As you aware, we live in the ‘Trust’ economy and it has become the new marketing currency today. With the proliferation of digital and social technologies in the workplace, employees have become both digital and social savvy. So, employee advocacy has become a buzzword in today’s digital world. An effective employee advocacy program can result in a 5x increase in web traffic and 25% more leads (Source: Inc How Great Companies Engage in Employee Advocacy Beyond Simply Sharing Content ). No surprise! It has a strategic business potential to become the ‘Next stage’ of marketing. The following are the drivers of employee advocacy:
- Rise of digital workplaces
- Social media is the ultimate power behind this emerging opportunity
- New generation of employees are digitally empowered
- Evidence of a multi-generational workforce
From the front office to CEO, many companies are leveraging its untapped marketing assets – Employees! Trust me; they are your valuable spokespeople and a secret Digital PR weapon to boost your social brand reach online. Here are five E’s for creating an effective employee advocacy program within your organization:
1. Executive buy-in for your employee advocacy program (Executives lead by example)
The executives play an important role in effective implementation of employee advocacy platform. Get their full support and buy-in for your program roll-out in your organization. According to a recent survey by Hinge Research Institute and Social Media Today, organizations with employee advocacy programs have seen increased brand visibility, improved brand recognition, and better brand loyalty.
They need to lead by example for adopting this new-generation marketing tool to build company’s social and personal brand online. This, in turn, will improve an initial adoption of your employee advocacy platform among your trusted employee brand advocates. Trust me; they’ll hop onto your platform quickly.
2. Educate (Impart training)
The first and foremost for a successful employee advocacy program is to identify a pool of potential employee brand advocates within your organization. Identify and give them with requisite training to embark on an employee advocacy journey. The training includes the hands-on tool navigation, how-to-guides, FAQs, online learning, and face-face workshop. It instills a confidence among your employee brand advocates in adopting a new gen tool at ease.
3. Entertain (Apply Gamification)
Every one of us loves games for entertainment in our personal lives. Why not apply it in the real-time business world? Employee advocacy is a new-gen marketing concept in which employees are encouraged to share brands’ messages through their personal social networks. Due to the advent of new workplace technologies, business leaders face a lot of challenges in adopting new-gen tools among their employees. Gamification enables a culture of sharing and a friendly competition among employee brand advocates through innovative challenges, points, and contests to address the overall business goal of this new-gen marketing initiative. So, integrating gamification into an employee advocacy platform is a win-win situation for both employers and employees in the long run.
4. Engage your employee advocacy program (Create a culture of collaborative sharing)
Modern marketers rely heavily on social media marketing to create online brands, increase web traffic and nurture brand advocates. However, they fail to empower their employees to amplify the branded content through their personal social channels.
To sustain the benefits of employee advocacy programs, modern marketers should turbo-charge their advocacy initiatives through innovative challenges to drive continuous motivation and boost sharing activities of their employee brand advocates:
- Becoming a thought leader: Empower employees to increase their competency in respective industry domains.
- Bringing new businesses: Employee brand advocates can bring new businesses by sharing their domain expertise with their social media followers.
- Creating a culture of collaborative sharing: Foster team collaboration among employees to share the most relevant social content consistently.
The onus lies with the Business Leaders to recognize the top employee brand advocates on an ongoing basis (monetary and non-monetary rewards) using a variety of communication channels such as an internal newsletter, intranet, social channels, town-hall meetings, email communication and so on.
5. Evangelist (Train the trainer’s approach)
You have empowered your initial employee brand advocates to weigh in on the benefits of employee advocacy program. Tap them as your ‘Internal Brand Evangelist’ for the next phase of employee advocacy implementation in your organization. Ask to share the best practices, benefits, and success of building their personal and company brand online. They, in turn, will conduct boot camps, workshops and online training for rapid adoption of this platform in the long run. Don’t forget to recognize your evangelists through proper internal communication channels such as emails, newsletters, town-hall meetings and so on.
In a nutshell, the ‘Always-on’ content helps you to increase your social engagement of your content and advocates. So, don’t underestimate the united power of employees’ content amplification in today’s modern marketing world. Content shared by employees receives 8X more engagement than content shared by brand channels (Source: Social Media Today ). Unleash the power of employee advocacy program to build a collaborative and engaged workforce!!!