For a small business, usually the most expensive overhead cost is the employees. An important and necessary part of running day to day operations, and a digital marketing asset you have already paid for.
While often overlooked as just “the people who work for the company”, employees are the biggest marketing asset that a business can have. Employees can be a brand’s biggest advocates, yet they’re often an untapped resource. Here’s where employee advocacy comes into play.
What is Employee Advocacy?
Employee advocacy is a newer term used to describe the promotion of a business by its staff. A business may ask employees to actively promote and generate exposure for the organization using their own online assets. Most often that means digitally through social media. However, it can also be done at events, or simply in general day to day regular activities. Talking about work, exciting projects, happy customers, great promotions, or events is a form of advertising that broadens a business’s marketing reach without paying marketing dollars.
We have already established employees can be your best and biggest asset, and there are several reasons and many experts that champion this fact everywhere. However when it comes to digital marketing there are only two that really matter, reach and influence.
Reach and influence are two metrics that play a major role in employee advocacy. Just think, while you’re focusing your efforts on Facebook and mastering Twitter, your employees might already have a presence on other social networks you haven’t explored yet, like Reddit, Tumblr, Path, Snapchat, Pinterest, Vine…the list goes on.
Employees have Social Reach.
Many claim a business weakens the value of its online presence by being on too many social networks just for the sake of saturation. Your employees are probably already on these platforms, so your reach can expand thanks to them, and you won’t have to make any compromises on your existing social strategy or online karma.
Additionally, with more people and brands joining social networks everyday, innovators like Facebook will favor an individual person’s reach over a business page’s reach. If you’re already paying for ads or promoting your content on Facebook, you’re basically paying to have a reach similar to an employee’s unfiltered reach. That in itself is a great asset to have!
Employees have Social Influence
Online influence isn’t something that can be gamified with a score or a sophisticated algorithm. Influence comes with authenticity and trustworthiness. Many companies encourage employees to build their online influence, benefiting the company and its customers.
One of the greatest benefits of employee advocacy is that people will trust your employees more than they trust your brand, as long as your employees have the confidence to share your content freely, in their own way.
An employee advocacy plan will only work if your company has a transparent culture on trust and freedom.
It is important to have clear guidelines but not to impose them. Make the guidelines easy to understand, and easy to follow. You need guidelines that enable advocacy instead of restricting it:
- Guidelines on what to share
- How to share – embrace mobile content
- Ideas on where to share content
- Outline of the incentives that employees can benefit from
Don’t neglect training and support. It is a great idea to appoint an ’employee advocacy champion’ who can assist and give advice should your employees need it.
What and How Would You Like Your Employees to Share?
Did you know that mobile marketing is considered the next big thing? Your employees are already on their phones and tablets at work, and so is everyone else. Reports show 58% of adults are on smartphones and 42% are on tablets. Those with these smart mobile devices are 33% more active on social media. Capitalizing on mobile marketing spans way beyond employee advocacy, but it is a great place to start. Developing exclusive mobile creative for employees to share on their favorite social sites will encourage mobile engagement.
What your employees want to share is entirely up to them. However, to take advantage of this mobile opportunity you might want them to share your latest deals, information about your products and services, or the latest articles from your blog. It should be something that your employees consider relevant to them and their followers and it should always be mobile friendly.
It is this creative diversity that has the potential to increase engagement. We would love to help you succeed connect with us and share with everyone your mobile or employee advocacy tips below!