Employee advocacy is the process of using employees to generate exposure for your brand using their own online networks & connections.
In this article I’m going to show you three practical ways to rock employee advocacy in your digital marketing strategy and how you can get your team onboard.
According to a recent study, word-of-mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising, and these customers have a 37% higher retention rate. So how does this relate to employee advocacy? Remember this equation…
Influence = Audience Reach (# of followers) x Brand Affinity (expertise and credibility) x Strength of Relationship with Followers
Take a look at your workforce and evaluate how many potential influencers you have at your disposal. Perhaps one of your IT guys has a big tech following on Twitter or perhaps your CEO is a Linkedin Pulse influencer. If so, it’s time to utilize them.
If you identify one then you can look at ways in which you can help them to push the relevant elements of your brand. If your IT guy is an influencer, he can blog about the technology behind your latest product. He may even find himself approached for interviews and opinions to become the next tech thought leader like Rocket Internet’s Oliver Samwer. Remember that this could also help his profile if you support him in the right way.
ACTION– Ask your employees to connect with you via social media so you can see if they are potential influencers. Start providing them with marketing materials to share on their networks and analyze the results.
BENEFITS– Added exposure for your brand and added industry influencer status for your advocate.
Social proof is a psychologically proven method employed by digital marketers whereby we use the actions of a group to persuade others. In other words, if you see that all your friends liked a page on Facebook you will probably like it too. Matt Carpenter of Ship Your Enemies Glitter says to conversionxl:
“As someone who is constantly building and testing landing pages, I always include some form of social proof on them, whether it’s product reviews, testimonials, or even social media share buttons; it’s a no brainer for me.”
So why not ask employees to like and share your posts with friends? Ask a select few to write product reviews or recommendations to be published on industry sites. One way to showcase the independent reviews and testimonials you have gathered around the world wide web is to collate them on your own website. One such plugin which can help you do this is the popular WordPress plugin Kudobuzz.
Kudobuzz which gathers and attributes social reviews to your website testimonial section. This means that any employee reviews and comments can be featured and this in turn can increase conversion by 30%.
ACTION– Remember that you can’t force employees to take part in social sharing but you can incentivize them to do so. How about a box of chocolates every week for the one who shares the most? Trust me … it works … folks love candy!
BENEFITS- Instant amplification of your social message plus the added clout of social proof. I find that the sales team is usually most excited about this because it can actually impact on the business they receive and in turn the commission they earn!
With 52% of marketers believing that video is most effective for lead generation, brand awareness and engagement it’s time to embrace the concept if you haven’t already. But how can you use employee advocacy in video marketing? Swedish retailer H&M recently ran a recruiting campaign “Place of Possible” featuring 50 H&M employees. I love the raw honesty of this video and so did hundreds of thousands more.
Given that brands are often seen as unapproachable and corporate, your employees can help you to portray values such as empathy, humour and understanding.
ACTION- Think about all the potential video projects in your organization which could feature employees. Recruitment drives, product tutorials, news updates and fun seasonal videos.
BENEFIT- Your employees get to star in a cool, non-corporate video and you get to show your human side. Everyone’s a winner!
Remember that employee advocacy is built on mutual trust and your employees should never feel bullied into participating or exploited in doing so. Build solid employee advocacy relationships in a fun and supportive environment and then sit back and reap the benefits.
You can read my AgoraPulse article Employee advocacy on Social Media: everything you need to know to get started for more information on implementing employee advocacy in your business.