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How Sodexo leads its industry with social advocacy

Looking to tap into the power of social advocacy, Sodexo turned to Hootsuite to develop a strategy that would unify its employee voices and create new opportunities to build positive, valuable connections with its clients and communities.

Sodexo is a global food services and facilities management company headquartered in Paris, France. It is one of the world's largest multinational corporations, with 420,000 employees and a presence in 64 countries. Serving 100 million customers a day worldwide, Sodexo is third in its sector on Fortune Magazine's 2021 list of the world's most admired companies.

Strengthening relationships through social strategy

Sodexo wasn’t telling a consistent story across its social media channels and driving business results in a clear, measurable way. With this in mind, the company commissioned a social media audit to understand its current social presence, the impact of social on the business, and how best to move forward in building a strategy to support business growth. Looking to make advocacy a pillar of its new social strategy, Sodexo partnered with Hootsuite to implement an advocacy program that would support its growth goals.

  • 2x
    growth in number of new followers per month on LinkedIn
  • 7.6M
    people reached with thought leadership content
  • 30%
    of social media traffic coming from employee posts

Putting advocacy at the heart of communications

Social media at Sodexo sits within the global communications team, which is responsible for both external thought leadership as well as employee engagement on social media. Starting with the recommendations it received from its social media audit, the team focused its strategy around building the presence of Sodexo’s executive leaders on social media through an executive advocacy program. The team narrowed in on social advocacy as a key opportunity to meet its business objectives—starting with senior leaders and executives.

Reaching a broader C-suite audience with executive advocacy

Analysis of Sodexo’s LinkedIn audiences revealed that the company had a small proportion of C-suite followers. To build its reach with executive audiences and drive greater business impact, Sodexo decided to develop an employee advocacy program designed around the company’s own senior leaders and executives.

Sodexo worked with Hootsuite’s Professional Services team to design and deploy its advocacy strategy using Hootsuite Amplify. The team onboarded employees in a multi-phased approach. After expanding the program to a thousand senior leaders, Sodexo found that its global content was reaching 7.6 million people with senior leaders’ content, attracting 2.3x as many views as content on Sodexo’s corporate LinkedIn page had received with 700,000 followers.

Using employee advocacy to support large, complex deals

With Sodexo’s business sometimes centering on large and complex deals, the communications team decided to build stakeholder outreach into the core of their social strategy. Using Hootsuite, they ran a highly targeted social campaign aimed at reaching C-level executives at a single organization with social posts to demonstrate its significant and positive impact on the communities it serves. The campaign reached the right people and played a significant role in winning the high-value contract.

Focusing on employee success to drive measurable results

The team at Sodexo saw Hootsuite Amplify not only as a key way to share content externally and drive business impact, but also to engage and inform employees with corporate news and updates.As Sodexo rolls out its advocacy program to more employees, it has continued to work with Hootsuite to develop training materials that support advocates to ensure their success. The company’s investment in training and supporting employee advocates has paid off, with employees expanding their social reach in a virtuous cycle that drives more traffic to Sodexo’s website. Advocacy content posted via Hootsuite Amplify has become the second-highest source of traffic from social campaigns, driving 30% of all website traffic.

Companies will often decide to go with the millennial, digital-savvy employees when launching advocacy programs, but we specifically decided to go with senior executives because reaching the C-suite is so important for us in influencing key decision makers.
Kim Beddard-Fontaine
SVP Digital & Employee Communications

Looking ahead

By bringing multiple stakeholders from across the company to the center of its social media strategy, Sodexo’s employee advocacy program has created a cultural shift within the organization. With a social strategy designed to amplify both executive thought leadership and employee engagement, Sodexo continues to break down the walls between internal and external to reach the right audiences and drive business impact.

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