Employee Advocacy is increasing in popularity but don't lump it in with the "shiny object" category. In fact, it's likely to be your most steady defense against a shape-shifting social media landscape.
If you've already launched or are developing an Employee Advocacy program to amplify social reach where organic reach has fizzled, complement paid reach, or increase consumer trust through peer-to-peer sharing, that's smart thinking. You're ahead of the curve in an era where social is shape-shifting again and potentially challenging consumer confidence (see Facebook like-farming,Edelman Trust Barometer, and branded ads in Messenger). Your program, however, is leveraging your employees' authenticity and influence among their social followers and that's solid ground to build on.
Now enter the rise of messengers, one of the biggest shape-shifts. TechCrunch described messaging as the next frontier noting: "One important milestone occurred last year when messaging apps surpassed social networks based on number of monthly active users. As messaging apps grow in scale, they will continue to evolve as service providers with news being a key component of their offerings."
Adweek's advice to marketers is keep up with the trend. That's where young people are talking and shopping, they say, but to be fair I know plenty of people who no longer qualify as "young" who are far more comfortable sharing information through "old school" one-to-one PMs and DMs. Separately, not every brand should presume they have adequate content or permission to chat up customers in what is still typically perceived as personal space.
So what's Employee Advocacy's role? Up until now we've addressed advocates in social networks like Facebook, but increasing messenger adoption bodes well for advocacy/engagement programs since it respects both participants' time and their sharing preferences. Your advocacy platform is already a competitive newsroom hub, so you'll already have news that will effectively compete with unsolicited news sent as messages.
Employees don't want to appear spammy or bombard their one-to-many socials with a constant stream of corporate posts, so cue them with an option to share through a messenger. Some platforms, like Dynamic Signal, already integrate with WhatsApp but Tom Carr, Sr. Director Client Solutions, points out that it's only available through their mobile experience vs. web client ... which makes perfect sense! Social selling and recruiting teams might also benefit from the ability to share pre-approved, curated content directly to a prospect, and give it a personal touch.
If your advocacy platform hasn't already integrated messenger options into their menu I'm betting they will shortly. They'll want to support your program goals, particularly authentic, trusted, amplification of your message whether that's through one-to-many or one-to-one channels. Either way, Employee Advocacy remains a solid strategy in combatting shape-shifting social and sharing preferences.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to reach out if you'd like to talk about expanding your Social Media Strategy or building an Employee Advocacy program.