hype-people

Your Best Advocates Are the People Who Work With You

  |  July 15, 2013   |  Comments

Brands that empower their employees to become advocates exponentially increase their reach on social by expanding their presence throughout their employees' networks.

Companies experiment with a wide variety of tactics (with an equally wide range of success) to ensure that their brand message is visible to their target audience. One such tactic is brand advocacy - organizations go to great lengths to recruit advocates who participate in and start conversations on their behalf on social media. While brand marketers acknowledge that advocacy is a powerful strategy that contributes to their positive social footprint, they often overlook their most powerful advocacy resource - their coworkers.

Employee advocates can help brands authentically expand their presence on social media, which leads to increased awareness and sales through positive recommendations. Forrester Research revealed recently that 70 percent of U.S. consumers trust brand or product recommendations from friends and family. This is reinforced by the Edelman Trust Barometer, which showcases the fact that customers trust employee recommendations more than a recommendation directly from the brand's media spokesperson.

Brands that empower their employees to become advocates exponentially increase their reach on social by expanding their presence throughout their employees' networks.

Do Employees Want to Be Brand Advocates?

An employee's personal social network is exactly that - personal. No company should mandate that its employees act as brand advocates and require them to share company content with friends and family. That said, most employees want to advocate on their company's behalf. Employees share in their company's success and advocacy is a simple way for them to contribute to that success while boosting their personal social profile.

Benefits of Employee Advocacy

  1. Increased sales. Employees sharing company messages and content with their social networks raises positive brand awareness and has been proven to increase sales and revenue. According to the recent report, "The Impact of Social Media on Sales Quota and Corporate Revenue," in 2012, 78.6 percent of sales people using social media as a sales tool outperformed their peers and exceeded quota 23 percent more often.
  2. Expert advocates. There is less risk involved in incorporating employees vs. customers into a brand advocacy strategy because employees are already experts in their company's messaging and values.
  3. Authenticity. A brand message delivered via an employee has more credibility and authenticity than messages shared from a brand social media page. A simple analysis of Edelman's Trust Barometer Influencer Message Mapping illustrates that employees are generally more trusted than passionate activists and consumers.
  4. Engaged employees. Employee advocacy programs keep employees actively engaged and invested in their company's success. These companies can sustain employee engagement by recognizing and rewarding their most active advocates. The benefits of engaged employees are widely documented by leading companies like Towers Watson, Gallup Research, Dale Carnegie, and others.

How to Start

Because employee advocacy will likely be a foreign concept to most employees, a great way to ensure the program's sustained success is to assemble a small but dedicated team of initial adopters supported by a company executive who can vouch for the effectiveness of the program. A trial period with clear results - increased traffic to the company home page or reposts and shares of branded content or new leads and sales - can be enough to demonstrate that employee advocacy is both simple to implement and effective.

It's also important to have a social media policy in place so that all content sharing is brand safe. It helps for brands to aggregate all shareable content in a single place - this can be accomplished via emails detailing shareable content or via an employee advocacy platform that streamlines the content curation and sharing process. The requisite social media training to ensure employees have a certain level of expertise using social media or an employee advocacy platform that makes sharing and compliance simple is also recommended before starting any social media activity.

This should be a no-brainer for brands - employee advocacy is a low-risk, easy-to-implement, and cost-effective solution for boosting their social presence. Advocacy gives employees an opportunity to measurably impact the success of their brand with relatively little effort on their part.

Brand marketers understand the power of social to spread their message, now they need to start partnering with their coworkers to expand their social reach and influence and authentically engage potential customers.

Image on home page via Shutterstock.

Tags:

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, August 29 to take advantage of Super Saver Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Russ Fradin

Russ Fradin is the co-founder of Dynamic Signal and a digital media industry veteran with more than 15 years' experience in the online marketing world. Russ co-founded and was CEO of Adify (acquired by Cox for $300 million in May 2008) and co-founded SocialShield. He was also SVP of BD at Wine.com, EVP of Corporate Development at comScore (NASDAQ:SCOR) and was among the first employees at Flycast (acquired by CMGi for $2.3 billion in January 2000). Russ is also an active angel investor in the digital world and is on a number of boards. Russ holds a BS in Economics from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Social newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

BigDoor: The Marketers Guide to Customer Loyalty

The Marketer's Guide to Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is imperative to success, but fostering and maintaining loyalty takes a lot of work. This guide is here to help marketers build, execute, and maintain a successful loyalty initiative.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

Resources

Jobs

    • Sales Planner
      Sales Planner (Verve ) - New YorkAbout Verve   Verve is the leader in location powered mobile advertising. We manage one of the largest mobile...
    • Systems Analyst/Support
      Systems Analyst/Support (Agora Inc. ) - BaltimoreIRIS (Increased Revenue Intuitive Software ) is proprietary software that helps marketers...
    • Client Services Support Specialist
      Client Services Support Specialist (Agora Inc. ) - Delray Beach OVERVIEW:  This position requires a highly motivated and resourceful individual...