HUMANS ARE AWESOME
Written by: Hanadi El Sayyed
In Part 1 of this series, I highlighted the two necessary elements to improve Employee Experience – Purpose and Structure. I started talking about Purpose and recommended it be anchored in Employee Advocacy. I also defined what Employee Advocacy is about.
In Part 2 of this series, I explain why Employee Advocacy is important.
While Influencer marketing is very appealing to marketers and seems to be growing in popularity, professionals continue to question its effectiveness. The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) reported that 75% of marketers currently work with influencers. Surprisingly only 36% said they judged their influencer marketing efforts as effective as they thought it would be, while 19% admitted they believed that the money spent was ineffective.
But there’s another type of influencer on the rise – the micro-influencer. These are everyday people with a decent following. They’re relatable, genuine and trustworthy. Data shows that when engaged in marketing their impact is broader and more significant than your typical influencer marketing. Within a company, the micro-influencers would be the employees.
According to Bambu (by Sprout Social), people are 16 times more likely to read a social media share by a friend than by a brand. Another study by the media agency Universal McCann reported that traditional influencer marketing is seen as untrustworthy, and only 4% of customers buy into it, while Nielsen Consumer Trust Index stated that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from family and friends.
If there is one story research is telling us is that Employee Advocates help build trust, and that employees are a trusted source of information for consumers.
It is time you engage employees as brand advocates and here’s why.
The main advantages of Employee Advocacy can be grouped into four categories
Employees have the potential to reach a broader audience than their company’s social media pages combined. What’s more, Employee Advocacy extends beyond the platforms companies are using, as employees are also active on networks and communities the company might not have access to.
The below formula can be used to estimate the potential reach of an Employee Advocacy program:
Nbr. of employees x Size of their network/s = The potential reach
Let’s say a company of 100 employees has 2,000 fans on their Facebook page. The potential reach is 2,000. If every employee in that company had an average of 338 friends on Facebook, the potential reach of all the employees becomes 33,800. That’s a 1,590% increase in reach. Data goes further to show that having 135 employee advocates is far more powerful than having 1,000,000 Facebook fans. The infographic below shows that social networks of employees can drastically extend your reach.
Reach is not just about increasing the number of eyeballs that view the post. It’s also about the level of engagement with the content. Because employee shares are seen as authentic and genuine, they are more relied on by customers when looking for information to make a purchasing decision. According to LinkedIn Marketing Solutions for example, “employee shares have double the click-through-rate of corporate shares”. Employee word-of-mouth plays a substantial role in online marketing, as it is perceived as more sincere and trustworthy, compared to paid for advertising and content produced by marketers. This essentially means that when salespeople join an Employee Advocacy program, they become the trusted advisors to customers, and this can help increase the number of sales leads, attract and develop new business, and shorten sales cycles. https://youtu.be/Q3O0nKyAHPY
There’s a reason that the early adopters of Employee Advocacy are eager their employees proactively share their stories about their positive experiences not only with the company’s products and services but also as a workplace. Positive workplace stories boost employer branding efforts. When it comes to talent attraction, Employee Advocacy is a key component of the recruitment marketing strategy.
If you are a recruiter, you will also be happy to know that employees want to get involved. According to a 2018 survey by The Muse with their own users, 42% of respondents said their company could do a better job attracting talent by asking employees to share their own experiences while 59% said that testimonials from employees help them decide if a company is a good fit for them. Employee Advocacy is a company’s secret weapon, and a powerful one too, if it wants to appeal to talent (reinforced of course by an exceptional candidate experience). In short, when talent is eager to find out what it’s like to work for a company, there’s one thing that carries more weight than anything else: what the company’s employees are saying. Additional advantages of Employee Advocacy for successful recruiting include growing the applicant tool, reducing time to hire, and lowering recruiting costs.
Employee Advocacy goes beyond getting talent in the door. When empowered to act as brand ambassadors, employees get the clout they need to influence others and make a difference. This helps them find meaning in their work. In other words, Employee Advocacy has the potential to increase employee engagement by forging a strong emotional bond between the employees and the company while at the same time employees are building their own personal brand as a professional which in itself is an incredible motivator for more employees to want to be part of the program. Employee Advocacy also helps improve internal collaboration within the company.
There’s no shortage of research telling us that Employee Advocacy is not only effective, but actually contributes to the overall success and culture of an organization. Save this post and follow the thread for Part 3 of this series for a step-by-step guide for creating an Employee Advocacy Program.
Hanadi El Sayyed