When we first covered Denmark-based Echo.it, we were bullish on the basic premise of their service, but we wondered how its end users – lower level employees – would respond to it. There are plenty of corporate social networks out there, but Echo.it bangs its drum to a slightly different philosophy. Through Echo.it, employees essentially e-brag about the actions they preform that match up with their corporation’s operational philosophy.
For example, if a company is looking for examples of of dedication, they could allow employees to post examples of how they’ve embodied this quality. Or for more concrete actions, a company could ask teams to post examples of cross-selling they’ve used on the job. After they’ve posted it, other users can see and like these actions, providing sort of a social hook to preform these actions, promoting a stronger work culture and turning values and goals into actions.
As positive as this sounds for employers we were worried this might come across as a little forced to employees, so we were interested to hear what the response has been. On top of a huge 73% activity rate across its 20,000 users, CEO Stefan Madsen points that looking at sentiment analysis on the platform, 92% of the content produced through the platform has been positive, which is perhaps what you might not expect from a business-focused social network.
Additionally from their surveys they’ve found that employees like it as a way to see that their efforts are part of something bigger. This resonates especially with remote employees and other workers who might not feel a connection to the larger organization.
Echo.it’s adds some gamification elements, like allowing users to win badges by embracing actions that the company wants its employees to echo. But Madsen says that gamification isn’t something you can just slap on and users will naturally become hooked to without any added effort. Instead what really matters is if a company is wholeheartedly embracing the platform.
This corporate social network has grown to 20,000 current users, with a strong 73% activity rate. “That’s the [metric] we’re most proud of,” says Madsen. Right now they have several large clients using their service, and are expanding internationally from a desk at Founders’ House in Copenhagen. Soon they’re starting with their first client in Australia, and also launching with a big german company in Africa on top of their clients in Europe and South America.
When selling a social app like this to corporate clients, Madsen has found that it’s tough to have a structured approach to how they present the product, as the sales process varies a lot depending on how technically inclined the client is. Despite how our readers might talk to each other, Madsen points out that occasionally if you talk about an ‘app’ to someone, then it means that it’s an app in the app store, and not a web app, for example.
“Sometimes there has also been a lot of wait and see,” says Madsen. “[Companies] want to use social media but don’t know how to use social media.
“Then you have Yammer which is trying to make people believe that social software is adding a ‘like button’ somewhere. Social software is sort of like looking at the bar and seeing people having fun. It’s not about building the bar, its about getting people to go there.”