, when you actually go down the path of thinking about doing an employee advocacy program. But here’s what I would say: I think no matter where you are in this process, it’s important to give them guardrails. Something as simple as a really … This does not have to be a 200 page document.
Glenn Gaudet: (14:45) In fact, less is more in this case. Give them some guidelines. Give them social media guidelines, you know, “Here are some things that we think are really good to engage with and talk about,” and also think about bringing on a platform like GaggleAMP, because what we do is we allow the companies to actually … There’s over 50 different activities that your marketing folks can ask your employees to do where they prepackage things.
Glenn Gaudet: (15:12) It makes it super simple for the employee to say, “Sure, I’ll do that,” or “No thanks.” They don’t have to overthink the situation to try to figure out, “Oh my goodness, what do I say here? Who do I engage with? What’s good, what’s bad?” So that’s where, when you give people some guardrails and when you make it easy and God forbid, fun, then you actually get good results.
Erin Sparks: (15:38) So talking about some of those good results, right? There’s a mess of benefits that a company should recognize, and it’s not just closing of sales, right? Social recruiting, lead generation, brand exposure …
Glenn Gaudet: (15:51) Huge.
Erin Sparks: (15:51) … and just traffic, job retention. Getting people advocating, right? They’re investing in their own company and they’re going to think twice about leaving to another company if they’ve actually planted roots there and social media is roots. I mean, they’re literally … Thing about it is that they’re going to give it another try if there’s some contentious issue because they’re invested, right?
Glenn Gaudet: (16:21) We talked early about trust, but think about you’re an employee now, and the employer trusts you to be responsible on social media talking about your experiences within the company. I mean, that goes to more than just all of the things that you talked about, which tend to be very tangible. Increased web traffic, lead gen, all of that. But think about the cultural impact within the organization. When you have employees that are actually enrolled in having fun being part of the overall communication strategy of the company, that’s incredibly powerful, both for the company and for the employee.
Erin Sparks: (17:05) You’re absolutely right, however we want to caution companies from using this type of engagement advocacy as kind of like … using it to overtake the internal deficit of culture. You got to have an internal culture first, before you can ever ask of your employees to be able to advocate, right?
Glenn Gaudet: (17:31) Yeah, no, I mean, you brought it up earlier, look, if you’ve got a cultural problem within your company and you don’t even allow them to access social media, while they’re at the company, asking them to share or engage on social media is a little … I think is a bridge too far.
Erin Sparks: (17:52) A little bit. So getting started, let’s just jump the next step, because there’s certainly benefits there, and there are cultural benefits, there’s transactional benefits, and there’s just relationship benefits from just an overall [inaudible 00:18:09] and value alignment of your employees. And that … it should be utilized as an amplification of what you’ve already set down as a foundation in your company culture, but kicking it off, right? As you pivot around and say, “All right, we’re going to start an employee advocacy program,” right?
Erin Sparks: (18:29) One of the first things whenever I was researching for this show is the social media policy. All right? It’s almost like this … it could be almost like a tome that you drop in front of all the employees, and that’s what you’re trying to steer against. You still do have to have some guidelines, like you’re talking about. Should there also be sewn into there some sort of do’s and don’ts, what you don’t say or how you don’t behave in social media? Because it does have a direct alignment.
Glenn Gaudet: (19:03) I think it’s fair game to talk about the don’ts, right?
Erin Sparks: (19:05) Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Glenn Gaudet: (19:06) I think what people forget is the do’s. Right? So they focus on always on the negative, “We don’t want you to do this, this is off-limits, you can’t do that, you can’t do …” But a lot of times they forget to say, “Here’s an example of something that’s really good, we embrace that, we support you in that.” I think you have to have that balance between the two when you’re doing any kind of a social media policy. Again, even the term policy can sometimes turn off employees. It’s more so guidelines. It’s really to help them understand what’s possible when we work together.
Erin Sparks: (19:44) So it’s kind of like the Pirates of the Caribbean, “It’s more like a guideline than a rule.” All right, so okay, you’ve got me one over because I was a bit of a Negative Nelly here, right? Going in here. But okay, I’m keyed in, yeah, that needs to happen, I need to be able to reach out to our employees and be able to give them the advocacy program that we certainly need, right?
Glenn Gaudet: (20:10) Sure, yep.
Erin Sparks: (20:10) What are the next steps? Because like you said before, all of a sudden, now, the employee has that opportunity to speak on behalf of the company. What do they say?
Glenn Gaudet: (20:21) Well, and I think that’s where, as a company, you can leverage a platform like GaggleAMP, because you can prepackage opportunities and activities for them to be engaged in that are in that safe do zone. Right?
Erin Sparks: (20:38) Right.
Glenn Gaudet: (20:38) So it might be, you know, asking people to share a piece of content on LinkedIn, it might be retweeting something, it might be commenting on a blog post that talks about something in our industry. Right? So there’s a lot of things that you can do, and I think the easier you make it for the employee, the better it is. But I think getting back to your point, how do you start this? You have to start it with the proper expectations.
Erin Sparks: (21:08) There you go.
Glenn Gaudet: (21:08) So one of the things that you need to know is you’re not going to get 100% adoption of anything. The fact that you haven’t gotten 100% adoption within your company for anything yet, why would you think you were going to get it for this? So don’t set yourself up for failure. Also know that the program you create is going to be drastically different from day one, as it is day 30, as it is in day 360, as it in two or three years down the road, because it’s constantly going to grow.
Glenn Gaudet: (21:40) It’s also going to … You’re going to innovate it. Because you’re going to see what things work and you’re going to optimize the things that work and you’re probably going to reduce the things that aren’t working, and maybe take them out totally. Your employees are going to tell you, they’re either going to tell you verbally or they’re going to tell you by not participating in certain activities.
Erin Sparks: (22:05) The passive aggressive approach. Yeah, we just …
Glenn Gaudet: (22:07) Well, no, the reality is you’re giving them a bunch of activities, and they’re saying, “Yeah, I like to do these and I don’t like to do these.” And that’s … you have to be okay with that.
Erin Sparks: (22:19) You do, and I think, if I could go in a bit of a sidebar here, by moving, kind of curating content in front of your employees, and content templates and stuff like that, right? Information that they can actually … You can make it easy for them. You have an opportunity from a cultural standpoint, be able to measure how well that’s actually executed, whether or not your employees actually buy into your mission, your value statement, your message. I mean, if it’s getting rocky and you’ve given everything that … [inaudible 00:22:59] going to make it so easy and it still doesn’t get championed, you have the opportunity to look at your own message to see if you’re … If they don’t believe in that, right? If they don’t believe in some of the things that you’re giving them, that’s a huge mirror or a huge reflection back, isn’t it?
Glenn Gaudet: (23:16) The data that you collect through an employee advocacy program really is priceless.
Erin Sparks: (23:21) Oh, my gosh.
Glenn Gaudet: (23:22) You get to see how the message is not only resonating with the outside world, which you have to [inaudible 00:23:27] analytics, but you also get to see how it’s resonating with the employees. I mean, at the end of the day, if your message doesn’t resonate with your employees, maybe you have to rethink your messaging.
Erin Sparks: (23:39) We always talk to … with companies that they think they know what they want to say online, right? And it really …
Erin Sparks: (23:48) Yeah, yeah. Until they say it. But you know, we have to reorient from a content standpoint for what the customers are looking for. But whenever you’re actually marching through and providing content to your employees, what an incredible self-reflection it can be of whether or not you’ve defined these things internally correctly or not. Or it’s even being championed by your key managers or what have you. I would agree with you, that’s an incredible resource to be able to tap into, regardless of the marketing potential. It’s almost like you’re starting a focus group internal and being able to get a sounding board. What about defining too narrowly the goals for employees? I mean, if you tighten it down and say, “Hey, we want to get so many likes,” right? “We want to get so many shares.” Are you setting yourself up for failure?
Glenn Gaudet: (24:45) Yeah, because you don’t know what your employees ultimately want to be able to do, and part of what you’re trying to do through your program is finding those areas where the employees do want to have some level of engagement and sharing that’s taking place. But let me define the employees first, because I think this is a really important point. In most companies, you’re going to have two extremes and then a big middle.
Glenn Gaudet: (25:15) Let me talk about the extremes. On one extreme, you’ve got the people who are already active in social. Frankly, you don’t need to do much with these folks, they’re already out there and they’re chatting away out there, right? On the other end, you’ve got the folks, doesn’t matter what you ask them to do, doesn’t matter how easy you make it, they’re not going to get on.
Erin Sparks: (25:36) They still have flip phones.
Glenn Gaudet: (25:37) They don’t want to. Right? It’s the folks in the middle, that’s your bread and butter. Those are the people, they’re a little hesitant, there might be a little bit of fear about what to do, how do I do it, where do I do it? The where is a big thing, by the way. They don’t always know what message should go where or who they should engage with. If you can make it easy for them, that’s the money shot. That’s where you get your incredible amount of value because you get the amplification effect. By the way, the people who are already active on social will already jump into it because you’re just giving them more things to be social about that they’re going to love you for.
Erin Sparks: (26:22) Absolutely. Absolutely. You’re feeding their broadcast.
Glenn Gaudet: (26:26) That’s right.
Erin Sparks: (26:29) You’re talking about the employees, and one area we found is very important from a case study and an engagement factor, as soon as we light up this side of the equation, we see … inside social media, we see such an engagement rate hop. Whenever you’re starting to showcase your subject matter experts, the people that are inside your organization and lifting them to the top and being able to let people know the rock stars that work for you, right? Engagement goes through the roof because now the company’s taking itself from the spotlight and saying, “Look at these people that work for us, and how incredible they are.” They may not have a social media following, but you better believe all the rest of the employees and families lift up some of that content, right?
Glenn Gaudet: (27:23) Yeah, and this is … I touched on this earlier, but I think this is a really big thing that you can do when you have a platform like GaggleAMP, because what you can do with that is you can go to those five subject matter experts for this one particular area and you see a conversation that’s taking place out there, you can target and segment the people who are on the platform to say, “Okay, you five folks, can you go jump into this conversation,” it might be on LinkedIn, it might be in a blog, wherever, and have them be part of that conversation.
Glenn Gaudet: (27:59) Then you take the masses and have the masses now amplify the fact that this conversation’s going on. So this is how you raise the influence of your own subject matter experts, because they’re saying really intelligent things that they really understand this topic and they have a point of view that needs to be heard, and then the rest of the employees become part of that amplification effort.
Erin Sparks: (28:28) Absolutely.
Glenn Gaudet: (28:29) So it’s really powerful. It’s not just about giving one piece of content for everybody to share. I mean, you can certainly do that, but the thing is, marketing is for thinkers. If the marketing department is actually thinking about this from a very strategic point of view and then tying it back to the overall marketing strategy, there’s some powerful things you can do by leveraging those employee assets.
Erin Sparks: (28:54) Absolutely. And again, some of those benefits are job retention and … just employment opportunities there. But I mean, more importantly, you’re showing spotlight on your internal culture, internal SMEs, but from an outside perspective, as a customer or somebody who is not knowing of the brand and they see that this company is actually really lifting up their employees, what a great connection. It truly is authentic. It’s not manufactured. You can’t manufacture employee spotlight. Well, you could, with a stock image, but my gosh, what could happen there? So along the fact of the … with the employee advocacy program, as it’s rolling along, you as mangers have a responsibility, it’s not set it and forget it, obviously, and it’s also not throwing stock content into the sausage maker and everybody just picks it up and runs with it. You got to give kudos to those employees that are moving the ball downfield. Right?
Glenn Gaudet: (30:06) Yeah, I think one of the things that you need to do is you need to make it super easy for those employees. Because believe it or not, they don’t want the complex social media dashboard. That’s not what they’re looking for. They’re looking … make it super simple for them. Right? Make it a binary decision, do you want to do this? Go ahead, great, do it, push the button. Do you not want to do it? Okay, push another button. I got it, okay? I don’t have to really train somebody on that.
Glenn Gaudet: (30:36) I think where the mistake happens is … It’s funny, and you’ve probably run into this with some of your clients, right? Their view of, “Okay, well let’s do employee advocacy,” is “We’ll send an email out, we’ll identify the last 20 tweets we did, and we’ll say, ‘Can you retweet these?'” And now, it’s like, “Okay, well, first of all, you’re making me work, because now I got to go on Twitter and I got to find the thing.” But also, there’s no ability to track it to see whether or not that was even successful, but the employee doesn’t want 20 things to figure out which two or three I want to do. Right?
Erin Sparks: (31:23) Yep.
Glenn Gaudet: (31:23) So again, make it easy for me, don’t overload me, don’t just send me a library of content and I have to decide, “Okay, well, should I put this on Facebook, should I put it on LinkedIn, should I put it on Twitter?” Be really packaged about this. “Here’s five things we’d like you to do. Here’s something for LinkedIn, here’s something for Twitter, this might be something for Glassdoor, and oh, by the way, there’s a couple influencers out there, we think you should follow them on Twitter, here they are.”
Erin Sparks: (31:52) Make it real easy, guide them.
Glenn Gaudet: (31:55) Make it super simple, and then make it fun, right? So like, one of the things that we do is we have a leaderboard as part of our platform, right? Creates those creative … well, the competitive juices. And we also have the ability that you’re getting points every time you actually do something, so you can tie that back to a reward system. You just make it fun. You’re not trying to buy participation, but you’re making it fun, but more importantly, you’re making it easy.
Erin Sparks: (32:21) Yeah, you beat me to it. I was going to ask about gamification and how to kickstart a employee advocacy program. That’s right there, and you already have that in your software. You’ve seen and you’ve deployed a lot of employee advocacy programs. What happens if the employees don’t get recognized for their efforts? I mean, it’s kind of the same realm of if you don’t recognize performance and you don’t give performance reviews or raises or stuff like that. What happens whenever you start off a campaign like this and you just don’t give back and you don’t know what the employees are doing?
Glenn Gaudet: (33:05) Well, first of all, you have to remember that there are some employees that they’re just going to do this. They’re going to want to do this. Right?
Erin Sparks: (33:13) Yep.
Glenn Gaudet: (33:13) They don’t need the pat on the back. But what we always recommend is that when you’re creating a successful program, it’s not just all about the software, it’s just not all about the marketing folks, or even the employees, it’s about communicating it broadly and saying, “Hey, you know, let’s give some recognition to all the folks who have had an impact this past week.”
Erin Sparks: (33:39) There you go.
Glenn Gaudet: (33:40) Or maybe the top people of the month. So there’s ways that you can gamify outside of any software platform and really bring it into recognition, tying it back to maybe your company is doing some sort of a newsletter or company town halls, and you can really recognize people. The reality is, are you going to recognize everybody in that fashion? Maybe not, but you’re also going to notify people that the people who are being recognized, chances are, they’re having a good time doing it, they’re enjoying it, and they’re getting a lot of benefit from it. We haven’t even really discussed that part, but you have to remember that when all of a sudden the employees become active digitally, their digital influence personally goes up.
Erin Sparks: (34:29) That’s right.
Glenn Gaudet: (34:30) They get followers, they get more conversations that are going on and all of a sudden, they feel empowered by that. They feel good about that, and what do they want to do? They want to do more of that.
Erin Sparks: (34:41) Absolutely. And let’s unpack that a little bit further, because maybe some employees just haven’t even looked at their LinkedIn profile forever. Right? And they’ve been with a company for 10 years, which is fantastic in today’s work environment. But you give them some content to actually push through LinkedIn, all of a sudden, they’re starting to pay attention to the feeds, the content inside LinkedIn, and they see where they can plug in on behalf of the company, but also stoke their own stardom.
Erin Sparks: (35:11) You have the fertile bed to actually start raising up some people that have been kind of negligent in their own brand, right? Part of what companies have been fearful in the past but they have to embrace it is that everybody’s got a brand, everybody’s got a digital wake. Right? Some of them are anemic, others are … they have an entire life outside of business that they’ve got tomes of followers, right?
Erin Sparks: (35:45) If you’re not even paying attention to your employees’ digital wake, right, which is a crime unto itself. You got to know what’s out there and you got to know what they’re talking about. But arming them with really good information about the company, the mission, the values of the company, it just gives them the opportunity to plug back into themselves and grow far beyond what they were before. So you’re really giving them a valuable jumpstart into content inside of social media, right?
Glenn Gaudet: (36:19) Yes, and you’re raising them to the level of influencer themselves.
Erin Sparks: (36:25) Yeah, there you go.
Glenn Gaudet: (36:27) Again, there’s that personal gain as well as the corporate gain that’s in here. A really good program is going to have that win/win scenario, so that the employee gains as much as the company gains. That’s the thing I think that companies need to remember. This is not a one-way street. If you’re going to have a really successful program, you have to think in terms of the voice and the desires of the employees, because they want something out of this, too.
Erin Sparks: (36:59) Oh, absolutely.
Glenn Gaudet: (37:01) If you help them professionally and personally as a result of this, it’s a no-brainer.
Erin Sparks: (37:06) Very good. And listening to those employees, because they can actually steer the entire advocacy program as well and they can contribute into what’s really working. So all of a sudden, now you’re arming them with that, but they’re also excited about what else they can do. “Hey, this really felt like a dud here,” right? “Let’s talk about this.” Then, again, circling back around, you are now seeing connection and buy-in from the employees that never got a chance to talk about marketing, never got a chance to talk about the brain of the organization, now they’re giving you incredible feedback, and on top of that, you’re finding potential problems even in the product. Right? Where they’ve never had an ability to contribute. Obviously, they’re not going to be sharing it externally, but they have a stake in this and they want to give back if you’re giving them the microphone, right?
Glenn Gaudet: (38:00) Absolutely. And I think that that’s an important piece for the employee, is to have that connection back to marketing, because a lot of times marketing just … Unless they’re physically going out and having conversations, they’re not getting that kind of feedback. But when you’re running an employee advocacy program using a platform like GaggleAMP, you can actually see the messages that are being shared, see the messages and the activities that are actually being done by the employees, but also, you’re seeing the ones that aren’t being done. It’s not to say, “Oh, let’s go talk to Johnny and Suzy and see why they’re doing it,” in fact [crosstalk 00:38:45].
Erin Sparks: (38:45) They really don’t want to bring everybody into a big room and shame them, right?
Glenn Gaudet: (38:48) Yeah, that’s right. They’re not trying to do that, and our platform doesn’t allow you to do that because we don’t show you down to the employee level what they didn’t share or anything. But what we do is we show you at the aggregate level, so you can see the impact of not only how many employees might have participated in an activity, but also the results of that activity. So now you’re seeing both the external and the internal impact and you start making better decisions about your content and your activities that you’re asking them to engage in.
Erin Sparks: (39:22) That’s awesome. It literally is almost like a cultural barometer that you can mine whenever you start an employee advocacy program. All right, so you’ve sold me on it, I was fearful to begin with, right, as many companies probably are. Now, we understand the benefits, we understand the additional benefits far beyond sales, right? There’s a cultural component here, and as long as you … if you pay attention and you read what’s happening, you have far more benefits happening.
Erin Sparks: (39:54) All right, so let’s talk about the tools. Obviously, you’re the CEO of GaggleAMP, and GaggleAMP is a employee advocacy tool. What other tools are there in this space? Are you unique upon yourself, or are there other applications? I’m not asking you to throw a bunch of brand names out there, even different competitors, but …
Glenn Gaudet: (40:13) It’s a good question. Because I think, you know, it’s interesting, when we started, there was nobody. Now, you see people kind of approaching it still in a very different way than I do. We look at it from the marketing perspective in terms of how do we make it successful? How do we make it easy for employees to do? You’ll see a lot of platforms out there and some of them are add ons or some of them are just their own platform. But it’s really focused on content distribution. They’ll give you a library of content and then they’ll give you some buttons as an employee and you get to pick, “Oh, do I want to put this on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, wherever.”
Glenn Gaudet: (41:00) We take a completely different approach, it’s very unique, and what it is is yes, the marketer has to think about this and say, “Okay, I want this message, specifically for LinkedIn.” And then that goes to the employee, and the employee says, “Okay, yeah, I’ll share that on LinkedIn,” or “No thanks.” Okay, well, I want this specific tweet to be retweeted by everybody, and I want to give everybody an opportunity to comment on it. So great, so now as the employee, it’s really focused and really simple for me to make a decision do I want to do this, do I not want to do it?
Glenn Gaudet: (41:36) And we also … there’s a lot of things, too, to add authenticity to this. Because you don’t want to be just sharing the same content. You also want to be able to do things where you get more from their voice personally. So there’s a number of activities that you can do in our platform that allow the employee to answer a question. The question’s answer becomes the tweet, the question’s answer becomes the LinkedIn message, and then the company can provide an image and a hashtag. Some of the guardrails that you want, but it’s also coming directly from the employee’s voice, which is incredibly powerful.
Erin Sparks: (42:17) Oh, very good. It’s an empowering platform. So there are a few other apps in the game there, but …
Glenn Gaudet: (42:24) Absolutely. Oh, sure, yeah.
Erin Sparks: (42:26) But I mean, we certainly … That’s why we connected with you, because it seems that you’ve got a pretty sizable lead on the market there, with this type of tool. Are you seeing more and more advocacy programs start up and … Well, that’s kind of a general question, but I’m assuming you are or you wouldn’t be in business. But you’re seeing more and more successes coming out of corporate America starting these things up, aren’t you?
Glenn Gaudet: (42:54) Yeah, absolutely. Nine years ago when I started the company, people didn’t even have social media titles within an organization, they didn’t even have digital marketing titles within an organization. So let alone employee advocacy programs. So to say the least, we were early. But as that grew and we were able to learn from the early adopters of employee advocacy what works and what doesn’t, we realized very quickly that … and saw this transition. So like, in 2010, there was really nothing going on from an employee advocacy point of view. 2014, it was really all about just getting employees to share content. Right?
Erin Sparks: (43:41) Yep.
Glenn Gaudet: (43:42) 2018, we saw this transition that took place partly because I think that there was so much noise, but the other part is also what the social networks themselves did with their algorithms is you needed to add engagement to this. So it’s not just about sharing a piece of content, but things like interacting with that content from a commenting point of view, a liking point of view, a sharing point of view. That’s where all of a sudden now it rose up to the top. If you want, I’ll tell you where we think it’s going in 2020, because I think that that is the next big thing in employee advocacy.
Erin Sparks: (44:20) All right. Yeah, go ahead.
Glenn Gaudet: (44:23) Well, which is the idea of leveraging the employees as content creators themselves. So you’ll be seeing something from us later this year around that, that makes it just as easy to share things to the outside world, [inaudible 00:44:37] activities, also be able to get them to connect and bring content internally as well, which is really powerful.
Erin Sparks: (44:44) That’s very important because being able to mine authentic content from your subject matter experts and giving them an easy way because not everybody wants to write, obviously. But being able to give back and … again, that’s huge from not only [inaudible 00:45:00] curation and for the brand, but also mining the brain trust that they have inside their organization. That would be huge.
Erin Sparks: (45:11) All right, so there’s the future of employee advocacy, is getting … I mean, you got a whale of a lot of content coming out of those employees, you just got to give them … got to siphon it off the right way.
Erin Sparks: (45:24) Very good. So hey, we certainly want to promote GaggleAMP and let our listeners and our audience know yeah, it’s GaggleAMP.com, right?
Glenn Gaudet: (45:35) Yeah, in fact, what we did is we set up a special page for the listeners …
Erin Sparks: (45:38) Oh, cool.
Glenn Gaudet: (45:40) … of this program and the watchers of the program, because we’re doing video. But if you go to GaggleAMP.com/edge, that’s GaggleAMP.com/edge, we’ve got an ebook there as well as a webinar that you can watch that really helps you … This is all for free, so just go and get it and wrap your head around this and understand what you can do. We’ll give you a framework to think about this within your own company. We’ll help you make a decision whether or not you’re doing a program now or thinking about doing a program, it’s some wonderful resources, just go to GaggleAMP.com/edge.
Erin Sparks: (46:22) That’s awesome. Well, thank you so much on behalf of our audience. It’s great to be able to have those type of offerings to our audience, so thanks for doing that for us. To wrap up, Glenn, give us maybe a key thought for those employers that are toying with the employee advocacy program, what would you say to them?
Glenn Gaudet: (46:46) I would say, “What are you waiting for? Because chances are, your competition’s already doing this.”
Erin Sparks: (46:54) So it’s the FOMO aspect that you’re going for today. No, you’re absolutely right.
Glenn Gaudet: (47:01) On the more positive side, without the fear. Your employees are truly an asset for you, and the longer you go without tapping into the asset is the longer they just sit back, frankly as a potential liability because all you’re doing is paying them and you’re not getting the full benefit of them that they could be giving to you.
Erin Sparks: (47:23) There you go. Well, Glenn, it’s certainly been a pleasure speaking with you about this, because this is a little bit off our beaten path of digital marketing tactics. This is truly an untapped opportunity and with social media growth starting to flatten out, you got to realize that everybody who’s on is there and your employees are also there by and large. And hey, give them something to talk about, right?
Glenn Gaudet: (47:51) Absolutely. And it can’t be just the brand having the digital conversations out there. That’s probably one of the biggest takeaways you should take from this, is that you might have a Twitter presence or a LinkedIn presence, Facebook presence, Instagram, whatever, for your organization. But people like to have relationships with people.
Erin Sparks: (48:15) Absolutely.
Glenn Gaudet: (48:15) So empower your employees to have those relationships, otherwise you’re missing out.
Erin Sparks: (48:23) No, I get that. I get that. So you gave us a fun point about you before the show in the pre-show questionnaire. Okay, let’s talk about this. You literally are a snowboarding coach, of how long you been doing this?
Glenn Gaudet: (48:38) I was a nationally certified snowboard instructor for 12 years before I started GaggleAMP and I didn’t have much time.
Erin Sparks: (48:46) Oh my gosh. That is awesome. Never been on a snowboard before in my life.
Glenn Gaudet: (48:52) It’s fun! It’s a lot of fun.
Erin Sparks: (48:53) It looks a lot of fun, it also looks a bit risky.
Glenn Gaudet: (48:57) That’s why you should take a lesson, don’t assume that you know how to do it.
Erin Sparks: (49:00) I see a tree coming right at me. All right.
Glenn Gaudet: (49:05)Look away from the tree, if you’re seeing a tree. Look away, because that’s where you’ll go.
Erin Sparks: (49:09) Oh, that’s awesome. All right, there’s a tip for the day. All right? Look away from the tree, and on top of that, look at your employees. Sorry, that was a bad … connection. Anyway, hey, we really appreciate your time today, we certainly will be putting all the links on our show notes for what we’re referencing, and we certainly appreciate the dedicated URL, so our Edge of Nation can go check it out and learn from you and possibly bring this to … if there are some digital marketers inside companies, bring it to your employer. Hey, if you’ve learned something on this show, go check it out because it could very well be a entire goldmine of content and advocacy. So Glenn, thank you so much for the time today. We wish you all the best success in the world, man.
Glenn Gaudet: (49:55) Thank you so much. Thanks for having me on the show today.
Erin Sparks: (49:57) You’re more than welcome. More than welcome. Well, thanks for listening to EdgeoftheWebRadio.com, we certainly appreciate all the help from our colleagues here at Site Strategics, especially our guest, Glen Gaudet. Be sure to check out all the must-see videos and much more, audio, news stories, and a lot of other stuff over at EdgeoftheWebRadio.com, EdgeoftheWebRadio.com. Be sure to check out also, over at Site Strategics, we have the entire transcript of the shows along with key timestamps where you can jump straight to particular topics. So go check that out, Edge is certainly going to be lighting up those articles as well.
Erin Sparks: (50:33) Check out everything over at EdgeoftheWebRadio.com, we certainly appreciate all the likes and reviews and ratings. Be sure, if you haven’t done that, we ask you one thing this week is to connect with another social media digital marketer that … or a digital marketer in its entirety. If you like what you hear, share it with somebody that you know and get them hooked, get them subscribing, and let them know how much you value this show. We certainly appreciate it. From all of us at Site Strategics, thanks so much, we’ll talk to you next week. Do not be a piece of cyber driftwood. Bye bye.