Employee ambassadors are becoming a must-have for brand social media reach2013-03-11
Marketers distressed over the declining number of brand page posts that appear in the news feeds of people who have liked their page have another option to expand their reach. It’s just not an option most of them have considered.
Changes made last year to Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm led to a falloff in average reach. One study, by GroupM, found that brand pages experienced a 38% decline in consumer reach. Photo postings to brand pages fell 40% while those featuring links dropped off over 68%, according to the study. Other studies reported similarly distressing numbers.
Then there’s the study from Napkin Labs that determined only 6% of Facebook users ever engage with a brand page by participating in polls, commenting, liking, and the like. Of the fans of pages who did engage, that engagement was characterized on average by one like every two months.
All of which has led many marketers to decry Facebook’s jiggering with its algorithm as a blatant move to force companies to buy ads, even as Facebook argues it’s just trying to make sure people see content they actually want to see. And I continue to argue that creating truly engaging content is a cure to the problem of lowered visibility in news feeds.
But there is another solution: your own employees.
According to a study conducted by Facebook data scientists, when an account-holder posts a status update, it is seen by one out of three of the account holder’s Facebook friends. Over the course of the month the scientists studied 220,000 posts, users reached an average of 61% of their friends.
So, while marketers struggle to get attention for the items they post to their brand pages, the employees in their own companies are getting great exposure for their day-to-day contributions. In fact, their updates are seen by far more people than most users assume; Facebook users routinely underestimate their own reach, according to the study.
This speaks volumes about the importance of employee ambassador programs. Do the math: Let’s say you have an ambassador group of 500 employees who share one post each in a month. It’s not the same post, since ambassadors share only what they believe will interest their communities (or what genuinely interests them). If those 500 employees have an average of 250 friends (a completely arbitrary number), that’s 44,500 friends who will have seen those posts—and that doesn’t account for how many shared it with their friends or otherwise engaged with it.
That scenario is based on a defined ambassador group. Companies could easily set up intranet pages that aggregate everything it has shared via its social channels, allowing employees to select those they, in turn, want to share through their own networks, multiplying expontentially the reach that can be achieved by a limited number of employees who have opted to sign on as official ambassadors.
It’s becoming clearer and clearer: employee ambassador programs are becoming must-haves for organizations that want to ensure the broadest possible reach of their messages.