Here’s how Employee Advocacy can make you a better marketer for your team and make you a better department for your company.
Modern marketing may be far advanced from episodes of Mad Men thanks to gargantuan improvements in technology, but it’s still just as cutthroat – some would argue even more. Modern marketers are always on the lookout for the next marginal progression whether it be for refining their content offer, establishing their brand as thought leaders or of course driving sales. The name of the game is always to improve ROI.
With that in mind, it’s kind of amusing to see marketers and brand experts turning back to one of the oldest strategies to ever exist in consumer engagement – albeit under a different cloak. As long as trade has been around we’ve had ‘word of mouth’ and in 2017 we have ‘Employee Advocacy’.
To quickly summarise what Employee Advocacy is, it is the sharing of company content by employees with their own social networks. You may also have heard of it referred to as Brand Advocacy or Social Selling. Social selling tends to be more focused on driving a sale through social media use and is often associated with B2B sales teams more directly.
So now we know the what, let’s establish the why. More specifically, we’re going to do this by defining how it can make you a better marketer.
How #1 – Human Feedback From Advocates
We know that data driven analysis has been something of a blessing from the tech gods for understanding consumer behaviour. It certainly helped in the 00’s for campaigns such as email marketing and other basic automations.
But we’re in the age of providing a unique experience that’s personal to every customers and designed to appeal to each of their behavioural nuances. Stats for that just can’t cut it and numbers can’t fully explain emotion… yet.
If your company has its own team of advocates in house, you’ll have constant access to human feedback just down the hall or an email away. Better still you’ll have even more data to base assumptions on, like ‘the sales guys seem to share more of this content than anyone else’ or ‘people who share this type of content on LinkedIn get more views than on Twitter’.
Even before you hit go on your next video content or whitepaper, you can ask your advocates first to see if they’d be happy to share it? By better understanding the behaviour of your advocates you’ll be able to fill in a massive gap between your content and your customers.
How #2 – Bigger & Better Reach… And Yes, Even More Data!
According to LinkedIn the average collective of employees’ social networks outnumbers their company’s ten-fold. Just think how big your company’s collective reach across all of its social channels is and multiply it by 10!
That sort of immediate growth in reach doesn’t come any other way, and bear in mind this isn’t through some dark arts algorithm or tool, this is real people with real audiences engaged with your content.
What makes this reach better as well as bigger is that consumers trust you and your colleagues more than they trust your company. 77% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company when they hear about it from someone they trust, ie, you.
What’s great about this is that the more they share and engage with people online using your content, the more trusted they become, thus compounding the trust in your content.
Cast your mind or better still, scroll through your recent activity on social channels. How much third party content have you like or shared because it appeared on your newsfeed from a friend’s account?
As we said in How #1, you’ll gain access to a whole new spectrum of data from your advocates, but what about their networks? Suddenly your data analysis becomes supercharged, in fact it’s knowing what to measure and how that can be most daunting.
How #3 – Better Refinement Of The Content You Produce
Whether it’s based on the wealth of new data you have at your disposal or from human interaction with your advocates, your content can only get better.
Now, ‘better’ can be defined subjectively so for the purpose of this article, better means more closely affiliated with serving the needs of your customers. In other words, your content can be refined to become more valuable.
You might learn that infographics are the number one type of content for engagement with new leads or that existing customers return when you create content about a product that they may already own, etc. If you work for a huge corporation with a multitude of products you might even find that content segmentation becomes more refined or that products you thought you were marketing well are actually sucking on Facebook and LinkedIn.
The fact is that your content compass becomes even more accurate with employee advocacy in place and of course, the more advocates you have, the more accurate it becomes.
The best bit is when your advocates get involved, imagine a situation where your whole sales team is bought in and every member of that team is an advocate. You’ll be able to go directly to them or at least their sharing data and ask “OK what do you need?” and you’ll get an answer.
How #4 – Synergy Within Your Walls
I’ve worked in many a marketing department and I know that sometimes marketers can be seen as expensive prima donnas with a fuzzy interpretation of ROI, not always but sometimes. This last point isn’t necessarily all about making you a better marketer but perhaps a better player for your team.
See, employee advocacy really can cross old fashioned borders between Marketing and Sales for example or Marketing and HR. So long as social channels are available to them anyone can become a brand advocate.
Now imagine a working culture where everybody, not just the copywriters and the designers but everyone has bought into the content that you’re creating. People aren’t just offering feedback but they’re also offering ideas.
This is always our aim at DSMN8 as a platform provider. It might seem a bit utopian but the fact is, it’s already happening at some of the world’s biggest companies all the way to the smallest startups right now.
Whatever your departmental goals are, or the goals of each team within that department, or even the individual employees within those teams, everyone is generally turning up to achieve success for the brand.
If you’re still not convinced, here’s one to tell your boss, companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202% according to the MSL Group.