Your Most Promising Marketing Channel? Social Employees & Brand Advocates.

Customers now crave engagement, deeper brand relationships, and helpful content to inform their decisions.

Traditional and robotic marketing techniques just don’t pack the same punch they used to, so how can brands stay relevant in this new era of social media engagement?

Answer: Employee Advocacy

Employee advocacy, simply put, is the promotion of a brand by its employees, but really it goes much deeper than that.

Millennials can spot inauthenticity from a mile away, so businesses need to create a culture for their employees that they can believe in, genuinely want to promote and will discuss on social networks with other individuals who share similar passions or interests.

Once you have this, you will have brand ambassadors in the digital marketplace sat comfortably under your roof.

Forget Formal

Digital & social communications can be impersonal — people are naturally more inclined to trust a face than a logo. So being able to see an individual’s name and picture on a social media message makes the interaction more human and appealing.

Employee advocacy has such potential, but many businesses still worry about its possible downsides, do the pros out way the cons?

Studies show that while 14% of people trust traditional ads, 78% trust their peers for reviews and recommendations. Todays customers don’t want to talk to a logo, they want to engage with the brand, and who better to drive this engagement than your employees?

Why does it work? Because the average internet user accesses five different social media platforms and they are increasingly taking to these channels to both research and recommend new products and services.

Ball Vs Bag Of Marbles

Pretend I have just put a ball in your left hand and a bag of marbles in your right hand. Written on the ball you can see “traditional marketing” and written on each of the marbles there is “social employee”.

Now these two items are the same size & volume, the difference? The surface area of the bag of marbles is over 300% greater.

You are getting 300 times greater connections and interactions both internally across your business and externally with customers and prospects. The marbles are the sum of your employees’ personal brands and your digital footprint in the social marketplace. The continual process of social engagement has infinite touch points, and endless paths to success.

It’s An Infinite Win, Win

Through the continual learning process of social engagement, social employees create lasting relationships for their brands, while they simultaneously build their own personal brands.

Brands benefit from more authentic communication, increased leads, higher sales, and greater cost-effectiveness, while their employees get to grow their own personal brands, and to build a broader skillset, thereby boosting their visibility, and accelerating their own careers.

Why social employees are important

Who do your consumers trust more, your CEO or your employees? According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, it’s your employees and their credibility is growing quickly. In overall credibility, 68% trust a company’s technical experts, 52% of your respondents trust regular employees and only 46 trust CEOs.

What does this mean? It means that your social employees are the most trusted voices within your organisation. Even better, the more they can demonstrate their depth of knowledge and expertise, the more consumers are likely to listen.

Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

Culture is essential to attracting the best and brightest of the growing millennial workforce, who will soon make up the majority of all workers, and swell to a staggering 75% by 2030.

A 2015 Deloitte study found that millennials place equal value on things like organisational culture and social responsibility as they do on products and profits.

We hear a lot these days about culture, authenticity and happiness in the workplace. Thought leaders throughout all industries have championed these terms as key components of modern business. Why? Because they all agree on one basic fact: Employee engagement matters.

“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” Richard Branson

Where’s the proof?

Fortunately, the effects of engagement can be measured.

Let’s look at the numbers:

On average, happy employees are 12% more productive and engaged employees are 38% more likely to produce above average rates.

Engaged companies outperform disengaged companies by up to 202%.

Companies with strong focus on culture have an average of 13.9% turnover rate while those with a low-focus experience a 48.4% turnover rate.

Research conducted by Hinge Research and Social Media Today found four out of five respondents experienced increased visibility as the top benefit of social employee advocacy programs, while two thirds saw increased brand recognition, and just under half saw increased web traffic.

Several other benefits were mentioned in the study, whereas only 3.5% of respondents said they hadn’t seen any benefits from social engagement whatsoever.

My thoughts? Maybe those 3.5% were doing it wrong.

Social marketing is a large and growing world. You don’t need to have all the answers, just stay focused, take the process one step at a time, and let the social employee revolution grow within your organisation.