Recent studies enumerate the fact that employees are one of the most valuable marketing assets in an organization. The business reality is still they are untapped resources to market your company’s brand. It is an incredible opportunity available today for modern marketers to empower and engage your employees to boost your brand’s social reach online.
My favorite employee advocacy statistics are enlisted below which highlights the importance of employee advocacy in today’s digital world:
- 98% of employees use at least one social media site for personal use, of which 50% are already posting about their company (Source: Weber Shandwick).
- Nearly 31% of high-growth firms have a formal employee advocacy program, more than double the average of all other firms. Almost 86% of advocates in a formal program said that their involvement in social media had a positive impact on their career (Source: Hinge Research Institute and Social Media Today)
- Brand messages are re-shared 24 times more frequently when distributed by employees’ vs the brand. (Source: MSLGroup)
- Content shared by employees receives 8X more engagement than content shared by brand channels (Source: Social Media Today).
- Leads developed through employee social marketing convert 7x more frequently than other leads (Source: IBM).
Building a community of employee brand advocates seems to be a herculean task in an organization. Here are the 5 ways to turn your employees into trusted brand advocates:
1. Finding your potential employee brand advocates
As you aware, disengaged employees are always present in an organization. The onus lies with the business leaders to identify your engaged employees who exhibit the following characteristics to kick start your employee advocacy program:
- Substantial presence across Social Media channels
- Abreast with latest news and market trends within the industry
- Share company’s message in social media
- Strong interest towards company’s growth by adopting new tools and technologies
It is always advisable to run a quick survey to choose your pool of employee enthusiasts who extends their support for a success employee advocacy program implementation. The most important thing is to select employees across different lines of business (LoBs) without restricting to only Sales and Marketing teams. This will give you a ball-park estimate of your employees’ willingness to adopt employee advocacy across the entire organization.
2. Foster a culture of advocacy
Companies are looking forward to innovative employee engagement initiatives for making their employees more engaged and productive. In my opinion, employee advocacy can be considered as a key employee engagement activity within an organization. Precisely, employee engagement and employee advocacy go hand-in-hand.
The company culture plays a pivotal role in making an employee advocacy a successful program in your organization. So, develop a collaborative culture that resonates well with your potential employee brand advocates to advocate on behalf of your brand online.
3. Impart training
The employees are still untapped marketing resources in many organizations. However, employee advocacy has become a buzzword and has a strategic potential in today’s digital world. No surprise! Your employees are your biggest brand advocates who spread a positive word of mouth recommendation online.
It’s imperative you educate your employee brand advocates on your organization brand through all possible channels – Internal communication, webinars, posters, and town hall meetings, boot camp and so on.
Next step, you impart relevant training to use employee advocacy tools for advocating on behalf of your brand. Empower them with valuable and relevant content to amplify your brand messages. This, in turn, will boost the employees’ personal brand and eventually position them as an industry thought leader. It’s an incredible opportunity for both employee brand advocates and organizations in the long run.
4. Set up relevant social guidelines
It’s always better to create a social media guidelines that regulate how employees use social media for business purposes. Educate and train them on social media best practices in your respective industry. So, your employee brand advocates would be well-aware about future repercussions while amplifying your content and also advocating your brand using employee advocacy tools.
5. Build a culture of appreciation using gamification
The business leaders should capitalize on gamifying employee advocacy programs within an organization. Make it fun and more interactive! Empower and encourage your employee brand advocates through gamification techniques to spur momentum – Incentives, monetary and non-monetary rewards, contests and so on.
It is very important to build a culture of appreciation among your employee brand advocates who bring a human touch to your brand online. You can also recognize your top advocates through – Internal communication, emails, company newsletter, team or town hall meetings. So, the sky is the limit to keep them excited! Unleash the power of gamification to build an army of employee brand advocates!!
Finally, you should empower and enable your employee brand advocates with right tools and training for advocating on behalf of your brand. It is a win-win situation for both employee brand advocates and organization to build their personal and company brand online. Trust is essential for business and tap your important marketing assets (Your Employees) using a cost-effective marketing channel i.e. Employee Advocacy to boost your brand awareness online.