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Could employee advocacy be your brand’s new ‘secret weapon’ on social?

4 min read - by Fi Shailes - Social Strategist

Could employee advocacy be your brand’s new ‘secret weapon’ on social?

If you’re a B2B marketer, you’ll already know that social media is an essential channel to harness. According to recent research by Accenture, 61% of B2B transactions begin online, and at least 51% of B2B customers turn to social media to conduct initial research regarding purchases.

But it’s a difficult channel to stand out on. Content saturation, ever-changing algorithms, tweaks to platform functionality, and the fact that your audience has a short attention span means that something more is needed in order to gain that competitive edge.

What’s also become apparent in recent years is that there’s a growing ‘thirst’ from B2B buyers for more ‘authenticity’ and integrity in the brands they’re researching and considering buying from.

It means that leveraging social media in the right way for your brand is not only necessary, but that it might also be your best chance to start building a genuine connection between your brand and potential customers. This is where establishing a strong employee advocacy programme can really be worth its weight in gold.

Quite simply, employee advocacy is “…the promotion of your company by the people who work for it” (LinkedIn). You only have to look at the plethora of research on this topic to quickly see how powerful it can be. LinkedIn’s own research revealed for example that content shared by employees gets reshared 24 times more frequently than a brand’s social channel content.

The benefits of developing and implementing a successful employee advocacy programme

You’re giving a boost to your brand’s reputation

Your senior-level employees and technical subject matter experts (SMEs) are highly trusted, and can therefore operate as powerful advocates on social media. And the beauty of showcasing your SMEs in their respective fields is that they can help make technical content and concepts more digestible for audiences.

In addition to these key stakeholders, having your broader workforce strategically sharing and posting appropriate social content can give a boost your brand’s credibility. All of these efforts combined can spark valuable new conversations and help your target audiences to build trust in your brand more quickly.

You’re increasing brand visibility

Increasing engagement between your target audience and your brand through employee-sharing means that your branded content is working harder, achieves more social reach and is more likely to make an impact with your audience – keeping you front mind during the buying journey. According to insight from LinkedIn:

Only 3% of employees share company-related content but they are responsible for driving a 30% increase in the content’s total likes, shares, and comments.

You’re supporting your sales team

Your sales team should already be using LinkedIn – it’s an essential sales tool because LinkedIn is simply the place to be for B2B business conversations, expanding your professional network, and general prospecting.

By deploying an advocacy programme, you can support sales efforts by promoting content which complements their 1-2-1 conversations in a timely manner.

You’re making employees feel empowered

As well as the business benefits of an employee advocacy programme, there are also positive ‘knock-on effects’ a good advocacy programme can trigger. Working as one team, democratising campaigns and incentivising teams and individuals can really boost morale, empower employees and contribute to a happier workplace.

Want some proof? Take a look at Altimeter’s research report, which states that when employees were asked how they felt after sharing work-related content, the leading response was “I feel more connected and enthusiastic about the company I work for.”

And there’s a positive impact on recruitment too

Companies with an effective employee advocacy programme are 58% more likely to attract top talent. It’s not only about recruitment though; there is evidence to suggest that it can have a significant impact on retaining staff too. All of this ultimately contributes to better business performance and improved service levels to customers too.

All of this is good for sales revenue

A study conducted by the Aberdeen Group indicated that companies with a formal employee advocacy programme in place experienced a 26% increase in year-on-year revenue.

Get with the programme

When you’re planning your go-to-market strategies this year – consider whether there’s a place for employee advocacy.

Can you leverage an employee advocacy programme to your advantage, with some time spent careful planning and coordination? The pay-off over time could be huge for your brand.

When you consider that socially engaged companies are:

  • 40% more likely to be perceived as competitive
  • 57% more likely to get increased sales leads, and;
  • 58% more likely to attract top talent

…isn’t it worth giving an employee advocacy programme for your organisation some serious thought?

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