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Last year, our 2015 State of Social Business research report showed a 191% increase in Employee Advocacy interest over the past two years, and our most recent research—to be published next week—shows that 90% of brands are either planning such programs or already active. When I see growth numbers like that, the skeptic in me is stirred: is this the new “bright shiny object” of social media, that is, will the hype meet expectations?
To answer that question, I recognized that we needed to hear from three crucial participants:
To answer these questions, I interviewed 10 leading brands and 9 employee advocacy tool vendors, as well as fielding a global survey of brands, employees and consumers. The resulting research report will be published next week--and freely available, as open research. In our study, we found areas of significant opportunity for brands, as well as disconnects between brand ambitions and employee advocacy outcomes.
One way to think about employee advocacy is the native advertising of social media. Wikipedia defines native advertising as “…a type of advertising, usually online but feasibly elsewhere, that matches the form and function of the platform upon which it appears.” What’s more natural than a friend sharing their work life through social? Does that make it advertising? An important line is being blurred between the personal and private lives of employees. For years, brands have mandated through employee social media policy to basically “leave social media to the experts”, but I see a number of catalysts changing that stance:
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