How Employee Advocacy Can Make You A Better Marketer

This article is taken from our original blog post entitled ‘How Employee Advocacy Can Make You A Better Marketer’ — you can view the original post here. In this version for Medium, we’ve edited it to give you just the juicy bits. Enjoy!

Here’s how Employee Advocacy can make you a better marketer for your team and make your a better department for your company.

Marketing has moved on from the days of Mad Men thanks to advances in technology, but it’s still just as cut throat — some would argue even more. Modern marketers are on the lookout for the next advantage whether it be for refining their content offer, establishing their brand as thought leaders or driving sales. The name of the game is always to improve ROI.

With that in mind, it’s kind of amusing to see marketers and brand experts turning back to one of the oldest strategies to ever exist in consumer engagement — albeit under a different cloak. As long as trade has been around we’ve had ‘word of mouth’ and in 2017 we have ‘Influencer Marketing’, ‘Social Selling’ and ‘Employee Advocacy’.

Learn more about what it means to be an advocate

We’re going to talk about Employee Advocacy which is the sharing of company content by employees to their own social networks. Social selling tends to be more focused on driving a sale through social media use and is often associated with B2B sales teams more directly.

So now we know the what, let’s establish the why. More specifically, we’re going to definehow it can make you a better marketer.

How #1 — Human Feedback From Advocates

Data driven analysis has been something of a blessing from the tech gods for understanding consumer behaviour. It certainly helped in the 00’s for campaigns such as email marketing and other basic automations.

But we’re in the age of providing a unique experience that’s personal to every customer. Stats for that just can’t cut it and numbers can’t fully explain emotion… yet.

Having your own group of advocates in house gives you constant access to human feedback just down the hall or an email away. Better still you’ll have even more data to base assumptions on, like ‘the sales guys seem to share more of this content than anyone else’ or ‘people who share this type of content on LinkedIn get more views than on Twitter’.

Even before you hit go on your next video or whitepaper, you can ask your advocates first to see if they’d be likely to share it and why? By better understanding the behaviour of your advocates you’ll be able to fill in a massive gap between your content and your customers or target personas.

How #2 — Bigger & Better Reach… And Yes, Even More Data!

According to LinkedIn the average collective of employees’ social networks outnumbers their company’s ten-fold. Just think how big your company’s reach could be!

That sort of immediate growth in reach doesn’t come any other way, and bear in mind this isn’t through some dark arts algorithm or tool, this is real people with real audiences engaged with your content.

What makes this reach better as well as bigger is that consumers trust you and your colleagues more than they trust your company’s own PR. 77% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company when they hear about it from someone they trust, ie, you.

What’s great about this is that the more they share and engage with people online using your content, the more trusted they’ll become, thus compounding the faith in your content.

As we said in How #1, you’ll gain access to a whole new spectrum of data from your advocates, but what about their networks? Suddenly your data analysis becomes supercharged, in fact it’s knowing what to measure and how that can be most daunting.

How #3 — Better Refinement Of The Content You Produce

Whether it’s based on the wealth of new data you have at your disposal or from human interaction with your advocates, your content can only get better.

Of course, ‘better’ can be defined subjectively but generally better means more valuable to your customers.

You might learn that infographics are preferred for engagement with new leads or that existing customers return when you create content about a product that they may already own, etc.

Your content compass becomes even more accurate with employee advocacy and of course, the more advocates you have, the more accurate it becomes.

The best bit is when your advocates get involved in ideation, imagine a situation where your whole sales team and account managers are involved. You’ll be able to go directly to them or at least their sharing data and ask “OK what do you need?”

How #4 — Synergy Within Your Walls

I’ve worked in many a marketing department and I know that sometimes marketers can be seen as expensive prima donnas with a fuzzy interpretation of ROI, not always but sometimes. This last point isn’t necessarily about making you a better marketer but more a better player for your team.

See, employee advocacy really can cross old fashioned borders between Marketing and Sales for example or Marketing and HR. So long as someone is on Twitter or LinkedIn, can become a brand advocate.

Now imagine a working culture where people aren’t just offering feedback but they’re also offering ideas too. It might seem a bit utopian but the fact is, it’s already happening at some of the world’s biggest companies all the way to the smallest startups.

Whatever your departmental goals are, or the goals of each team within that department, or even the individual employees within those teams, everyone is there to achieve success for the brand.

If you’re still not convinced, here’s one to tell your boss, companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202% according to the MSL Group.

If you’re ready to take your company’s social media machine to the next level you’ll love our guide on ‘The Power Of Social Selling’ — Download it here.