Employee Advocacy:Network structure matters more than size!
In chasing likes, followers and influencers in order to support your brand, you might have overseen to look into the actual network structures of your brand advocates. According to this report from HBR http://bit.ly/1qWTrzP, it makes good sense to start analyzing network structures!
"Betweenness centrality" & "Closeness"
Reading the report it`s very interesting to look into influencers that have "betweenness centrality" and "closeness" as opposed to only going for size of an influencers network:
“Betweenness centrality” is a person’s location between different sections of a network. A high betweenness centrality signals a strategic position. For example, consider an executive with connections throughout several industries, as opposed to a leader who is only well-connected within his own industry."
"Closeness is the average number of degrees between an individual and other members of the network; someone with one degree of separation, or more closeness, will probably wield greater influence (consider the ease of getting a favor from a friend as opposed to a friend of a friend’s mother’s cousin)."
The reports definition of the two, fits very well into the DNA of employee advocacy, as both will be highly prevalent for the majority of your employees - much more than advocates measured in size of their network.
In other words:
If you are activating your employee advocates in search of candidates for ie. and engineering position, you should activate the ones within "closeness" as chances are that they will wield greater influence than the ones with "betweenness centrality".
Or, if You Want to quickly get the word out about a new product? Get a handful of influencers with high betweenness centrality talking about it. Potential reach is greatest among these strategically-positioned influencers since their connections across various networks help them efficiently disseminate information.
How to analyze your employee advocates?
Who is within the "closeness" group - and who`s on "betweenness centrality"? Well, people can be part of both, depending on the subject matter, but you can get closer to get an idea of where your employees are by initiating employee advocacy at your company;-)