How ANSYS Empowered Employees to Build Their Professional Brands

May 11, 2017

Building a professional brand

At ANSYS, we serve a pretty specific audience: engineers who use our simulation software to create and build everything from cars to airplanes to mobile phones. To raise awareness of ANSYS products, we supply our employees with a variety of thought leadership content, as well as as articles from our ANSYS Advantage magazine and posts from our blog.

To get broader reach for this content, we realized that we needed to do more than simply ask salespeople to share it. In addition, we wanted to give employees in other departments the opportunity to build their professional brands. To do so we needed to make employee advocacy second nature.

Training employees on the value of social sharing

When I joined ANSYS in 2011, my goal was to build a social presence for the company. While some employees, such as sales people, were adept at social sharing, it didn’t come naturally to everyone. Employee advocacy seemed like a good path to improve people’s social media skills, in a way that benefited them and the company. We knew people were proud to work at ANSYS and wanted to share that feeling – but on the other hand, we understood that employees didn’t want to simply churn out company-related content all day long.

To get the ball rolling with employee advocacy, we visited various offices for in-person talks about the basics of building a professional brand. Meeting employees face to face hammered home our message better than webinars or simply emailing instructions. Office visits allowed people to ask questions about getting started with employee advocacy and get over their concerns about social sharing. (It didn’t hurt that we served pizza). We also asked a top executive to sponsor employee advocacy. Just having the name associated with a new employee advocacy program lent credibility across the company.

Curating a broad range of content

We had to line up content that served the needs of all employees, not just sales. It didn’t make sense for someone in accounting to share content about fluid dynamics, for example. We established curators for various departments to ensure we’d have a mix of content on topics like products, industry trends, and company culture. We chose LinkedIn Elevate as our employee advocacy platform so we could track how well we were reaching our target audiences. We watched engagement activity closely; if we saw that we weren’t reaching engineers in key industries, we would retool our content strategy on the fly to improve results.

As a general rule, the engineering community does not create or engage in a lot of activity on social networks, but we could tell through the clicks and comments on our shared content that they were paying attention. We could use analytics about engagement to prove the value of employee advocacy. These proof points guide the development of marketing campaigns that we fine-tune to the engineering community’s needs, driving more views of our LinkedIn Company page and website.

Getting results

We see that employees are taking the benefits of employee advocacy to heart. Since we launched our program employees have been sharing content 4X as often as they did previously. As a result of this increased sharing, their LinkedIn Social Selling Index scores have gone up by 10%.

As we’ve boosted our social presence, we’ve also built a larger audience for ANSYS. People trust other people more than they trust brands, and our employees have become a trusted channel.

LinkedIn Elevate is the smarter employee advocacy solution that leverages LinkedIn data to maximize program success. Learn more about LinkedIn Elevate.