As we approach the end of 2016, the maturity of employee advocacy is such that few companies are new to it as a concept, and many already have concrete programs in place. The question, therefore, is what the next developments will be as far as employee advocacy is concerned. In this post, we highlight five digital trends that will have an impact on the role employee advocacy plays in companies’ social media, employee engagement and brand communication strategies in 2017 and beyond.
Back in April, a YouGov report found that 59% of Facebook users were yet to hear about live video. Fast forward eight months, and the social network is awash with users sharing footage captured on smartphones at a host of occasions. Live video has taken off apace, which begs the question – are companies engaging their employees to spread the messages about real-time events?
Live video makes it easy for product teams in New York to follow and engage with the CEO’s keynote at an event in London; In 2017, live video will become a key way of engaging employees in company events, regardless of their location, and of widening the scope of shareable content by inviting them to create their own video footage.
The Ever-Increasing Challenge of Organic Social Visibility…
In 2017, as in previous years, it will only get harder to obtain organic social media impressions. With static brand posts losing out to video, sponsored adds and content posted by users’ own connections, more and more companies will turn to employee advocacy in order to increase the number of social channels through which they communicate, as well as the likelihood of content being seen.
…and the Importance of Individual Social Influence
The objectives of engaging employees to share brand messages will not be restricted to increased visibility for companies themselves. In 2017 it will be more important than ever for organizations to empower their people as industry experts, so that they can hold their own against competition, develop their employability and position themselves as thought leaders among their professional online community.
According to Adobe data, the growth of online sales exceeded predictions between November 1 and December 11, increasing by 8%. Meanwhile, the number of purchases taking place, or originating, on social media has been on the rise for some time and this will continue to be the case in 2017.
Impacted in no small part by the arrival of a click-to-buy experience on certain social networks, social media audiences often have a purchasing as well as a browsing mindset, and are more likely to make purchasing decisions based on what their peers say. This is another reason why the ability to drive peer-to-peer interactions, most notably by engaging employees to share brand content and messages, will play an increasingly central role in 2017.
Machine learning will, in 2017 and beyond, play an instrumental role in the development of employee advocacy platforms. The latter will evolve to propose content based on users’ interests, as well as the success of their past actions on social media. The increased sophistication of employee advocacy technology will also include things such as optimized post scheduling, and the recommendation of actions based on end-user engagement activity.
2017 promises to be a busy year as far as employee advocacy is concerned, and we look forward to the developments it brings. Watch this space for insights into trends and events as they happen.