This week, Sociabble CEO Jean-Louis Benard had the unique opportunity to present some of our latest thinking on employee advocacy at the CMO digital insight summit in Scotland. Hosted by GDS, and attended by industry leaders like Unilever, Danone, Pepsi, UBS, and Uber, the summit offered a unique opportunity to share ideas with innovators at the forefront of digital marketing. In his presentation, Jean-Louis focused on the five reasons companies still need to incorporate employee advocacy into their online marketing strategy. Here is a summary of what he shared.
Employee Advocacy Still Matters
Employee advocacy has been a buzzword for a few years now. And more than a few companies have noticed that the levels of engagement, even from top management, are not always what they had hoped. Many have stated that it’s not always easy to attach an exact number to the return on investment. Others take issue with “the bot effect” and compliance problems. And over all, some marketing leaders just don’t see employee advocacy as a critical project. But while all of these points are occasionally true, a strong employee advocacy program should still be considered a crucial part of every company’s online marketing strategy. It really does make a difference. And here are five reasons why:
1. Amazing Potential Reach
The nature of social media means that even a relatively small number of online supporters can result in a tremendous amount of reach. And if you get a substantial percentage of your workforce on board, the possibilities are endless. For example: if your company has just 100 employee advocates with a social network of 500 people, with just 10 shares a month, you’ve already created 500,000 touchpoints. That potential for reach is why employee advocacy can be so effective, even if you start out small.
2. The Magic of Trust
We live in an age when the general public doesn’t always trust the messaging of corporate entities. But they do trust their friends. And when a recommendation comes via their own online social network, it truly means something. 92% of social media users trust content shared by people they know, versus only 36% for content used in social media ads. And 90% of internet users consider consumer recommendations to be the most credible form of advertising. The benefits are clear—people simply listen to and trust people they already know.
3. The Change in Algorithms
To address recent issues with unreliable news feeds and the proliferation of bots, social networks have changed their algorithms. As a result, the public will see less content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. This reemphasis on individuals and their interactions means that their voice will have more weight than ever. Their advocacy for brands they love will be amplified as well. Which also means that having employees who actually believe in brands will make a huge difference in how those brands are perceived by the public.
4. You’ll Learn about Content
Employee advocacy is also a unique insight into what kind of content generates engagement—both for the workforce, and their larger networks. These insights are extremely valuable. It’s almost like an online focus group of sorts, when it comes to knowing how consumers perceive the brand and how to improve and enhance that perception. Understanding this kind of concept allows companies to focus and tailor their marketing efforts. It lets them know what people really are interested in, and what they really want.
5. It Lends Authenticity to Your Brand
The last, although perhaps most obvious reason, is that employee advocacy already has a proven track record of success—it has helped lend authenticity and humanize brands, which is crucial in the digital era. It’s already been used by popular companies around the world, with positive results. At Sociabble, we’ve worked with the likes of Coca-Cola, Walt Disney, BNP Paribas, Microsoft, Renault, and we’ve seen firsthand the difference that a well-run employee advocacy program can make. Having employees who believe in their brands and share that enthusiasm is a necessary part of marketing in the online, digital era. And with the right strategy and platform, it’s well within your reach.
If you’d like to learn more about how Sociabble can help your company launch an employee advocacy initiative, click here.