Word-of-mouth is a very effective form of marketing. It’s not only trusted by your customers, but is also most likely to drive sales for your company. When employee advocates reach their personal followers with your company’s message, they are actually performing digital word-of-mouth marketing.
That’s why unleashing the power of social employee advocacy allows companies to experience greater success in terms of amplifying their messaging, improving their online reputation, and generating valuable results. With a proper employee advocacy platform, your company can transform how employees receive, share, and amplify the branded content across their own social networks.
Here are 5 interesting use-cases that highlight examples of how mid-market and enterprise companies are currently using employee advocacy to amplify their social media marketing.
1. Employees and Executives Becoming Thought Leaders
With a formal employee advocacy program, employees become actively involved in positively promoting their company’s product/service through engaging content, and in turn spreading the brand’s reach. Over time, advocates educate followers or customers on industry trends and influence their buying decisions, making them a trustworthy source of information. This turns them into thought leaders – people whose views on a subject are deeply valued.
As thought-leaders, they’re creating a shift towards bottom-up communications. Rather than managers telling employees which content is more important and when to distribute it, employees are sharing content based on what they feel is most relevant to their type of audience. They also get to choose the channels that they want to share content on. This freedom empowers employees and makes them want to contribute to the company’s growth.
But the benefits of thought leadership extend beyond active involvement and freedom. Thought leadership allows employees to feel connected to the latest updates in the industry, as well as build their personal brand on social media. This opportunity increases employee engagement and infuses motivation back into the workplace.
For example, B2B content marketing software provider, Kapost has over 30 employees who are actively participating in their advocacy board. These employees are extremely engaged because they can easily offer high-quality content that adds value to followers, while viewing which employees are leading the program.
Fujitsu is also a global enterprise that currently has hundreds of active advocates that use a platform to boost their company’s reach. In the image below you can see two similar messages – except that one is posted by the company’s Twitter, and the other is posted by a Fujitsu employee. The idea behind this is that a recommendation coming from an employee speaks louder and is more trusted than the company’s message.
Besides the employees, advocacy can also help C-suite executives establish their thought-leadership status. As of 2015, 80% of CEO’s are active on social media, and this number is steadily rising. Using a centralized board where content is readily available, executives can easily increase their online presence, in turn showing the human side of the company, it’s goals and values.
2. Becoming Social Sellers
When salespeople integrate social media as part of their sales pitch, they can ultimately expand the company’s relationships with customers and prospects. A Forbes study revealed that 72.6% of salespeople engaging in social selling outperform non-social media users, and exceed quota 23% more often. With a social advocacy platform, sales reps can be provided with the right content that helps them better connect with prospects and shorten the sales cycle.
Leading ERP software company Panaya provides an interesting example of how a company is able to categorize their content into different topics so that advocates share what’s relevant to them. This would be especially useful for sales teams because they can better harness social advocacy to engage prospects and improve sales opportunities.
3. Improving Brand Awareness
Gaining your audience’s attention through organic reach is becoming more challenging for marketers. We’ve entered a social engagement crisis. This is especially true on Facebook, which recently updated its algorithm to limit content from brands and emphasize posts made by users’ friends and family. Makes sense, considering that the essence of social media is to connect people.
But the engagement crisis encompasses all networks, which are founded on the principle of temporary shelf life – meaning that your posts only live for a certain amount of time, before disappearing into the “social media abyss”. For example, Facebook posts expire within 2-5 hours, while Tweets last only 18 minutes!
That’s why advocacy provides an ideal solution for companies to amplify brand awareness through organic reach, by enabling employees to share valuable content on a regular basis. Through their authentic voices, advocates help to promote and humanize the brand’s image, making it more recognizable to a wider audience.
In fact, messages reach 561% further when shared by employees compared to being shared by the corporate social networks. The same messages also generate 24 times more shares when being distributed by employees versus the brand itself.
Strategic-IC incentivized all staff members to use their employee advocacy platform to share content, and today, 78% of their engagement can be attributed to advocacy. That’s an incredible achievement, which allows Strategic-IC to have a more authentic social presence.
With the help of advocacy, online software, and mobile distribution company IronSource generated 24% of their social media engagement. Here you can see the same product – intelligence tool for mobile apps – being promoted by IronSource’s Twitter account versus an employee advocate. While many factors can have an effect on engagement, we see that the employee is able to generate interesting engagement.
4. Increasing Lead Generation
As a result of creating great content and getting employee advocates to share it, companies see true results. This includes 5 times more web traffic, and 25% more valuable leads.
Data shows that companies with employee advocacy are able to increase their lead generation by approximately 33%. Here are just a few examples of how IronSource’s employees who come from different departments – including marketing and R&D – successfully promote their company’s product on Twitter.
5. Showcasing Company Culture & Better Talent Acquisition
Many companies pride themselves on having an outstanding work culture, which employees enjoy being part of. In order to maintain this vibrant atmosphere, companies must recruit individuals who can add value and diversity to the team.
When employees endorse their company as a great place to work on social media, it affects two important things:
Talent acquisition. Since employees’ networks are made up of individuals who hold similar values and interests, it gives employers an opportunity to attract quality candidates who have a high chance of fitting into the company culture. Having employees post about the company work culture also informs potential applicants on what to expect or look forward to. In reality, 69% of applicants will not accept a position at a company that has a bad reputation – even if they’re unemployed!
Hiring process. By attracting like-minded applicants, the hiring process for higher-level management becomes more time-and-cost efficient. Applicants who are hired by employee referral, commence the position much sooner (within 29 days) compared to applicants found via job boards or career sits (who usually start within 39 or 55 days respectively).
With a proper employee advocacy solution, companies of all sizes can transform their employees into brand ambassadors and thought leaders. They could elevate employee engagement and drive advocates to promote the company’s product/service in a credible way, in turn improving brand awareness and increasing sales opportunities.
Through their combined effort to amplify the company’s reach, advocates impact lead generation and help to attract quality candidates. These use-cases show how many companies are already using employee advocacy to create a simple and systematic way in which employees can share the right content, across the right social channels, at a time they choose.
Currently the CEO of Oktopost, Daniel Kushner is a B2B marketing expert and has been using Salesforce since 2004! He has been in the field for over a decade and successfully led online marketing departments of global organizations.