Why Employee Advocacy? Why Now?
It’s that time of the year again. Marketers are busy making predictions for next year’s trends.
As I’ve scrolled through the listicles of predictions, I’ve noticed that marketers are keen on the concept of employee advocacy. Many believe that more and more organizations will empower their employees to become brand ambassadors. That is, they will incorporate their workforce – not just their marketing team members – into their social media marketing.
But what’s all this fuss about creating advocates? Why should companies to encourage all their employees to use social media? Let’s take a look at some of the facts…
Why You Need Employee Advocacy
1. It amplifies your marketing reach.
At the beginning of 2014, Facebook announced changes to its algorithms. By March, company pages were watching their organic reach plummet by roughly 50%.
As you look at this telling chart, remember that you’re looking at data for brand pages. Individuals still have the upper hand on social media, meaning that your employees can continue to share entertaining and educational content on social media sites without seeing a dip in their reach.
In fact, employee ambassadors can amplify a company’s reach significantly. They can reach an audience that is 10 times larger than what your brand is reaching through its social channels.
Needless to say, that’s a lot of reach, and that’s a good thing. The more people seeing your company’s messages, the more potential buyers there are.
And to boot, all that amplified reach is coming from trusted people. To put it differently, your brand’s messages are coming from flesh and blood human beings who influence purchasing decisions – not just some corporate entity.
In other words, amplifying your reach through advocacy is not just about quantity. It’s about quality, as well, which brings me to the next point…
2. It builds trust and brand equity.
Let’s face it. Companies, institutions, and organizations are not what they once were. They do little to garner the trust of the public. But do you know who buyers do trust? Their friends and acquaintances. 90% of people trust recommendations from people they actually know.
So, if your employees are speaking highly of your products and services, their friends and colleagues will take note, and they will trust your company. In turn, your workers’ friends and colleagues will be more likely to buy from your company.
As we look ahead to the future, the power of employee advocates will only continue to grow. Why? Because trust in employees continues to grow. Between 2009 and 2014, trust in everyday employees catapulted upwards by 20 percentage points – from 32% to 52%.
Think about it this way: Which piques your curiosity more – hearing about a product or service from a company or hearing about it from a friend? Personally, I’m more likely to buy something if a friend or family member sings its praises.
3. It increases employee engagement in the workplace.
Brace yourselves. This statistic is a bit of a doozie.
Only 13% of employees are engaged in the workplace. That’s it! The majority of workers are unhappy in their work environment, and they sleepwalk throughout their days, doing the bare minimum at work.
But there’s a silver lining in this statistic. Employees who are active on social media are more likely to be productive in the workplace. Your colleagues who are tweeting, posting, and pinning outperform those who aren’t. They close more deals, and they are generally more creative and collaborative.
So, if you want a happy, productive workplace, you should encourage your employees to use social media. Heck, while they are on social media, why don’t they share some good news about your company? And why not create an ambassadorship program?
4. It tears down silos and builds transparency within an organization.
In many companies, the marketing team is disconnected from the rest of the company. Sales, services, and engineering have little idea about what your marketing team is doing.
They don’t know when your company is in the news. They don’t know when your company creates a cool new quiz. Some may not even know that marketing exists.
These silos can produce resentment and apathy in an organization. And that resentment and apathy can fester, making it difficult for employees to know what’s going on with your company and to feel proud of your company.
By starting an advocacy program, you can build a more transparent and open culture. You can share the latest news with your colleagues, and you can keep people informed of the latest marketing efforts. Strong internal communication is something that engaged employee activists value:
The Aberdeen Group has studied the marketing and sales alignment. Organizations with good sales-marketing alignment grow their revenue by 20% every year.
How do the best-in-class organizations do it? They break down silos by using content.
In best-in-class organizations, marketing creates a centralized content library, a place where employees can access the latest assets and marketing messages. That way, ambassadors can share those assets and messages where appropriate. In so doing, they can feel like a trusted part of the team, and they can amplify your brand’s reach.
5. It recognizes your employees’ efforts and encourages them to keep being awesome.
Did you know that 50% of employees post messages, pictures, or video on social media about their employers? Perhaps it’s time to capitalize on what your employees are already doing on social media by recognizing their efforts.
With a good advocacy platform, you can track the performance of your employees. You can see who is sharing thought leadership pieces and your company’s content, and you can reward them. For instance, you could start a “Social Employee of the Month” program to recognize their efforts.
When you appreciate your employees for their efforts, they will want to share even more content, and through that content, they will continue to build trust between buyers and your company.
In a year’s time…
I don’t know how many of our marketing predictions will come true. Will we care about agile marketing? Will we see increased personalization? Will marketing technology consolidate? I don’t know.
But I’m confident that employee advocacy will continue to be a big deal. As we saw above, there’s data to back it up.
So… What do you say? Are you ready to get started with brand ambassadorship? Check out how Trapit can help by requesting a demo!
Want to learn more about advocacy?
Download our newest ebook, The Rise of the Employee Marketer!