Why Employee Advocacy Is Every Middle-Market Company’s Lifeline

August 24, 2015 Russ Fradin

Social media has become the hub for brand-to-consumer interactions. But can it actually produce measurable results?

With the help of internal advocates, social can become your most powerful sales force. In fact, a lead developed through employee social marketing is seven times more likely to close compared to other leads.

So it comes as no surprise that more mid-market companies are looking internally to gain a competitive advantage and underpin their marketing efforts. Partnering with employees can enhance your company’s social media strategy with a more authentic voice, boost engagement, and fortify trust with audiences — a critical component in B2C and B2B relationships. Through a robust employee advocacy program, computer software corporation Domo has reported that it generated more than 1,000 shares, resulting in more than 300,000 impressions and a 9.6 percent conversion rate for its Dreamforce marketing campaign.
But before you can reap these rewards and others, you need to understand the hurdles that prevent many middle-market companies from getting a strategy off the ground.

Breaking Free From Employee Advocacy Challenges
When implementing employee advocacy programs, mid-market companies face a few overarching challenges: limited staff and tools, countless ongoing projects, and not enough time to handle it all.

Because these programs take time to properly strategize, plan, launch, and maintain, mid-market companies often can’t reap the full rewards of employee advocacy. Measurement can also slip through the cracks as marketers bounce from one task to the next, failing to properly track and analyze results. But with no sense of what’s working and what isn’t, you can’t optimize these efforts.

Luckily, technology can solve many of these issues by streamlining your employee advocacy program, allowing you to juggle competing priorities with ease. Tracking and measuring tech can provide critical insight into the who, what, and where of the program, and having a one-stop shop to manage the people, content, and workflow will set the program up for success.

3 Strategies for Implementing Employee Advocacy Programs
Employee advocacy isn’t just a way to increase content engagement, brand awareness, employee productivity, and event registrations; mid-market companies can also downplay the cost per lead and reinforce company culture.

Once you’re ready to take the plunge with employee advocacy, start with these best practices:

  • Embrace early adopters. Employees today value their personal brand and strive to be thought leaders in their industry, providing a natural opportunity to discuss your brand. Find the employees who are most willing and eager to adopt the program, and leverage their support and skills. Many already have a deep-rooted social presence — and their networks likely outweigh your company execs’. Plus, brand messages shared by employees reach 561 percent further and are shared 24 times more than messages distributed by the brand itself.
  • Lead by example. Employees look to company execs as models for behavior. Demonstrate how easy it is to become an employee advocate by actively participating in the program from day one. The more employees see their superiors participating, the more likely they’ll be to dive in themselves. And as another incentive, 77 percent of customers are more likely to choose a company with a CEO who’s active on social media.

You can even integrate employee advocacy into your onboarding process like SurveyMonkey did to bolster employee engagement. Through this approach, SurveyMonkey empowers employees to share exciting company news with their friends and connections. And as a bonus, companies with engaged employees outperform other companies by up to 202 percent.

  • Tie the launch to an event. A product launch, a news announcement, or an industry event can be the perfect launching pad to catapult your program forward. It gives employees a specific directive for their participation, and once it’s completed, you can easily segue into other initiatives.

The success of your marketing efforts hinges on your ability to reach and engage potential customers; it’s all about getting your message out there. Your employees have the power to disseminate impactful brand messages to the masses and the trust to transform audiences into loyal brand advocates. Let your employees take the reins on social, and you’ll wonder how your company ever survived without their vocal support.

This articles originates from Middle Market Executive

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