Employee advocacy is a powerful lever, both for your company’s commercial brand and its employer brand. When employees voluntarily promote your company, it serves as a strong indicator that your organization is delivering a product or service your employees can be proud of. It also shows that employees are sufficiently satisfied with their job to the point where they want to promote your brand even when not receiving any direct compensation for it.
There are several ways to approach this marketing method, and social media has greatly increased employee advocacy’s potential to grow your brand. With so many possible benefits, like increased sales and better recruitment practices, brands should place a strong focus on how they approach employee advocacy, including figuring out how it fits into their wider branding strategy.
Employees have influence
All employees, even those who don’t have a large audience, can have influence. Each of your employees carries a lot of trust within their first-degree network. Because of this, employees serve as an excellent resource for organic word-of-mouth marketing.
An important rule to remember in marketing is that satisfied customers tell their friends. Similarly, happy employees are much more likely to recommend your products or services to the people they know. This is especially true when employees are provided with the support and resources to be truly proud of their work. Listening carefully to your employees to improve their experience is, in general, a good business practice, and your brand can benefit greatly when they share their positive experiences with friends and family.
Empowering your employees to share a positive opinion of your brand can also be incredibly helpful for growing your reputation as an employer. Marketing yourself as a good employer is important for attracting the best talent, and current employees are one of your best assets for promoting your company’s employer brand. As many as 80% of positions are filled because of existing connections. If you put in the effort to ensure that employees are pleased with their work, then they are much more likely to recommend a position at your organization. When this kind of recruitment occurs, you can expect to attract stronger talent who are passionate about your brand.
Employee advocacy is cost-efficient
Placing a large focus on employee advocacy is a cost-efficient approach to start building a community around your brand. A great way to get started on improving employee advocacy is to poll your employees and gather information surrounding how they feel about your organization. You can use these surveys to measure what employees think about their work, as well as how likely they are to recommend your product or service to friends and family.
Employee advocacy allows you to harness the power of these word-of-mouth recommendations, amplifying your message in a more cost-effective way compared to paid advertising. If you want to make sure that your employees feel empowered to speak about your brand, it’s important to create an organized process where the correct marketing materials are available. This way, when your employees do want to advocate for your brand, you can ensure the messaging they use aligns with your current marketing campaigns.
There are also a few relatively inexpensive ways to spur employee advocacy. For example, you can gift your employees with unique company merchandise, which they might want to show off to their friends and followers. Another great way is to take the time to recognize your employees for their hard work. Whether it’s a social media or blog post, or a physical award, this provides employees with an achievement they would be proud to share with others online. Of course, all of the above must be preceded by great employee treatment: fair working hours, good pay, etc. A good, healthy relationship baseline must be established in order for employee advocacy to flourish.
Employees know your audience
As insiders, employees are close to the best sources of information within your organization. Your employees have more knowledge than anyone about the products and services you offer. Because of this, they can take your audience backstage and present them with a perspective that goes hand in hand with your planned corporate messaging.
One of the most important aspects of running a successful business is using customer feedback to improve your company. As a business, you should always treat customer feedback as the gold standard. Our employees speak to hundreds of customers a day through multiple channels, and the customer feedback we receive shapes the priorities for most of our updates. Because your employees are the ones who interact with your customers on a day-to-day basis, they are the most in tune with the issues that customers appear to be facing. The feedback they gather is instrumental to growing your brand’s image as an organization that truly listens to its customers.
Implementing an employee advocacy program can be simple, and it’s a wonderful way to connect your employees to your marketing efforts. All it takes is sharing approved content with team members in a dedicated folder or communication channel, but it can be as advanced as using a dedicated employee advocacy tool.
Ultimately, the goal of employee advocacy is to ensure that your employees feel empowered to promote your brand on their own. When this happens, employees are more likely to feel ownership over their work and a sense of pride in your organization. Utilizing the voice of employees who are at the heart of your company and brand is essential to maintaining trust and attracting the best job talent to your workplace.
Cover image source: Katerina Holmes