Find out what employee advocacy is and how it can help shape your brand. We look at the benefits from a company's perspective and from being an advocate too.
Word of mouth marketing has been around since business began and it has been a prominent tool for brands ever since, in one way or another. In 2007 the launch of truly social media would change word of mouth marketing completely, even if we didn’t quite know how at the time. In short, it has brought us all closer together as part of the online community. This includes bringing companies closer to their customers and their target audience.
The latest phase in its evolution has been the rise of Employee Advocacy and, to a more defined extent, Social Selling. Employee advocacy can be simply explained as, the movement of employees amplifying their companies’ brands by sharing their marketing content, with their own social networks.
Employee advocacy helps companies amplify their online presence and therefore squeeze much more value from content, which is the cornerstone for most brand’s marketing efforts (and therefore the most-costly). Research from MSL Group found that employees’ personal social reach will outweigh that of their companies own accounts tenfold when combined.
According to Nieslen, 77% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company when they hear about it from someone they trust (ie, a friend or a family member). Furthermore, brand messages are re-shared 24x more frequently when distributed by employees vs brand (MLS Group).
OK so we may have overloaded you with stats there. But hopefully, they've given you the insight you need to realise that there's a lot of social potential in your offices. Your employees should really be sharing your content if you want to appreciate its true value in this age of hyper-content consumption.
We conducted our own research when creating our guide ‘The Power of Social Selling’. That research uncovered four key barriers to sharing; risk, motivation, relevance, and accessibility. We were able to draw several conclusions. The most important of all was this that for advocacy to work, your business needs to create an environment that empowers and rewards employees to share.
In terms of getting your own advocacy program off the ground, you need to consider the following ingredients:
Training - to bring all of your employees up to speed with the necessary social media skills for advocacy.
Encouragement - to let them know that the company does want them to share approved content with their own networks.
Empowerment - by creating the framework of an advocacy program and utilising the right platform to support it.
Reward - to keep your advocates motivated and reciprocate the value that they are adding to your brand.
Our own research has shown that a successful advocacy program can deliver exceptional ROI compared to paid advertising (which is fast becoming an expensive and saturated market). In a recent observation of one of our own clients. We found that each user generated on average 750 unique content clicks per year. Compared to traditional online media spend, this represents a value of $4,027 per employee!
We looked out how companies can reward their advocates through a well-planned advocacy program. That’s a good place to jump over to life on the side, of life as an advocate and how it can benefit you. The most positive conclusion we can draw is that if a company seriously buys into advocacy then everyone wins.
Statistical research and our own experience has taught us so far that successful advocates will:
- Expand their social network
- Acquire new skills that are in high demand
- Gain leverage for future career prospects
- Build their own personal brand as experts in their field
If you'd like to learn more about employee advocacy and how social media can help your company build its online presence, then click the link below to download our guide on the power of social selling.