Employee Advocacy: The Numbers

Last week I made the case for using Employee Advocacy (EA) to set up a sustainable online campaign. In this second instalment I will delve deeper into the numbers. I take a look at several studies which researched the effects of EA, effects for the employer and for the employee.

Benefits for the Company

Implementing an EA strategy can increase business results. Such a program creates many leads because people recognize a company as an expert in their field. EA Leads generated by employees result in success seven times more often than other leads (IBM). According to the US National Business Research Institute an increase of twelve percent in brand advocacy leads to a doubling of revenue growth {Tweet this!}. In addition, a survey by the Hinge Research Institute showed the following benefits from EA:

Becoming a Trusted Brand

We’ve noticed that people prefer talking to people instead of brands, therefore employees receive trust easier than companies. An employee is twice as likely to be trusted by potential customers compared to a CEO. In part because a message accompanied by a familiar face results in a human touch and familiarity (Edelman Trust Barometer, 2014).

Only 33 percent of customers trust a company, whilst 83 percent trust someone they know personally (Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey, 2015). In addition to family and people they know, experts, and companies they already use are more likely to be trusted (Edelman Trust Barometer, 2014). This is very strong evidence to support our vision that word-of-mouth is the best way of spreading your company’s content and generating new leads.

Maximizing Online Reach

Reach can increase massively through an EA program. The following findings make clear what the weak ties of employees can mean to a company’s reach on social media. Messages shared by employees generate eight times more engagement than messages shared by a company itself (Social Media Today) {Tweet this}. Also, employees have on average ten times more connections on social media than companies.

On Twitter 92 percent of followers of employees are individuals who don’t have any relation to the company yet (Cisco) {Tweet this!}. Supplementary, content from the company has far greater reach when it’s are shared by employees, content shared by employees has 561 percent more reach than the company channels. Furthermore, content is re-shared 24 times more often when it is initially shared by an employee (MSLGroup) {Tweet this!}. And finally, the reach of 135 employees engaged in EA is larger than that of a company page with one million followers, likes or fans (socialmediatoday.com, 2015).

Improvements for the Company Internally and for Employees Personally

Apart from external benefits we also believe in the positive effect of EA within a company. Such a program turns employees into stakeholders and creates shared responsibility. An EA program leads to employees feeling more trusted and valued by the company. It contributes to creating an egalitarian culture concerning the company’s communication strategy. Employee advocacy also leads to increased personal contact between employees and potential leads. This results in higher success rates in generating new customers.

Employees working for companies active on social media are 27 percent more optimistic about the future of the company, are 20 percent more loyal to the company and 40 percent more likely to think their company is competitive (Altimeter & LinkedIn Relationship Economics 2014).

When asked about EA 68,9 percent of employees said it helps their careers. {Tweet this!} The most important benefits were expanding their network and keeping up with industry trends. The benefit of this is that their knowledge can change them into thought leaders in their field of expertise. The following diagram shows you all the benefits that are mentioned in the Hinge report.

Conclusion

Let’s summarize some of the most important benefits of EA. We see that it creates opportunities to communicate the company’s identity. It increases employees’ involvement and confidence. The public’s trust in the company’s messaging grows, as does reciprocity. Also, by offering up-to-date market knowledge the company increases their employees’ thought leadership. Finally, online engagement and the amount of chatter surrounding the company and the company’s network and reach gain a massive boost.

These are all very beneficial, but maybe most important EA creates the opportunity to reach people where they already are. Keep in mind, people like talking to other people and not with brands. Through EA you can make sure you become part of that conversation. In our third and last part of this series on EA we are going to take a more detailed look at why EA is more than just asking your employees to share company content, how it can result in a company becoming part of the public’s conversation and why this is the most profitable strategy to pursue.

About the author: This blog was written by Nine Connections’ Anthony Gadsdon, Content Curator and Creator.

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