While digital marketing elements like video content and influencer marketing are getting a lot of buzz these days, ultimately, building trust remains a crucial element for brands to elicit the engagement they aspire for. This is why tapping micro-influencers, with their smaller number of followers but higher rates of engagement are on the rise. But another concept has seen an astonishing rise in recent years, and they’re already working for you. Yes, it’s been found that employee advocacy has grown by as much as 191 percent, making them one of the company’s most valuable assets.
The power of brand advocates
Perhaps the real power of brand advocates lies in that they are more than just loyal customers.
Brand advocates identify with the values of their favorite brands, while also considering their buying choices part of their identities.
As such, brand advocates are inherently active in spreading the word about their preferred brands to their own social circle – be it through the information they spread, recommendations, or reviews. With people being more connected through social media more than ever, having loyal brand advocates is a huge boost to a company’s marketing efforts.
Benefits of employee advocacy
As mentioned, employees are, perhaps, a company’s greatest asset, particularly when it comes to advocating for your brand. Below are just some of the benefits of encouraging employee advocacy:
According to a study by the MSL Group, employee advocacy can increase a brand’s social media reach by 561 percent. While that figure is astounding by itself, it becomes even more crucial when you consider that due to the increased activity, social networks have reduced the organic reach of brand content.
Access to untapped markets
A Cisco study suggests that 92 percent of an employee’s Twitter following is new to their employer’s brand. Thus, if you have an engaged employee that interacts directly with customers on a regular basis, you automatically gain access to an untapped market.
Again, ultimately, this is what it all boils down to. 90 percent of consumers say they trust recommendations from friends and acquaintances. Alternatively, a study from research firm Gartner found that only 15 percent of the respondents said they trust posts made by companies on social networking sites.
How to go about it
Foster the culture
While it’s an exciting prospect to discover the potential marketing benefits of having employee advocates, not all companies can jump directly into an employee advocacy program.
For some, a sense of community needs to be built first. Team building activities, and social events are excellent ways for employees to feel that they’re a part of something exciting – and ultimately, something worth sharing.
Whether it’s monetary or non-monetary rewards incentivizing employee advocacy is a great way to engage your staff. By
By gamifying the reward system, you can make it more fun, interactive, and ultimately, more engaging for your employees.
Identify potential employee advocates
Not all employees are suited to be advocates. Ideally, those who are fit to be employee advocates have:
- Significant presence on social media
- Well-versed in the latest developments and trends in the industry
- Have a strong affinity and interest in the company, and its growth
While you want the content shared by your employee advocates to be as authentic as can be, there is a certain amount of training required. Traning ensures that the way employee advocates portray the company is in line with goals and objectives.
There a number of social sharing tools that can further enhance the reach and effectiveness of your employee advocates’ shared content. Making sure they’re well-versed in using such tools will lead to a better employee advocacy program.
Have a plan
Like all marketing programs, having a clear strategic plan in place is a must for employee advocacy programs.
Having consistent brand messaging, providing shareable content, and putting in place the necessary tools are just some of the requisite structure your employee advocacy program needs to have.
After launching your employee advocates, always make sure to check up on how your campaign is fairing. Include your objectives and KPIs (key performance indicators) in the planning stage and keep track of them. According to Shopify, having weekly check-ups is a best practice for any marketing campaign. Be sure to place extra focus on the bottlenecks.
It’s been established above that your employees can be your most valuable asset, particularly when it comes to marketing. And as such, it is vital that you are able to build a culture that they can be excited and proud of. This nurtures a natural inclination to share their experiences, loyalty, and eventually, brand advocacy.
It starts from within; empower your people and they will empower your brand!
Jolina Landicho is a marketing strategist working with various brands online. She is devoted in helping businesses bridge relationship gaps by providing in-depth, actionable advice on online marketing, business development, and growth hacking.