Social Business: Employee Advocacy Programs Gaining Interest

August 6, 2015

Altimeter-Maturity-Level-Social-Business-Programs-Aug2015Developing ongoing dialogue and engagement with customers to deepen relationships ranks as the leading external social strategy objective for organizations with more than 250 employees, according to an Altimeter Group study [download page] that surveyed 113 strategists (social, digital and/or heads of social) at companies of that size. Given that priority, it’s not too surprising that social engagement is the most mature social business program of those identified, followed by social analytics, events and sponsorship activation, and social customer service.

Social selling, meanwhile, emerged as the program for which most respondents have no plans. Similarly, social commerce was the lowest-ranked external objective.

Interestingly, employee advocacy is gaining steam as a social strategy objective, ranking above social customer support as a top-3 external strategy. Yet this is still in its infancy: just 18% rated their organization as mature in this program (compared to 72% for social engagement). However, a significant 42% of respondents reported planning or piloting employee advocacy programs, almost double the proportion piloting or planning branded customer communities (22%).

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Separately, when asked the importance of various social business objectives, more than 8 in 10 strategists cited brand health (“improvement in attitudes, conversation and behavior toward our brand”) as being important or very important, closely followed by the 76% attributing that level of importance to customer experience (“improvement in relationship with customers, experience with brand”).

Overall, better integration of social media into digital is a top internal priority. This is an ongoing issue: a recent report found fewer than 1 in 5 CMOs rating social’s integration into their marketing strategy a top-2 box score on a 7-point scale. The Altimeter Group finds better results, however: almost two-thirds of strategists surveyed said that social is either fully integrated into digital (39%) or in the process of being integrated, with efforts mostly complete by the end of the year (24%). B2B organizations, though, were more likely than the overall sample to say that social is separate from digital and there are no plans to integrate them (24% vs. 17%). For more on social’s role in B2B marketing, see MarketingCharts’ new Insights report on B2B digital marketing.

About the Data: The research was carried out by the Altimeter Group in Q2 among 113 executives, digital and social strategies at companies with more than 250 employees.

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