TORONTO, Jan. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Influitive, the advocate marketing experts, today announced that Brainshark and Extreme Networks are among the nine winners of the Forrester Groundswell Awards, which recognize forward-thinking companies that successfully use social technologies to drive business success. Both companies saw impressive returns after leveraging advocate marketing programs to generate social media word of mouth from customers and employees. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121217/NE30355LOGO ) Brainshark won the Business-to-Business: Social Reach category, which recognizes programs that deliver marketing messages to new audiences. The cloud-based business presentation solution provider used Influitive's AdvocateHub platform to build an online community and engage 450 advocates through challenges and activities that helped support branding and social media word-of-mouth activities. As a result, Brainshark more than doubled their Twitter activity through the program and increased social sharing of their content across their social channels by more than 60%. Even more impressive, Brainshark demonstrated that gains in social advocacy extended across other facets customer commitment when the number of readily available sales references and press references quadrupled. "Social advocacy and word of mouth are key components of our marketing strategy, and our program with Influitive helped us to convert satisfied customers as well as employees and partners into passionate brand advocates," said Joan Babinski, VP of Marketing at Brainshark. Extreme Networks won the Business-to-Employee: Collaboration category, which recognizes programs that target employees' use of social technology to improve collaboration. The enterprise networking and security solutions provider incorporated Influitive's AdvocateHub into a larger social strategy to encourage and incent employees to participate in social media word of mouth activities. "Our advocate marketing program helped increase employee engagement, while contributing to the success of our award-winning Sales 2.0 program," said Ben Doyle, VP of Sales Enablement at Extreme Networks. "This year we found the smartest companies are moving past 'social exceptionalism' and genuinely integrating social programs into broader marketing strategies," said Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst Nate Elliot. "Our 2013 winners used social reach marketing to create discovery and awareness; they used social depth marketing to support exploration and consideration; and they used social relationship marketing to foster post-purchase engagement – proving that social programs can support customers all the way through their life cycle." The Forrester Groundswell Awards recognize excellence in the effective use of social technologies to drive business success. The 2013 Forrester Groundswell Awards mark the introduction of new award categories, based on Forrester Research's Marketing RaDaR research. Business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) winners were awarded across four categories: Social Reach, Social Depth, Social Relationship, and Mobile.