Post by Adi Englander
Are you in the hunt for an employee advocacy platform? Would you like some alternatives to LinkedIn Elevate for superior employee advocacy?
Over the years LinkedIn has released several useful features and tools that have helped distinguish the platform as the go-to social network for business. While the other popular social networks only seem to be copying each other’s latest top functionalities, LinkedIn stands apart in this regard. After all, the B2B value of social media use is completely different from B2C uses.
One of the tools released by LinkedIn that has grown to be especially popular is LinkedIn Elevate, an employee advocacy platform. It does exactly as the name suggests, which is making it easy for employees to support their employers’ content distribution efforts – while positioning themselves as industry thought leaders at the same time.
Using an algorithm and/or manually curated links, LinkedIn Elevate finds content that your target audience likes and suggests it to your team members. Employees can sort through these posts and share the content they like most on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Businesses can track these shares to see if they resulted in an increase in brand exposure, traffic, leads captured and talent attracted.
Image source: https://business.LinkedIn.com/elevate/why-create-social-employees
Most businesses using Elevate see significant traction, which makes sense given the power of employee advocacy as a tactic in general. Data from Smarp, another advocacy solution, indicates that employee advocates have an average of 420 Facebook friends, 400 LinkedIn contacts and 360 Twitter followers. That’s a content distribution opportunity that B2B marketers should not overlook.
While piloting LinkedIn Elevate, Adobe found that the average participating employees drove 80% more job listing views plus three to four trial downloads of Adobe software products. This is because when people check out the profiles and content of your employees, they will also check out the company they work for and the products they offer. What’s more, 83% of people trust recommendations from friends and family more than any other form of advertising, according to Nielsen.
Another big benefit of using an employee advocacy tool is that it helps employees feel more invested to their companies. This sentiment can help promote a sense of cohesive culture and increase performance.
But to successfully execute employee advocacy, you don’t need to use LinkedIn Elevate. There are several alternatives that specialize in this niche and offer superior features and user experiences. You should be able to find one based on your specific needs and budget with ease, instead of just opting for the one offered by LinkedIn.
Here are my picks for the top alternatives to LinkedIn Elevate.
Smarp is an advanced employee advocacy platform, which has several useful features that LinkedIn Elevate doesn’t. These include gamification, internal communications and ROI-focused analytics.
With Smarp, admins can either share link updates or standalone content updates like text and images. Hence, you should be able to share content that will drive both traffic and engagement. You can schedule the update in advance and set a time to archive it in case it is time sensitive. You can even move the content around in the feed of suggestions if you want a specific post to gain more exposure.
Smarp can also automatically pull content from your social media pages and RSS feeds, so that every new post on your blog will automatically aggregate to your Smarp feed of suggested shares. You can use this feature to feed content from trusted niche-relevant publications and co-marketing partner organizations as well.
Employees can share the content you add onto Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, as they can with LinkedIn Elevate, but Smarp also supports additional channels like WeChat, Xing, VK and Weibo, plus the ability to easily share via copy-pasted URLs. Team members can also comment on the updates to engage with others from your company. These discussions can be used to not only share content of maximum interest in the future, but to also to collaborate for creating quality content for your blog. Employees can also easily find content they like, by using the topic navigation tabs at the top of the feed.
Smarp offers a responsive web app, as well as native apps for Android and iOS. This makes it easy for your employees to access suggestions and discussions, so they can share from anywhere.
Image source: http://www.smarp.com/
As mentioned above, Smarp has a gamification feature, with an employee leaderboard that helps to motivate shares. You can even integrate incentives like company swag, bonuses and charity donations, to sweeten the deal for top sharers. LinkedIn Elevate’s leaderboard, on the other hand, is only available to admins, as part of the analytics – it isn’t a core functionality.
One of Smarp’s best features is its advanced analytics. Employees can access metrics relating to engagement on their own shares, while admins can view company-wide metrics, or drill down into per-channel, per-employee and per-post performance.
Personal analytics has a feature called SmarpScore, which makes it easy to measure how one’s professional influence progresses over time. Another cool feature of the analytics tools here is an “earned media value” metric, which estimates what you might have paid in social media advertising to achieve comparable reach.
- Dynamic Signal
Dynamic Signal is another leading employee advocacy platform. You can use it to post your latest industry news and company updates. Employees can access this information via a mobile app and stay informed about your company and the trends that matter in your niche, and they can share updates directly from the mobile app onto social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
It integrates with Facebook Messenger and Slack, too, so that you can push share recommendations and messages to employees via these apps.
You can also boost engagement and get plenty of feedback from employees by using surveys and quizzes. This information can be used to strengthen company culture and to create content employees want to share on social media.
Image source: http://dynamicsignal.com/
Dynamic Signal’s analytics tools allow you to track an item’s potential reach, which is based on sharers’ audience size. This allows you to target and engage employees with the right types of content. You can also access rich reports that drill down into each team member’s app use, including logs of logins, posts viewed and shared and even devices used.
This is where Dynamic Signal shines most brightly. The emphasis here is on improving communications between employees and company management.
Created by the team from the social media management platform Sprout Social, Bambu is the fourth employee advocacy platform we’ll look at today as a viable alternative to LinkedIn Elevate. Bambu lets you craft and post custom social media updates, so that they are ready for sharing onto Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You can include notes along with the content so employees understand the relevance, urgency and/or strategic context of the update.
The analytics reports on Bambu let you identify top sharers and performance per item of content, per channel and per user. The metrics on offer are extremely basic, but the visualizations are clean and accessible.
Image source: https://getbambu.com/
Bambu’s calming user interface is definitely better than that of GaggleAMP. But the internal communication features aren’t robust enough, and while the “big three” social networks are likely to do the job for many organizations, others are looking to engage elsewhere as well. What’s more, there are no gamification features like on Smarp. This can reduce the number of shares posts get, as you can’t incentivise sharing nor create a sharing contest among employees.
For companies that are already using Sprout for their social media monitoring, measurement and scheduling, it probably makes good sense to add Bambu to the stack. Otherwise, the other tools in this article may be better matches for your advocacy needs.
One of the more helpful employee advocacy platforms, PostBeyond also offers solutions for brand resource management, employer branding, process management and social selling.
You can create a content library where you add blog posts, job listings, white papers, press releases, etc. either directly or with their browser extension. Content can also be sourced from social media, RSS feeds and even spreadsheets for bulk uploads. Items can be shared with all employees or certain combinations of employees, which are easy to manage via PostBeyond’s “Groups” admin panel.
In addition to native PostBeyond feeds, admins can send employees regular email updates with roundups of key items for viewing or sharing, simply by selecting a Group audience and ticking whatever item checkboxes are relevant.
Image source: https://www.postbeyond.com/product/
Employees can access PostBeyond on the devices of their choice and then share content on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. Channel diversity is limited, but PostBeyond makes up for this shortcoming with the depth of analytics reporting on offer. It’s possible that their product team made a decision to only work with social networks whose APIs can support their rich reporting.
The analytics here can reveal shares, impressions, comments and other engagement metrics, with the ability to easily slice this data according to audience geolocation or PostBeyond Group.
Activate Your in-House Army of Sharers
LinkedIn Elevate might be the best-known employee advocacy platform, but it is hardly the best. As you can see, there are plenty of alternatives, and each has its specialty. Smarp is the only complete tool, as it helps with content distribution, internal communication, gamification and ROI-focused analytics. Dynamic Signal mainly focuses on internal communication, while GaggleAMP is only about driving action on social media and other digital channels.
I recommend that you check out all the tools in detail by signing up for trials and demos, and then pick the one that fulfills all your functionality and budgeting needs.
Which tools do you use for your employee advocacy strategy? How have they worked for you? Please leave your comments below.Adi Englander is a freelance writer and social media expert who writes for Gerris digital, a full-service digital strategy firm in the Washington, DC, area.