How Searchmetrics increased
their social reach by 20%
A global company with offices in Berlin, San Mateo, New York, and London, Searchmetrics helps companies, agencies, SEO teams, and content marketers get the most out of their online performance. Its innovative enterprise search and content marketing platform delivers analytics, recommendations, and actionable forecasts to help companies monitor and respond to online competition and changing markets.
To increase social reach and win greater credibility for its owned and earned content on social media, Searchmetrics decided to develop an incentive program, aiming to activate its employees as brand ambassadors while empowering them as thought leaders and experts.
Searchmetrics was already using Hootsuite Enterprise to manage its social media activities, so when it came time to launch an employee advocacy program, Hootsuite Amplify was the clear choice for a technology platform.
of employees active in Amplify
higher amplification rate after program launch
higher social media reach thanks to Amplify
What they did
Searchmetrics was already using an internal ambassador program to deliver content via the organization’s official social media channels. The new program went one step further, incentivizing all employees to become ambassadors for their company.
Built on the success of an existing program
The conditions were ideal for setting up a dedicated ambassador program for all employees. Searchmetrics was seeing success with its influencer programs, and employee enthusiasm was high. The company set several goals for its new employee program, including the following:
- Promote brand credibility and awareness
- Demonstrate thought leadership through internal influencers
- Build brand affinity among employees
- Expand social selling
Selected a mobile solution to empower employee ambassadors
The Searchmetrics global communications team set out to implement a mobile solution that made sharing social media posts simple, safe, reliable, and measurable for everyone involved.
Searchmetrics communicates primarily in German and English, and also in French, Italian, and Turkish. Requirements included cross-channel reporting, robust analytics, and options for internationalizing across geographies and languages. The solution was designed to automate routine operations and integrate with existing solutions such as Marketo, Zendesk, OneDrive, and SugarCRM.
After several tests, Searchmetrics identified Hootsuite Amplify as the platform best suited to meet its extensive program requirements.
An ambitious ambassador program like ours demands technology that’s dependable. Amplify meets all our requirements and it’s also outstandingly user-friendly. That encourages participation.
How they did it
Planning for the new employee incentive program was led by the Searchmetrics global social media team. Employee adoption got top priority, with employees invited to participate from the earliest stages of development. Involving important departments in the preparation phase of the project proved to be a decisive factor in the program’s success.
Ensured adoption with executive sponsorship and participation
Programs like this are typically proposed by the social media team. At Searchmetrics, however, the program was closely backed by the executive board, whose members personally accompanied the program’s introduction within the organisation.
CTO and founder Marcus Tober, together with Vice President of Human Resources Britta Mühlenberg, actively participated in the program to promote internal acceptance right from the start. Searchmetrics also launched an executive blogging program to share content on LinkedIn about C-level topics such as innovation.
Promoted participation with attractive incentives, internal competition, and legal safeguards
At Searchmetrics, a healthy focus on internal competition has long been part of company culture. As incentives for participation in the program, Searchmetrics offered prizes for teams and individuals who shared the most content.
A weekly leaderboard also encouraged friendly competition among participating employees and promoted long-term engagement with the program.
From the beginning, the legal department ensured that potential issues such as the protection of personal data were identified and addressed. Concerns about the publication of corporate content on people’s private accounts were addressed in a Q&A. For example, the performance of an employee account may only be measured with that employee’s consent, and the corresponding feature in Amplify can be deactivated.
Ensured program success with detailed launch planning and onboarding
With a small team managing a complex multi-channel publishing strategy and engaging with a global audience, the Museum In preparation for launch, the team created a comprehensive onboarding program with resources including a how-to manual, live intro sessions, in-team information sharing, and employee personas.
To illustrate the wider benefits to employees, the team prepared and shared an internal case study that measured the specific, real-world advantages one employee had seen from participating in the program. The case study shared compelling results: profile visits increased 57 percent, social interaction rate increased, and the employee’s social index, published in the LinkedIn Sales Navigator, rose from 63 to 87 in just four weeks.
This “boost your own brand” increased motivation for employees to get involved, encouraging participants to position themselves as thought leaders and specialists to boost their personal branding in their professional field.
Used cross-departmental coordination to ensure a smooth rollout
After the team decided to invite all employees, focus quickly shifted to the process of fine-tuning preparations and finding solutions for foreseeable challenges. Once again, cross-department cooperation proved decisive in creating solutions for the challenges that arose during rollout.
To ensure seamless and efficient program adoption, the human resources team consulted on onboarding and offboarding processes, which were integrated into the program. To mitigate data protection risks early on, the legal team anticipated privacy issues, discussed concerns with stakeholders, and developed a Q&A for employees.
When it came to developing topics and planning channel content, complex requirements introduced new challenges. For example, the team learned early on that German-speaking users want to see English content, while English-speaking users typically did not choose to access German-language content. After a pilot phase, the team used a questionnaire to clarify program users’ preferences and refine content strategy for the project based on responses.
If you want to activate your employees as brand ambassadors, you should first win the enthusiasm and approval of the company’s C-suite. At Searchmetrics, this approach has really paid off, because the opinion of our executives carries a lot of weight with our employees.
The program achieved its primary goal of ensuring the best possible levels of employee adoption. Today, 42 percent of all Searchmetrics employees use Amplify to share approved content and engage on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube—and the number continues to rise.
The success of the employee incentive program has also had a measurable impact on other business areas:
- Amplification of company content—a key performance indicator for the program—surged by 45 percent.
- Employee content sharing increased the company’s social reach by 20 percent, unlocking potential savings in the paid social budget
- Blog traffic grew by 10 percent, including from external media that picked up content employees had shared.
- With more employees engaged on social, support response times plummeted from four hours to just four minutes.
- Customers’ adoption of new features increased due to communication by ambassadors from within the company.
After a successful first year, Searchmetrics plans to further refine its employee incentive program, bringing in external cooperation partners and further integrating Amplify in onboarding and goal setting.
With newly engaged employees and measurable results, the Searchmetrics advocacy program is a shining example of how companies can succeed with employee advocacy.
Ambassadors from within the company ensure a sustained increase in reach—that’s a real success strategy for us, particularly in light of the reductions in organic reach for corporate pages on Facebook.