If you’re like most B2B marketers, you’re most likely juggling a handful of priorities and employee advocacy happens to be one of them.
“I’m not sure where employee advocacy fits in my priorities but it’s certainly on the list.” If you’re saying the same thing then you’re not alone. This is a phrase we hear often from our customers who are looking to launch a program but not sure when.
As marketers, we’re often faced with a constantly increasing to-do list of priorities. Whether it’s launching a new website and rebranding initiative or securing enough resources for content creation, it can be difficult to place a finger on where employee advocacy actually fits on your to-do list.
Do you wish you had a much larger marketing team or even a significantly larger marketing budget? Chances are yes but the reality is, you’re limited on time, budget and resources. This is why marketers often ask the question, “why employee advocacy and why now?” Well, no matter the priority there’s always an opportunity to improve your marketing strategy.
In this blog, I’ll share five real-life examples of how our customers have prioritized employee advocacy in their marketing strategy to make an immediate impact.
- New Website and Rebranding
- Sales Kickoff
- Major Trade Show or Event
- Improve Social Media Marketing
- Hiring Top Talent
1. New Website and Rebranding
These days, your audience’s perception of your brand is based on your website so a rebranding initiative shouldn’t be taken lightly. As the saying goes, “you don’t get a second chance at a first impression” and unsurprisingly this true for most marketers. A well-designed and executed website requires dedicated effort, time and resources.
Getting your website right is important because nothing can drive potential customers away from your brand as much as poor design, workflow, and brand experience.
A new website and rebranding initiative is often a significant milestone for an employee advocacy program. By aligning an employee advocacy launch with a new website, you can leverage your employees to help extend the reach of your website, thus driving more qualified traffic and engagement on key web pages and content. According to Adweek, 76% of individuals surveyed say that they’re more likely to trust content shared by “normal” people than content shared by brands.
By aligning a website launch and employee advocacy program, you can simultaneously inform your employees about the fresh new look and get them to share the update on social media. This creates an untapped distribution engine for website content with the added bonus of it coming from a trusted source.
As you’re doing a website overhaul and thinking about employee advocacy, here are some questions to ask?
- What channels should the new website be promoted on?
- How do I let the organization know when it’s launched?
- How can I drive quality traffic back to the website?
- Are my customer-facing teams informed about the update?
- How can I get immediate attention to the new website?
When your employees share your news, updates, and content about your website and rebranding to their social networks, they are giving your content their personal approval. As a result, they’re providing a helping hand in boosting website traffic and engagement as they have trust within their networks that most brands cannot replicate.
2. Sales Kickoff
If you’re close to ending the fiscal year, chances are your sales organization is in the midst of their annual sales kickoff. Often times, marketing teams play a critical role in this, because marketing teams are helping supply the right content, processes, and technology for sales. The annual (or quarterly) sales kickoff is often the ideal time for many B2B organizations to kick off an employee advocacy initiative.
Most organizations onboard their salespeople as the first group onto an advocacy platform. This is because employee advocacy can help your salespeople build their thought leadership and authority on social media. What’s fortunate about a sales kickoff is that your entire sales team will be present including reps, managers, and leaders. Your sales reps will be excited, motivated and pumped up for the upcoming fiscal year, so why not tap into that?
The objective of an SKO is to lay out the strategy for the upcoming year and to set the tone for the entire organization. Often times, our customers have set a timeline to launch employee advocacy during their sales kickoffs because new technology and strategies have helped everyone get off on the right foot.
As you plan new technology or strategies for the upcoming fiscal year, think about when the next major SKO will be happening. It’s a great opportunity to start your program and gain initial traction in sharing content – plus salespeople always love shiny new technology.
3. Major Trade Show or Event
One leading multinational bank with over 37,000 employees looked at employee advocacy as an approach to excite, inform and engage their large workforce. The organization was sponsoring a large sports event and thought their employees be an ideal way to increase the reach of the event.
The solution needed to be accessible on mobile, integrate with familiar social networks and provide a content-rich experience for employees. Implementing this kind of program would be an innovative way to unite employees around a global sporting event, and was the first program of this scale for this brand.
The company engaged their staff by curating engaging content, adding interactive games, and offering exciting prizes. In addition to sharing content individually, employees were grouped into teams to play against one another for a chance to win sports tickets. The bank was able to onboard over 2,000 employees onto the program in just two weeks. Over the next 45 days, employees shared more than 24,500 pieces of branded content with their networks.
4. Improve Social Media Marketing
If you’ve been managing social media for your organization, staying top-of-mind with your audience is an important aspect of your role. If you haven’t launched an employee advocacy program then it’s certainly a smart step to take your social media efforts to the next level.
According to Nielsen, 92% of individuals trust word-of-mouth recommendations, making it one of the most trusted forms of advertising. With declining organic reach on social media, employee advocacy harnesses an untapped resource right within the confines of your office – your employees.
The collective reach of your employees can span beyond that of your branded channels, especially if your employees are currently active on social networks. Instead of stretching your brand thin across multiple unused social channels, you can leverage your employees who have a presence on new networks such as Xing, Pinterest or even email.
5. Hiring Top Talent
Finding, attracting and recruiting top talent is always a priority for your brand and human resources department. Aligning on how to improve employer branding is often a key initiative that helps attract both passive and active candidates. The best talent can fuel the growth of your company significantly so it’s important your employer brand is front and center for ideal candidates.
Often times, your marketing team and human resources can prioritize employee advocacy when they foresee that they’ll be in growth mode and hiring talent.
Employee advocacy can be the most powerful initiative for your employer branding and social media efforts since your best brand advocates are often your employees. Your employees are engaged with their work, driven by the company mission and committed to its success – all things that make great advocates. Encouraging your employees to speak about your company’s value, culture and their experiences has the potential to reach thousands on social media.
Today, more than 70% of employers use social media to locate, communicate with, and screen potential hires. Employee advocacy has some unique features that allow you to recruit more qualified and better-aligned candidates. Through the personal social networks of your employees, you can:
- Connect with ideal candidates who may not be actively looking
- Create more engaging and authentic messaging
- Provide job seekers with an insider look into company culture and values
When to Implement Employee Advocacy
Finally, as you think about your current marketing strategy and when employee advocacy makes sense, I recommend you start with your existing projects. This will make it easier to digest the magnitude of any new initiatives and for you to plan a timeline accordingly.
Ensuring your employee advocacy program has the necessary content, training and launch strategy is important to look at. As you’re sifting through your to-do list, realize that there are always going to be new priorities on the horizon. Employee advocacy should be a priority for marketers because it can make an immediate impact on social media audience engagement, helping your brand stay top-of-mind and build trust with potential customers.