Word-of-mouth marketing is not new, but companies are putting a new spin on it to elevate their brand in ways that help marketing, sales, and recruiting.
What's the spin? Instead of customers, employees are the ones spreading word to their personal social networks through employee advocacy programs. Those networks have built-in trust and authority that a brand page would have to work harder (and spend more) to achieve.
To raise awareness and reach new audiences, employees spread the word about their company, including job openings, company culture, and company events.
If the idea sounds intriguing to you, it should, because employees have real power:
- Brand messages reach 561% further and are re-shared 24 times more frequently when shared by employees vs. the brand. (Source: MSL Group)
- Job applicants from employee referrals are hired 55% faster than average; referral hires constitute 40% of all hires; and 46% of referral-hired employees will stay longer than three years. (Source: Jobvite)
- Some 55% of people trust information shared by employees of a company on social media, content sharing sites, and online-online information sources. That's up 9 percentage points in 2016—up from 46% in 2015. (Source: 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer)
However, you can't simply whip up an employee advocacy program and expect it to be successful. You will need planning, buy-in, great content, and empathy to create a program that is habit-forming and rewarding both to the employees and to the company.
Download my MarketingProfs presentation on the 7 steps to successfully launch your employee advocacy program—free to MarketingProfs PRO Members, and only $10 otherwise. You'll learn how to define success, create a content strategy, and get the right people involved from the start so your program can grow. Get the Take 10 materials here.
It's no secret that any campaign or initiative that begins with a clearly defined goal is executed more successfully than fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants counterparts. Your employee advocacy program is no different.
Stephan Hovnanian is a content solutions architect at Bambu, an advocacy platform by Sprout Social. He has spent most of his professional career as an email marketer and business owner focused on helping companies build stronger relationships with their audiences.
LinkedIn: Stephan Hovnanian