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We know the benefits of enabling all employees to use social media. Sales, service and just seeming human becomes a lot easier. Giving employees this freedom is easy in some organisations, generally small ones with a well-trained staff.

There are, however, inherent risks. If an employee goes rogue and damages your brand, it can be difficult to react quickly and avert loss of sales or sentiment.

It can also be difficult to easily track the impact of your employees' activity, and provide them with the best content to spread.

Addvocate is a platform designed to get rid of this tension, by offering guidance, daily messages and alerts, as well as analytics and optimisation.

We spoke to CEO and Founder Marcus Nelson…

What does Addvocate do?

Addvocate personalizes the brand experience by enabling all employees to engage with customers. We help companies develop daily messages, distribute them to employees who opt-in, and ensure that only authorized users have access to companies’ branded Tweets and Facebook pages.

We also help companies draft social media guidelines, create daily Tweets that resonate with customers, prioritize content, define a clear escalation path to experts — and notify employees when customers need their help.

In one sentence, what is your product/service?

Addvocate provides the technology, the expertise and the guidance to help businesses magnify employees’ social voices to increase sales, inform customers, and enhance the reputation of their brand, their company and their products. 

What problem(s) does it solve?

Companies fear that employees could unwittingly reveal or say the wrong things on their personal social media channels, so we make it easy to suggest consistent and approved content to your workforce.

What are your immediate goals? 

Our most immediate goal is to show businesses the very real ROI they can achieve when they recognize that their employees are their greatest brand advocates.

As part of that goal, we help companies understand that there’s a methodology and a set of best practices that encourages employees to participate, and then enables those employees to confidently and safely distribute authorized messages over their personal social networks. 

What were the biggest challenges involved in building the tech or your team?

Our biggest challenge was creating a product that was intuitively easy to use, yet feature-rich and extendable for the needs of a variety of different brands.

How will the company make money?

Our service is an Enterprise SaaS product. We charge a per-user fee for up to 100 employees, and annual site licenses for 100+ employees. 

Who is in your team?

  • Marcus Nelson, Founder/CEO and salesforce.com’s former Director of Social Media. 
  • Abraham Williams, Co-Founder developed the popular TwitterOAuth library -- the first PHP library with OAuth support. 
  • Piers Cooper, our COO comes from a Venture Capital background as well as a former VP of Global BizDev at Oracle. 
  • Quang Vinh Tran, the former Head of Design at former Apple CEO John Sculley’s, Misfit Wearables.

Where would you like to be in one, three and five years’ time?

Our one-year goal is to focus on product features that further meet the needs of enterprise customers with mobile, customization, and integrations. Today, we have quite a few Fortune 500 companies piloting our system. By this time next year, I’d like all of those pilots distributed and used throughout the enterprises.

In three years we will have a matured API and suite of tools that expand on the premise of employee-centric products. By then, I’d want us to be the recognized leader in brand advocacy platforms. As part of that leadership, I’d love to see complementary SaaS services working with us to extend our capabilities. After all, that’s the beauty of a SaaS economy. 

Five years from now? The way technology moves, I might as well predict space travel or the discovery of nuclear fusion. Of course, I’d *like* Addvocate to be a billion dollar company, but I don’t think I’m ready to predict that just yet. 

Other than your own, what are your favorite websites / apps / tools?

Path, Pagely, Tweetbot, RelateIG, Pardot, and RivalIQ.

Ben Davis

Published 19 August, 2013 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is a senior writer at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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