Why Employees Are Your Most Valuable Brand Advocates
Sometimes in the quest for answers we fail to see what’s right in front of our noses.
That’s often how it is with content distribution – you’ve created something you’re proud of and now you want the world to see it. You share it through social, notify key influencers and do some paid amplification. Yet in the rush to reach as large an audience as possible in the shortest amount of time, you’ve missed out a powerful group of social influencers who care about your brand.
These brand advocates I’m talking about are your employees. Getting your content in front of the right people is a challenge for every brand. So why do so many miss this opportunity to give it that initial lift? Whenever your business has employees sharing content with friends, family and wider social networks on their own terms the result is greater engagement with a larger pool of people.
As best-selling author and marketing consultant Jay Baer says, if these people aren’t passionate about your brand then your problems go way deeper than effective use of social media. Your employees define the culture of your business so they should be part of your story. When they have a voice it gives that story greater authenticity and diversity. It comes to life.
Oh yes, and it hasn’t cost you anything beyond the time and effort needed to nurture this sense of inclusion.
What Is Employee Advocacy
The concept encourages employees to go above and beyond their everyday responsibilities and promote your business across multiple channels. Talking about your brand’s values, mission and purpose are valuable parts of employee advocacy.
When employees are happy at work they feel engaged with the company’s goals. They actually want to amplify brand content that aligns with their sense of self-identity. At the crux of it all, it’s about employees stepping outside of what they do every day to maximise their social capital for the benefit of the brand because they believe in it.
Questions You Need To Ask
Before engaging in employee advocacy you need to consider what kind of relationship you want to develop. To set realistic expectations your answer should be based on the skills and attributes of existing employees. This can be a foundation for maximising engagement by providing authentic and trustworthy content to more targeted audiences.
Effective audience engagement is reliant on building relationships. When your business encourages employees to interact with customers, these interactions can develop into authentic and trusted relationships between employees and your wider audience.
Times Are Changing
Like anything new, it’s never black and white and there will be challenges. You’ll need to decide on appropriate levels of approval, striking a balance that retains some level of control without stifling the conversation. For this to work you need to feel some degree of trust in what your employees have to say. Training and education is always a better approach than rule books.
CEOs used to be a single source of company truth but this is changing. Thought leadership is no longer just for leaders. Your customers want to hear more from the people who are on the front-line of service delivery making it all happen. Enabling this is also a great way to give staff an opportunity to grow, making them feel like valued members of the team.
Are You Ready?
Planning is paramount before you get started. Clearly communicating your content strategy will make it easier for employees to alignment with your goals. Be sure to set realistic expectations for all involved but make a start sooner rather than later. Very few organisations have mature employee advocacy programs in place, so why not beat the crowd and get ahead of your competition?