What Social Brand Advocacy Isn’t — 1-way ‘Employee Advocacy Solutions’
Social Media Marketers for brands of all sizes have the same problems, just at different scale. The most obvious is that organic reach is dead. In the search for the magic jumpstarter to bring it back, a number of companies have launched platforms focusing on “Employee Advocacy”. You see statistics thrown around about the potential impact of employee advocacy — 92% of your employees’ friends on social media aren’t engaged with your brand on social media…well…so what?
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In theory, it’s a great concept and I believe that your employees are a great resource that, if they are enthusiastic enough about their workplace and business to share your brand’s story, there is a huge benefit that will resonate across every part of your business.
However, the problem is the premise behind many of the faux ‘solutions’ that are out there. Building Social Word-of-Mouth and Social Brand Advocacy that is sustainable, drives trusted reach and delivers results requires a real 2-way relationship. Most of the offerings out there are very much a 1-sided equation — they represent a place to put content and have employees share it and somehow, magically all the employees are going to think “Hey, I really want to share this story about our company’s new product with all my friends.” While that might hold true for a few sexier brands, for the other 99% are out of luck.
Employers have long faced the struggle of getting employees engaged in the workplace, so if you’re going to launch a mobile app at them and say “Here’s an app with our brand content. Please go share our stuff.” If employees don’t perceive a benefit — and I’m not talking compensation — it isn’t going to work. Now, if employees feel, through that connection point, that they get greater knowledge about how the company is performing, a connection to executives, ways for their input to be valued and the bond between employee and employer in building this advocacy feels more like a relationship. If that happens, the metrics of social word-of-mouth and brand advocacy kick in. That content will reach 8 generations deep, their friends will act on their recommendations 8–10x more and yes, 25 employee advocates could generate the reach of 25 million paid social impressions….but…it isn’t going to happen with “here’s a shiny app, go share our content.”