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Why Social Media Marketers and Brand Managers Should Care About Employee Advocacy

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Both social media marketers and brand managers are asking themselves the same question: How can they make their brand's story stand out in today's noisy, always-on, social world?
 
Let's face it... Not every ad campaign goes viral, and not every social media post reaches the target audience. But that fact can change. What has lately been called an unsolvable problem by marketers has a relatively simple solution: employee advocacy.

The Benefits of Employee Advocacy
 
Many Fortune 1000 brands are empowering their employees to be brand advocates—in their own, original voice—on social media. Brands looking to reach new audiences as well as drive brand loyalty need only look to the people creating, building, and selling their products and services.

Employee advocates are some of the best social marketers out there.

Employees can help generate brand awareness, new engagement, and new sales. Research from Cisco shows that employees have 10X more followers than corporate social accounts. What's more, a 12% increase in brand advocacy generally generates a 2X increase in revenue growth.

Employee advocates have the power to drive a wide range of marketing value, such as:

  • Sharing company content on social media
  • Motivating their network to engage with company content 
  • Consuming content published on the platform

How to Get Started

Top brands are offering their employees social media training and an advocate marketing platform that enables them to quickly and easily share brand-approved content.

Getting started usually means identifying internal business partners and getting leadership involved. Company leaders have the ability to model how employees should interact on social media. Support from leadership is a critical component. When leadership is involved, employees are more likely to participate. However, most company executives are more than happy to get involved when they see how various departments across their organization stand to benefit from employee advocacy.

Employee advocacy, from marketing to sales to recruiting to corporate communications, has the power to drive results that reach higher than ROI (though it drives that, too). Many Fortune 50 brands have already seen huge value in being able to use their advocacy program to:

  • Drive revenue
  • Increase social engagement
  • Drive website traffic
  • Power social selling
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Attract top talent

Learning From What Fortune 50 Brands Do

For example, take one Fortune 50 retailer that recently launched an employee advocacy program to thousands of its employees at its annual company meeting. This retailer has seen its program adoption double week over week. Moreover, its social media engagement increased 10X since the program launched.

This Fortune 50 retailer's success was due to its employees' passion and brand pride, as well as the strategic way that the company rolled out its program. The company first launched with a beta group of about 300 socially savvy marketers and other key stakeholders who helped optimize and improve the program before rolling out the program to the entire company. After that, the retailer hosted an in-person training and a webinar training to get employees up to speed on the platform and social media basics.

But the retailer didn’t stop there. After all, its program's top initiative is to ensure on-going engagement.

One way that the retailer is motivating employee engagement is making sure the program is always populated with brand content that is new and fresh.

Another best-practice is to provide a variety of content, so employees always have something interesting and relevant to share.

Thanking and recognizing employees is critical to keeping employees engaged. The Fortune 50 retailer highlights employees in weekly program updates and provides swag such as T-shirts or gift cards to employees to recognize them for being active advocates.

The company also provides employees with first access to exclusive content, allowing employees to break the news, even before the press, which is a great way to encourage employees to share.

Other Fortune 50 brands have also seen major benefits and achieved much sought-after business results by investing in employee advocacy. For example, one Fortune 10 telecom company used employee advocacy to increase sales leads, train employees in social media, and drive program adoption. Thousands of employees have joined the program, and many have reported that their participation gives them greater sense of ownership over company updates and that they feel more engaged with the company culture. 

* * *

Social media marketers and brand managers everywhere can see better, stronger results with an employee advocacy program. With the companywide benefits Fortune 1000 companies are seeing—ranging from driving brand awareness to increasing sales leads, improving recruiting goal and more— it's obvious that the time to get started with employee advocacy is now.


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Dave Hawley is VP of marketing at advocate marketing solution SocialChorus.

LinkedIn: Dave Hawley

Twitter: @DaveHawley33

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Comments

  • by Mary B. Mon Jan 12, 2015 via web

    I'd just add that we should always be sure employees disclose their relationship to the company before sharing corporate content (re the recent FTC decision in the Deutsch L.A./Playstation case.)

  • by Leonard D'Souza Mon Mar 28, 2016 via web

    Employee advocacy can have an ROI of up to 300%. This extensive reach of employees on social media has a great impact as it is more trustworthy for other users of the platform.
    Have a look at our employee advocacy platform - SocioAdvocacy.

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