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There is an imaginary world where employees love their company, love their co-workers and can’t stop talking on social media about the services and products offered by their business. This is only a dream for most companies, but for organizations that have achieved this nirvana in the real world, its called employee advocacy. Employee advocacy in the simplest terms is when members of an organization actively promote it on social media and elsewhere. In this piece, we will look at why employee advocacy is dramatically more persuasive than other forms of marketing, how to figure out if employee advocacy is the right strategy for your organization, and how to get started.
“We hire people we know, like, and trust, in that order,” according to sales and marketing guru Bob Burg. Think about it, what is more persuasive than a referral from a trusted friend? Your employees will always be your most powerful advocates, especially when communicating directly with their trusted network on LinkedIn, Facebook or even just in a conversation. On social media, the impact of employee advocacy is massive. Consider that employee posts on social media receive 8x the engagement of posts by the company. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since according to LinkedIn, employees have 10x the number of 1st-degree connections than the average company has in total followers. Company posts are advertisements, employee posts are more strongly held convictions by real people. A post by an employee will out-perform a company post almost every time, the exception being if your company is some adored brand like Costco or Apple.
Staci Johnson, VP of Marketing at Roth Staffing, explained how she made the case for employee advocacy at her company: “My CEO asked me to explore investing in the right PR firm or to create a more vigorous PR strategy. I shared my vision of ‘what if each and every one of the 700 coworkers in our organization was positioned to be our PR advocate?’ Our company already had compelling messaging and an award-winning brand. We mapped out what it would look like if each coworker individually shared our content on their social networks and that it would not only come across as more genuine, but it would be more effective and less expensive. Plus, the by-product was that it created a more engaged workforce that was empowered to represent the company and proud to champion the unique work culture.”
You need your employees as advocates, not just because of their power, but also because it’s the best deal out there. Employee advocacy is by far the most affordable way to spread your organization’s message. If you pay for advertising on LinkedIn, starting at $5 a click you can get a total stranger to click on your advertisement. With employee advocacy, you can get qualified traffic that knows, likes, and trusts you for substantially less. According to internal data at my company, Clearview Social, the average company with over 20 employees engaged in social sharing on behalf of the company gets over $5,000 per month in free advertising. (This is calculated by using earned media value, which adds up the total amount of engagement and what LinkedIn or Google would have charged for that same number of clicks.)
So how do you get your boss to allocate budget and resources to get your team sharing on social media? Stop thinking about it as a “nice-to-have.” You’re already likely investing a lot in content development. It’s important to find a way to get that content seen by the right people. You can either create a program yourself or find a tool that does some of the legwork for you.
According to Sheenika Gandhi, Director of Marketing and Business Development at law firm Payne & Fears, “the key to having your management team invest in an employee advocacy tool is to show how it is an essential step to achieve the company’s marketing goals. I’ve pitched employee advocacy software to two firms and both signed on immediately because they wanted to maximize their brand visibility and expertise.”
Employee advocacy is one of the easiest ways to dramatically increase inbound traffic from social media. Our internal data shows that organization with active employee advocacy programs and tools in place on average see a 1000% uptick in traffic from social media sites. If you have employees and you have content, your organization can benefit from increased levels of employee advocacy.
Note: The author, Adrian Dayton, is the Founder and CEO of Clearview Social, one of many employee advocacy tools currently on the market. Other tools in this category include Dynamic Signal, PostBeyond, LinkedIn Elevate, and EveryoneSocial.
June 5, 2019 at 05:31PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs