Employee advocacy has become a buzzword in today’s digital world. The industry reports highlight that consumers only trust employees above all other marketing activities. As you aware, employees are the most untapped marketing assets of any organization. In a recent study, 64% of marketing executives consider word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective marketing channel and only 6% of them say they have mastered it (Source: Forbes).
The businesses face a lot of challenges in adopting employee advocacy tool due to few misconceptions. Here are five common myths of employee advocacy enlisted below:
Myth-1: CXO’s have little presence and less active on social media
The success of employee advocacy programs depends on active participation and encouragement from business leaders of any organization. A new initiative such as employee advocacy program should be guided from top-bottom to start with. However, the reality is many business leaders have their presence on social media but don’t find time to participate. To overcome this challenge, set up a social media boot camp for CXO’s and empower them with requisite skill sets to drive this kind of innovative programs within your organization. Moreover, choose the early adopters and encourage them to do reverse mentoring for CXO’s to bring them up-to-speed to run this program successfully. In the meantime, never forget to tap your middle managers to drive it during your initial launch.
Myth-2: Employees think it’s only sales and marketing job
According to Weber Shandwick study, 50% of employees post messages, pictures or videos on social media about their employer. It’s clearly evident that employees are already advocating about their employers and brand on social media. Moreover, many employees feel that they are not responsible for advocating, unlike Marketing and Sales employees. In my opinion, every employee is a social marketer in today’s digital world. Hence the onus lies with the entire workforce to amplify brand content and advocate on behalf of their employers. It’s no more a marketing or sales game. Tap every employee across a different line of business – be it sales, marketing, operations, corporate communication, internal communication, human resources, product management in your organization and aid them to become your trusted brand advocates in future!
Myth-3: It’s not relevant to my business
Most organizations think that employee advocacy doesn’t work for them. As you aware, word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective form of marketing. With an advent of social media technologies, trust plays an important role in purchasing decisions of buyers. 84% of consumers value recommendations from friends and family above all forms of advertising (Source: Nielsen Research). Your employees are the most untapped marketing assets. Go ahead and nurture them to become your trusted brand advocates. Not only big companies are reaping benefits but also small and medium companies are benefitting by adopting employee advocacy program. No doubt, it works for all organization – be it a start-up, small, medium or large.
Myth-4: No way to measure the return-on-investment (ROI)
Every marketing program needs to be tracked and measured. Similarly, employee advocacy programs can be tied with business goals to measure a final ROI. According to Cisco research, a 12% increase in brand advocacy generates a 2x increase in revenue growth. Advocacy marketing, like any other form of marketing, requires key business goals to drive real business outcomes. The business goals include – increase lead generation, brand awareness, web traffic and revenue streams. To overcome this challenge, many employee advocacy tools have built-in analytics engine as part of their features to measure ROI in the form of earned media. It gives you an option to integrate with Google Analytics or other business apps to build a dashboard of real business outcomes.
Myth-5: Don’t have a right talent to keep up with an ‘Always-on’ content engine
Content plays a pivotal role in amplifying your social brand reach online using employee advocacy tools. Many businesses struggle to develop relevant, contextual and informative content to employee brand advocates who in turn amplify messages through their personal social channels. To overcome this challenge, empower your employees to become content marketers, tap your executives for content and rely on third-party industry bloggers and websites to keep ’always-on’ content engine for your businesses. Impart training to your employees to repurpose existing content in different forms to delight your customers in all possible ways.
In summation, employee advocacy programs are becoming an integral part of marketing strategies in today’s hyper-connected world. It’s better to set your business goals before starting employee advocacy program to drive engagement and measure ROI. Cisco research highlights that employees have 10x more followers than corporate social accounts. Trust me; employees are your trusted social marketers who can act as an online trump card to build your social brand reach.