Business development 2 January 2019

FAQ answered: Why employee advocacy is the new business must

Employee advocacy: Turn your workforce into ambassadors
Employee advocacy: Turn your workforce into ambassadors

Employee advocacy is arguably the most underrated tool in business today.

It happens when your employees promote your brand, company or its products and services—online or in person.

If you have loyal, happy, satisfied workers, they may occasionally talk about you among their friends. Now imagine the power of their first-hand knowledge if it reached consumers, professionals and other audiences you wish to influence.

This is possible if you manage employee advocacy, which is an organised movement of sharing your message everywhere.

And thanks to technology that creates infinitely more personal connections between individuals (simply think of your Facebook friends you’ve never met, sitting on the other side of the globe)—it’s a marketing tool you can’t ignore.

But where does this effectively work?

The methods you need

Employee advocacy can happen in many environments but the most common methods include:

–        Employees sharing company information (feedback, products, service information) on their personal social media accounts.

–        Your workers can recommend you as an employer to professionals they know when positions open up.

–        Workers display your logo and information on apparel and other items they use in daily life such as T-shirts or water bottles.

–        You share employee information on your website.

Now, why is this necessary?

Why is employee advocacy important?

This is NOT a fleeting trend. Business leaders identified the many ways these methods benefit a company. They may even lead to you adjusting budgets (spending less) in certain departments.

Imagine this:

–        Saving money on recruitment because your employees inform top talent in your local company about an available position.

–        You’ll have a lower ETR (Employee Turnover Rate) since studies show someone recruited with the help of EA is more likely to stay than someone else.

–        You can have a bigger impact with marketing. Consumers are more likely to believe what employees say about a company or its products than when your CEO speaks about his or her own company in a public ad.

–        This can improve sales figures if used as part of sales methods.

–        Your online audience will grow since posts by individuals are shared more often than those placed online by brands themselves.

–        Acquiring more leads because your information is being shared all over the web, gaining momentum by being shared on personal profiles. That means you can spend less on marketing!

So, why waste money, time and energy if there’s an easier solution, right?

Who really benefits from employee advocacy?

You’ve already seen the many ways this will empower your business, so the company is a beneficiary. But the employee can draw as many benefits:

–        The methods used in EA can add to people’s sales techniques which means they’ll sell more.

–        These tactics usually lead to employees building their online profiles and developing their networks. This can only be beneficial for their careers in future.

–        Employees whose work depends on networking get more opportunities without having to work after hours.

How do you motivate employee to join the project?

Of course, your workers may be a bit hesitant to join in. They need reason to open up their personal (digital) space and allow your company in. Although they’ll quickly realisr the benefits (mentioned above) you can use these methods to motivate and gather some momentum:

–        The what: A golden rule in business is to ensure your employees are empowered; so give them the information and tools to do this task. It’s not about sharing random ideas, but promoting specific posts, content, items or company values. (Yes, you need a strategy to get this right). If you don’t want them to lose interest because you criticize what they share, make sure they know your expectations.

–        The how: You can even provide some training, especially on using social media management tools. If you make it easy for them, they’ll do more.

–        The why: Kickstart the process with a few incentives. You can offer compensation for certain goals reached or make it a competition and give prizes for those with the most engagements, leads generated or confirmed sales.

Think back to times when you were in employees’ shoes. What would make you excited about a new project?

Which department needs employee advocacy?

As mentioned, you need a strategic plan for EA. Here’s what you can’t forget: Almost ALL departments will benefit from this, so don’t leave anyone out of your tactics:

–        HR must always inform the workforce when they need to fill positions. Employees must receive guidelines so they know who to refer. New technology systems can monitor the understaffed or overstaffed and entire recruitment process.

–        Sales can use EA tools (This is usually called social selling).

–        Marketing departments need to develop content or help guide employees on what to say.

Important tip: Don’t forget about assigning someone to handle analytics so you can determine the effect and where you need to improve.

You know how effective word of mouth is. Now it’s your employees’ words that matter. And social media and technology turned this into a dynamic tool no business leader can do without anymore.

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