There are always a million things going on in a company, so it's hard to think about adding one more program into the mix. But an employee advocacy program can greatly enhance your marketing efforts - so start one now!
The employee advocacy secret is no longer much of a secret. Smart brands have done their research, realized the potential of employee advocates to boost marketing, and they have their advocacy programs up and running.
For those who are still in the consideration phase, it can be hard to make the decision to go from "thinking about it" to "ready to launch." There are always a million things going on, so it's hard to think about adding one more program into the mix.
However, the key thing to remember is that while it can be hard to implement any new program, an employee advocacy program will enhance your marketing efforts. So a time when you have a major marketing event happening is actually a great reason to launch a pilot advocacy program. But what specific marketing campaigns are good reasons for you to get your advocacy program up and running?
Reason #1: Corporate Event
If you have a big event, like a conference, driving attendance is crucial. You don't want to waste the investment, and you want to maximize the success of the event. Marketing needs to pull their weight and work to bring in registrations through typical channels but if you really want to ramp up the number of attendees, this is the perfect time to pilot an employee advocacy program.
You'll be able to easily measure the success of the advocacy program, by seeing exactly how many registrations advocates brought in, compared to other marketing channels. Not only will you be able to track and measure the program in relation to a specific activity, but you can also expect those results to be equivalent to, if not better than, the results of your corporate marketing activities.
By arming your employees with the content they need to promote themselves and the event, they'll be able to get people excited in a way that receiving typical marketing promotions won't. Our customer data shows that brands can see their employee advocates outperform corporate channels, which has resulted in more registrations for events.
Reason #2: Product Launch
Some companies have focused on aligning their employee advocacy program with product launches. Your marketing/PR team should still manage the announcement and promotion, but having your employees advocate is a great way to increase the reach of your launch announcement.
Intel has had great success in including employee advocates in their product launches. Their ambassadors have become such a key part of launches that they believe that the company doesn't launch products, their employees do.
Reason #3: Any Major Marketing Campaign
If your marketing team has a big upcoming campaign, whether it's a webinar or releasing a significant piece of long-form content, it's the ideal time to introduce an employee advocacy program.
You've probably done similar campaigns in the past. So any of these lead-generating activities will give you the perfect testing ground to see how an employee advocacy program can amplify your marketing efforts.
But why would you want to test out an employee advocacy program alongside one of these initiatives? Having employee advocates allows you to augment your existing marketing activities, with no extra effort. And since advocates can generate as much engagement as corporate channels, adding an employee advocacy program alongside your existing marketing program will double the effectiveness of your marketing. Just give your employees existing social content to share, and they'll amplify it. All you have to do is provide the content, but it doesn't have to be specifically created for the advocates. You likely have lots of content that your marketing team has created that employees would enthusiastically share.
If you've considered starting an employee advocacy program but are waiting for a less busy time, don't wait. Line it up with a planned campaign to amplify the marketing effort your team puts in and then track, measure, and compare those results to previous campaigns. You'll find that your employees are your greatest marketing asset.
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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.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014