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10 top employee advocacy tools to increase brand reach and ROI

Consider this statistic: employees are 2x as trusted as a CEO, senior executive, or activist consumer (Edelman). If that stat didn’t drive the importance of employee advocacy home for you, how about this: on average, brand messages are shared 24x more frequently when distributed by employees (MSL Group).

Employee advocacy is increasingly being seen as a key accompaniment when considering social media management solutions - and many established solution providers have adapted as such, whether as an add-on to their already existing services, or a tool that easily integrates across other CRM platforms.

The challenge for marketers, then, becomes choosing a solution that’s both scalable and that allows you to tie employee advocacy initiatives directly to ROI.

What investment can you make that maximizes your time while equipping your employees to be your most powerful brand advocates?

We’ve gathered 10 of the top employee advocacy tools available that combine a rich mix of features to suit a variety of company needs and goals.

1) Trapit

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(Source) A dual social selling and employee advocacy solution, Trapit allows brands to build a robust content library for employees. It’s powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning to keep you aware of company mentions and relevant third-party content, all while measuring the content that produces the best results. This tool is great for you if: - Your team works best with more structure - you can provide pre-approved messaging/posts to ensure best practices are followed - Your marketing and sales executives are just getting started in social and brand advocacy - You’re looking for content around the web to supplement your content produced internally Highlights: - Integrates seamlessly with your existing CRM (Salesforce, Hubspot, Marketo, Oracle) - Post from Trapit directly to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, WeChat, Wordpress - Easily scalable across large teams - Track how buyers are interacting with your sales reps on social and use these insights to improve your sales process - Measure the effectiveness of your employee advocacy program to understand how advocates impact your marketing and recruiting efforts 

2) Sociabble

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(Source) Sociabble provides both an employee advocacy program as well as a dedicated customer success team to help you define objectives, evaluate KPIs, and continually optimize your employee advocacy strategy for long term success. This tool is great for you if: - You’re looking for content to complement both internal and external advocate communities - Keeping employees motivated is important - use Sociabble’s gamification features - You encourage employee generated content - employees can submit pieces for approval via the Sociabble platform Highlights: - Engage on the go - Sociabble has native apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone - Fully integrates with Salesforce, Office 365, Yammer, Chatter and Damdy - Create personalized CTA’s for employees (push notifications, custom newsletters) regardless of size and scope of your company - Measure end user engagement by tracking impact of content shared through customized links - Integrate Sociabble with retargeting tools (like RadiumOne) to increase audience touch points and drive lead generation

3) EveryoneSocial

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(Source) What sets EveryoneSocial apart is its focus on employee engagement - including features such as a personal feed section, allowing employees to add news sites and blogs they are interested in reading and sharing. The tool becomes a platform not just for branded content but also an employee’s personal social media management tool.

This tool is great for you if: - You have a global team - Everyone Social is available in 63 countries and 57 languages - Building a tight knit team is a priority - employees can tag each other and share relevant content with each other

Highlights: - Great user experience - EveryoneSocial uses engagement data from thousands of users to keep their UX fresh and effective - Mobile apps available for iOS and Android - Great resource for all levels of employees: marketing, sales, HR, executives, and channel partners

4) LinkedIn Elevate

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(Source) LinkedIn Elevate leverages the power of their already existing social platform. Users can create specific topic areas to track that tie to specific company objectives.

This is a great tool for you if: - You’re a company of 2,000+ employees (but still a good fit for smaller companies) - You want your employees to engage as social professionals on the LinkedIn platform to drive network growth - You want to give your employees the power of hand-picking content to share across their networks and with other employees

Highlights: - First month is free - Regular coaching meetings, performance reporting and access to LinkedIn.com insights - Measure the impact of your program on key business metrics such as new hires, event registrants, site traffic and sales - Set realistic goals and improve  - you see employees’ before and after sharing rates and increases over time that can tie back to measurements like profile views and new connections

5) Hootsuite Amplify

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(Source) Hootsuite is a well known social media management solution - and their add-on, Hootsuite Amplify, makes their platform a complete package, making it easy for your employees to send out pre-approved messages to their networks.

This tool is great for you if: - You and your team are already Hootsuite users - familiarity with Hootsuite’s functionality can make adding Amplify an easier onboarding process

Highlights: - Social media management and amplification can all be managed from one dashboard (via desktop or mobile app - carrying your branding with it) - You can promote campaigns by sending emails to employees asking them to share specific posts - Track your top-performing posts and employees that share the most

6) Smarp

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(Source) Smarp has created the first professional influencer index - coined SmarpScore - that shows how professional influence changes over time - going beyond just measuring amount of activity.

This tool is great for you if: - You’re a global team - strategy is managed and measured on a global scale, but content is managed locally - You want both company and personal statistics - you can track your most influential employees while also allowing them to track their own social media influence - You work across a variety of different platforms across different markets

Highlights: - Smarp has offices around the world - employees of over 20 different nationalities, speaking 10 languages that can provide you with local support - Enterprise-level security to protect customer privacy and data - You can integrate with Google Analytics (among other tools) to measure traffic and conversions in conjunction with other traffic sources

7) Bambu

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Bambu was developed in 2015 by Sprout Social - and is a great option for companies who want to make it easy for employees to stay up-to-date on the happenings inside your organization. Content can easily be added and organized - including articles, social posts, industry-related news, events, media mentions, campaigns or job postings.

This tool is great for you if: - You’re already a user of the Sprout Social platform - You’re looking to implement tailored employee advocacy solutions across departments

Highlights: - Bambu provides ongoing customer care and technical support, meetings to share best practices and evaluate program performance, along with guidance to ensure adoption and success - Solutions targeted for marketing, HR and sales teams to help meet business goals including brand awareness, lead generation, conversions, and social recruiting - Free evaluation with up to 100 users (based on company size)

8) Post Beyond

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(Source) Post Beyond is a tool that gives you a ton of control and flexibility (which users are invited, what approved content they’re able to share), all supported by deployment services including program governance, quarterly assessments and health checks via a dedicated customer success team member.

This tool is great for you if: - You want to encourage participation through gamification - Post Beyond’s leadership board makes it easy to reward top sharers and increase engagement - Combine and share both curated content and company created content (blog posts, photos), while staying consistent across all messaging

Highlights: - Extensive content control settings - choose which networks users can post to, which groups can share specific content, user edit permissions, start/expiry dates for your content - Share from everywhere - directly from the platform, directly from within an email update, or through Post Beyond’s browser extension - Educate stakeholders on program progress with cross-platform insights

9) SocialToaster

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(Source) SocialToaster is focused on word-of-mouth marketing geared towards all ambassadors engaged with your brand - not just employees. You can reach and engage select audiences through customized marketing emails, social media campaigns, contests and social gamification.

This tool is great for you if: - You work in a niche industry - SocialToaster creates tailored strategies for a variety of industries (music, TV, consumer goods, education, sports, movies)

Highlights: - Compatible with all major social networks - SocialToaster uses an easy social-signup system that enables no-hassle sharing for your SuperFans - Multilingual - Extensive reporting capabilities including share rates, deep data digs, user data, site traffic and network demographics

10) CommandPost

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(Source) CommandPost’s employee advocacy feature is part of their larger social media marketing intelligence platform - providing tools for audience segmentation, content optimization and compliance. CommandPost allows you to evaluate your best performing advocates and content and continually optimize both in real-time.

This tool is great for you if: - You work in a regulated environment, distribute fine print or legal information - CommandPost makes it easy to ensure employees are complying with applicable rules and regulations - You run several third-party programs or campaigns - CommandPost has built-in tools for documenting and managing compliance of advocates and influencers

Highlights: - CommandPost makes it easy to optimize content and engagement strategies across channels - CommandPost offers PowerPost (in beta) to see a unified view of your personal social communications across various channels and provides real-time analytics

Although this huge influx of tools on the market (there are over 50 available!) can seem daunting, it’s also a great opportunity for you to choose the solution that provides the select features that fit your team’s needs and goals - from mobile apps, to gamification, analytics, social sharing capabilities, CRM integration, and more. Many of these tools also offer free trials.

Of course, tools can only complement an established strategy. At our upcoming Social Media Strategies Summit, February 7-9, Ryan Pena of MentorMate will be giving a full day workshop on how to build a scalable, lasting employee advocacy strategy for your company. You’ll learn how to set goals, engage employees with an advocacy tool, launching a new program, analyzing performance, and more - everything that will give the task of choosing the right tool for your company much more context.

At #SMSsummit SF, we’ll also be featuring case studies on how GoDaddy and Kaiser Permanente scaled their employees across massive organizations. 

Breanna Jacobs photo

Breanna Jacobs manages GSMI’s conference production team and is the lead for the company’s digital marketing conference portfolio. She produces 8+ conferences per year, working directly with senior level speakers and collaborating with marketing and sales teams to drive event publicity and content marketing initiatives.

She’s researched and launched several new, successful programs from scratch including the UX Strategies Summit, Mobile+Web Developer Conference and the Brand Strategy Conference.

Prior to GSMI, Breanna was an ESL teacher, studied and taught abroad in Spain (Olé!). She graduated with a BA in Global Studies from UC Santa Barbara. She’s a runner, bookworm, and traveler.

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