With the digital age in full swing, it’s no surprise that your employees’ personal and professional lives are becoming more and more intertwined. When employees aren’t taking calls on their smartphones, they’re tweeting about the latest trends.
Couple that with the fact that employees are a trusted source of company information, and you’ve got an amazing opportunity on your hands – a new marketing channel that can potentially connect with millions of consumers.
It makes sense: The best brand advocates are people who know a lot about a company and care about what happens to it. Your trusted employees certainly fit that bill, and by empowering them to be brand advocates, you’ll be able to expand your company reach, drive revenue, and create long-lasting bonds.
The tangible benefits of employee advocacy programs
According to a Nielsen survey, 90% of consumers trust product or service recommendations from people they know. That’s great for consumers, but for marketers the question remains: How do you get consumers to recommend your brand?
Before the social media revolution, the only real outlets for company announcements were PR and paid advertising. Of course, word of mouth has always existed, but it was nearly impossible to manage and track. Now that the lines between personal and professional are blurred, the opportunity for employee advocacy is ripe, and companies are finally starting to realize just how powerful it is.
Unlike customers, employees are readily accessible as advocates. After all, they already work for your brand and know your products. On top of that, you have an open line of communication with them to achieve the goals you set. Here are five key benefits of an employee advocacy program:
- It increases employee engagement. An employee advocacy program keeps employees engaged with your brand and up-to-date on company news. And according to a Gallup survey, companies with more engaged employees had 147% higher earnings per share than their competition.
- It expands your brand reach. Your workforce is made up of real people with hundreds of thousands of connections collectively. Your employee advocacy program allows you to reach these people, which amplifies your content’s reach.
- It fosters authenticity and trust. When an actual person spreads your brand message, it’s far more authentic and trustworthy than paid advertising. The 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer noted that 49% of people trust a company’s employees over its PR department, CEO, and founder.
- It creates a consistent message. You need to control your brand’s message and image. An employee advocacy program ensures consistency and compliance across social media channels. This alleviates your employees’ doubts about what they can and should say about the company.
- It empowers your employees. When employees are more informed about company news, info, and events, they’re empowered to build their personal brand and become thought leaders by sharing a consistent flow of meaningful content infused with their own opinions.
Whether you have 50 employees or 500 employees, you should always be activating them as advocates. Employee advocacy works because you and your employees are in this together. Their livelihoods are directly affected by the success or failure of your business, and you depend on their hard work. It’s time to partner with your employees and empower them to become your brand champions.
For more on employee engagement and talent development, watch the video Managing Your Talent Ecosystem: Best Practices.