In the tremendously competitive and cluttered world of Digital advertising, we marketing & brand managers go to great heights in establishing our brand. Building strategies which can cut through the clutter, to conquer the hearts & minds of our consumers. But we often miss out on leveraging one of the most effective weapons in our Arsenal - THE EMPLOYEE.
In this digitally connected world, what is the first thing we do before making a purchase? Yes, we check its reviews or ask a friend for recommendation; And at this ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth), an employee can be your best weapon, the one who can catapult your brand / product from consideration stage to the purchase stage.
Let’s look at a scenario - If you are considering buying a phone and are confused between Brand A & B; and one of your friend mentions “Hey phone B has a sick camera” that line will go much further, compared to a Phone brand saying “We have a great camera”.
Ps: Ok, we might not say ‘sick camera’ but you get the point 😉...
To further my argument on why #EmployeeAdvocacy should become one of the core pillars of your marketing & Brand strategy, please read-through…
An employee advocacy program isn't heavy on your wallet, on contrary it can be very economical. They already know and love the brand, that is half the battle won. And you don’t need to have budgets of thousands of dollars. You can start off small; identify group of employees from different departments, create a mechanism for them to share your content and have a system in place to reward them; it can be anything, from a certificate of appreciation, movie tickets, dinner coupons, a staycation or maybe even discounts on your own product line...
And in the process, you might even find social influencers hidden in your organization, who can take your Brand to newer audience.
Let’s say you have identified 100 employees as advocates and each has an average of 500 friends or followers in various social media channels. Now even if they share your post once a month or recommend your product, you are set to reach 500,000 potential consumers and it multiplies further by the amplification. Now that’s a big win for any Brand! According to a study, a message shared by an employee goes much further than when shared by a brand; 541% further to be precise!
Many of us spend immense time, effort and money in market research; understanding how consumers perceive our brand and products; but we miss out listening to the employees who are constantly in touch with consumers and brand itself. Employee advocacy program can assist you in garnering insights and ideas that can take the brand efficacy and product effectiveness much further. We can also leverage this forum to test out our product / app, prior to going into the market and making the required adjustments.
Employee advocacy can be the 'punch' that boost your sales and play an important role in delivering the knock-out punch to your competitors.
Getting leads or database is just the tip of the iceberg and probably easiest one in the funnel. But moving them to MQL to SQL to the sale itself is a humongous task; and I know it as a first-hand experience of the pain when leads drop at different stages of the sales funnel. According to a study Leads developed through employee social marketing converts 7 times more frequently than other leads.
7X MORE CONVERSIONS! That’s music to the ears of a marketing & Brand manager...
To summarize, an Employee advocacy if done right can enhance your brand’s reach & efficacy many folds, and multiply your sales rapidly. And it can be launched in 5 simple steps :
Identify the Employees. You can do that by sending out an open to all invitation and ask a few questions to assist you in shortlisting them
Create a platform, that is easy to access and shareable content library with important info about the brand, products and even articles that are engaging
Set-up a reward system. Include how you will reward and what are the rewards.
Schedule meet-ups. Regular meet-ups between the advocates and POCs is a very important part of the program.
Analyze, Enhance and Amplify. Ensure you regularly analyze the program, improve it and extend it to more employees.
There are few a good tools that can assist you in setting up and managing the Brand advocacy, LinkedIn Elevate, Hootsuite amplify or smarp to name a few (fyi, I haven’t been paid by any of these to promote them. Just sharing from my experiences 😊).
NB: Check out this employee advocacy impact study to get more ideas - http://marketingadvisorynetwork.com/download/4572/