A couple of weeks ago we took a look at the three main reasons why employees object to joining an employee advocacy program. To recap, these were:
- They are not sure what content they are allowed to share
- They do not know what content to share, or how to share it
- They do not see the value
In this week’s blog post, we are going to pay close attention to number three: employees not seeing value. This ultimately comes down to the rewards and gains that they can make should they get on board with an employee advocacy program. This is an area that many brands tend to neglect, as they are too focused on: 1) what the brand can gain and 2) deploying a tool.
Brands must take a step back and forget why marketing wants to do employee advocacy, to instead focusing their efforts to understanding what their employees can gain from joining the program. Employee advocacy programs are a failure waiting to happen if they do not define the benefits to the employees. We call this the “What’s in it for me?”. Now we are not talking about short term wins such as vouchers, parking spaces or additional days off work, we are talking about long term, meaningful rewards that will help effectively build and sustain their motivation.
1. Growing their personal brand
As we are all well aware, social media is a must have for all brands wanting to effectively reach, build trust and influence their target audience. We’re all social media crazy. Not only are we spending hours every single day passively scrolling through our social media feeds and watching stories, we’re looking up people on LinkedIn before we meet them in a professional capacity.
So, social media is becoming increasingly important when it comes to building your personal brand. Your social media profiles are often the first impression that people will have of you, before they even meet you. Employees being active on their social media profiles, sharing their opinions, insights and expertise, will bode very well for their personal brand and provide opportunities such as guest blogging, speaking slots and even new job opportunities.
2. Growing their network
Offline networking has undisputed value; it is always 9 times out of 10 about who you know, not what you know. The exact same applies to online networking. Social media has made it so much easier for everyone to build their network. You can build relationships with people online for years before you even meet, if ever. All it may take is sharing topical content regularly enough, tagging a select few experts in the industry, who then comment or re-share your content, exposing your content and you, to their network,
In your expanded network you may find someone that wants you to write some content on their website. You may find someone that is willing to offer you career advice. The benefits of expanding your network both offline and online are endless.
3. Directly affecting the bottom line
This may seem like an odd one to lead with, but bear with us. Employee advocacy is something that is often above and beyond a job description. So when your employees are sharing industry content, creating their own, and making meaningful connections, collectively this will make a difference. Brand awareness will increase, brand trust will increase, your brand’s perception will improve as your employees are positioned as knowledgeable subject matter experts.
All of this will mean that you’re able to close more deals, much quicker and often at much higher values. Communicating to your employees that they can personally contribute to the company’s success, and therefore their own success, will be motivating to the right kind of employees that you want on the program. Referencing stats such as: “leads generated through employees are 7 x more likely to convert”, will certainly help.
4. Hitting their sales targets
This point links in with the above point, but is more applicable to your sales team. Social selling is a subset of employee advocacy whereby your sales teams are not just building their personal brands and engaging with experts online, but also direct with prospects and their prospects’ influencers in order to more effectively build their sales pipeline and close more deals, quickly.
Thanks to the democratization of content and technology advancements (namely smart phones), consumers have more control, are savvier than ever and already have a pretty good idea of what they want before they even speak to a sales rep. In fact, 70% of the B2B buyer’s journey is complete before they even reach out to sales and 84% of C and VP level buyers use social media in their decision making process. So in order for sales to hit their targets and be successful, with this modern buyer’s journey, social media has to play a part.
The below visual from Hinge Research Institute demonstrates how much more successful organisations with a formal employee advocacy program are, by a long mile.
5. Professional success
You’ll notice that lots of these benefits tie into one another, especially this one. Having an establish personal brand, an extensive network and going above and beyond to make a difference and affect their employer’s success, will all contribute to great professional success. Your employees will be recognised as extremely high value to their current and future employers, opening up lots of new doors for opportunities.
Another great visual from Hinge Research Institute below demonstrating the effect that joining an employee advocacy program has had on the employees’ careers.
Want to learn how you can kick-start your employee advocacy program and accelerate your results by engaging with influencers? Get in touch by clicking the button below.