Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises are often hailed as the backbone of the European and US economies. In the US alone, 99.7% of all businesses have fewer than 500 employees, and in most other countries they make up the vast majority of organizations.
One of the biggest challenges SMEs face is growing as an organization, both in headcount and profitability.
As most nations’ economic backbone (depending on the country), governments offer a vast range of policies and incentives to encourage the growth of SMEs. But it’s not quite enough. Ultimately, in order to grow, they need increased awareness and demand, which will, in turn, increase revenue.
So why do they need Employee Advocacy? Well, it certainly won’t magically grow your business overnight, and for some firms, it may not be a fit.
However, it’s a fantastic opportunity to reach a potentially untapped market via your employees’ networks. The Employee Advocacy software market is changing, and brands like DSMN8 are offering more focused programs, at a more affordable cost for SMEs.
Employee Advocacy programs are one of the most authentic tools for business communication, and they’re here to support the growth of all businesses, from SMEs to Enterprises.
What is Employee Advocacy?
For the unacquainted, Employee Advocacy (or Employee Influence) is the promotion of an organization or its services by its employees.
The basic theory is that, as an organization, your employees’ total network reach far surpasses that of your corporate accounts on social media (check out our reach calculator to work out your employees’ total reach).
Let’s go through a few of the key growth hacks.
Enhance Your Reach!
A jaw-dropping 92% of buyers say they trust content and recommendations from friends, peers, and family above any other forms of brand messages.
It’s not just that they trust people more, it’s that they’re losing trust in brands, too. Of course, there is a correlation between the two, but Edelman’s Trust Barometer tells us that trust in brands among consumers is disappearing, and there is a real want for trust and authenticity from brands.
As a result, your employees are not only more likely to have a greater accumulative reach than your company pages on social media, but they’re also more likely to generate engagement and give rise to website traffic. Greater reach + more reputable source = more chance they’ll engage!
Of course, we all know that social media presence is vital if you’re attempting to grow your business. The audience size is not to be ignored, so you should definitely pay it some attention.
Despite this, one of the most significant setbacks SMEs will face, what with their follower counts being lower than larger organizations, is beating those pesky social network algorithms. Set in place to ensure that a user only sees the most relevant content; it means that organically reaching your audience has become increasingly difficult.
How does Employee Advocacy combat this?
As mentioned, your employees can be hugely effective at amplifying your content and messaging, driving engagement, and beating social media algorithms.
If people are more likely to interact with posts from friends, family, and peers, then employee posts are more likely to generate the kind of engagement that will score your posts highly to beat algorithms.
Elevate Your Employer Brand
As a smaller organization, attracting top talent to your company can be tricky, both setting you back financially and consuming precious time. Whether it’s time spent writing job advertisements on every site imaginable, or wasting time interviewing someone who simply isn’t right for the job.
Employer Branding is essential because it means that, if done correctly, those top candidates will seek you out, rather than the other way around.
Sounds great, right? After all, 76% of decision-makers said in a recent Glassdoor survey that attracting quality candidates is their biggest challenge.
Social media allows businesses to boast about their brand and company culture in a way that before was never possible. And as platforms evolve and new ones pop up, businesses are given even more ways to do this.
Your employees’ networks are a tremendous source of quality candidates, as typically (especially on professional sites like LinkedIn) they’ll be connected to people in their industry who work in similar positions, and thus roles that your company could one day open. In 2019, employee referrals made up only 7% of all applicants but 40% of all hires.
Having your employees sharing your latest company news and culture content is a fantastic way to promote your workplace as one that your next candidate will strive to be a part of.
Maximize Social Selling
Social selling isn’t just a practice for sales teams; the method itself can be something that is adopted by any department. After all, when an employee shares a piece of company news or content with their network, they’re technically engaging in one of the most important parts of social selling.
Social selling defined is using social media to listen to, engage, and build rapport with prospective clients or customers.
When employee advocates share your company content, whether they intend to or not, they are helping to make sure that your business is the first that comes to mind when they are ready to buy. Or perhaps when they have questions about your industry or the services you offer.
A successful Employee Advocacy program is one that not only offers the latest company content to share, but also the latest industry news and third party resources.
This establishes both the employee and employer as industry thought leaders. Thought leadership is extraordinary when you consider that 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to buy from someone who they believe to be an industry thought leader.
Social selling isn’t just about sharing company content, as to be done successfully, it needs interactions and engagements on social alongside this. However, with the sharing comes familiarity, increasing your share of voice within your industry and asserting both your company’s and the employee’s dominance in your field.
The market has changed for Employee Advocacy platforms. Where once it was a space for large organizations to aggregate their content and align their employees’ social sharing, it is now also a market for smaller organizations who wish to leverage their employees’ influence on social media to seriously impact growth.
Whether it be through your amplified reach, the ability to flaunt your company culture, or by having employees establish themselves as thought leaders and active social sellers, an Employee Advocacy program has unmatched potential for SME growth.
Top Tip: If you’re just getting started, focus on getting your senior leadership team involved in the program, they are some of your most influential employees! Check out this post on senior leadership advocacy to learn more.
Senior Marketing Manager and Employee Advocacy Program Manager at DSMN8. Lewis specialises in content strategy, growing brand visibility and generating inbound leads. His background in Sales lends itself well to demand generation in the B2B niche.