Why employee advocacy is the next frontier for brand messaging

We increasingly turn over news pages splashed with ads, tune off stations with commercials and even install ad blockers for websites. We do it all to get away from ads. No wonder traditional means of getting your brand story out seem to be a difficult proposition.

When consumers are hit with an estimated 4,000 marketing messages daily, it’s hard for a brand to find something unique to say, and even harder to find the right way to say it. Thus, the task of standing out from your competitors gets even harder.

Even when you manage to establish a line of communication with your consumers, there’s no guarantee they will trust the things you say. Unless of course, you can convey it through the right sources: 90% of consumers today trust product/service recommendations from their connections.

So how can you connect with your consumers in a more relatable way? How can you break through the clutter and get consumers to care about what you have to say? Employee advocacy is emerging as a solution to this dilemma.

Employee Advocacy- Enabling Brand Connect with Peers

Employee advocacy is about getting your employees to promote your brand, products and story using online platforms. This could mean employees talking about the brand as a workplace, endorsing an online campaign of your brand or recommending a newly released product. The more employees share and engage with your brand content, the better reach your campaign shall deliver.

Getting your employees to talk about your brand’s products and services has many benefits. It’s a cost-effective method of marketing. It can also help improve employee engagement and project your company as a great place to work. Not just that, your employees can talk about their work culture, company achievements and awards, performance in the market, events, success stories and more.

The best part is, employee advocacy works for businesses of all sizes and types. Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits:

1. Increases Brand Engagement

A report by Cisco says that posts shared by employees initiated eight times more active engagement compared to posts shared by the company itself. It also indicated that people read referral posts from their friends 16 times more as compared to those shared by Cisco.

Your brand page may have a lot of followers (read ‘reach’) but if your audience doesn’t engage (comment, share, retweet etc.) with your content, your accumulated number of followers is of little use. On the other hand, when your employee puts out content on your behalf, he/she builds trust and encourages your audience to interact with your content.

This explains why influencers with less than 2000 followers get 10.7% engagement on their posts while those with more than 1 million followers get just 1% engagement. The bottom-line is that your employees have a better chance of reaching and engaging your target audience.

2. Boosts Your Sales

With greater brand visibility, you get to connect with new segments of your audience and turn them into consumers. They are introduced to your brand through a trusted channel and are more likely to boost your bottom line.

This matters even more as social media giants have once again put ‘social’ at the center of what they do. With changes to the Facebook newsfeed algorithm, content posted by people is ranked higher than content posted by pages. As any of us would confirm, seeing a message from a fellow human on a social network is much more likely to catch and retain our attention than a branded message. It’s no wonder then, that brand messages are shared 24 times more frequently when shared by employees rather than a brand.

3. Makes Your Employees Feel Connected

With peer recommendation, your brand becomes more relatable as a place to work. Your employees will be introduced to new facets of your brands, products and services. Thus, employees also feel more engaged to their employer. Paired with the right content, they are also able to stay updated with the latest in their industry and emerge as thought leaders.

4. Serves as the Gateway to Attractive Talent

Apart from engaging current employees, employee advocacy programs can also help attract prospective employees. Pictures or videos of light-hearted moments at work and celebrations of achievements and milestones all give a glimpse of a different side of your organization. Publicising these moments can help attract top talent, especially among millennials who really value workplace culture. In addition, being in the spotlight can also help employees feel acknowledged and seen, which can be a challenge for larger organisations.

5. Helps Build Trust Among Your Consumers

If your employees feel encouraged to interact with their social group and spread the word about your brand, it puts the brand in a trustworthy position. After all, word of mouth is still the most effective way to influence buying decisions. It’s no wonder that leads developed through employee social marketing initiatives are 7 times more likely to convert.

6. Ensures Great ROI

As consumers have more and more choices at their disposal, they are less likely to engage with brand communication, be it through traditional or digital media. Their fleeting attention is probably costing you a lot in expensive digital plans. An investment in an employee advocacy program is a return that will keep giving you more in terms of brand visibility, sales, employment engagement and consumer trust. There are not as many ways you can achieve all of the above with a single program to ensure great ROI for you.

At Engagelyee, we work with companies of all sizes to automate their employee advocacy programmes for maximum gain. To know more about how to get started with employee advocacy, click here.

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