This is a topic I’m hugely passionate about. I’m a marketer at heart so my natural instinct is to understand how investments impact the business in terms of either generating revenue or improving brand awareness.
Typically, the responsibility for employee advocacy sits within the Internal Communication domain – one that serves to support the HR function in building an engaged workforce and a strong employer brand in order to attract talent to the organisation.
I see advocacy as the future of marketing – we’ve been talking about pull marketing/inbound marketing/digital marketing for years. Well, this is the next stage. Advocacy marketing.
Paid media spend is being redirected to owned and earned . Trust in leaders has increased slightly (12% over last 5 years) but not nearly as much as trust in “regular employees and people like yourself” (20% over last 5 years). See below.
Building an army of advocates to humanize the brand and share expertise through storytelling is no longer a nice to have. It’s essential.
But employees shouldn’t be treated as another amplification channel for brands – that’s a cheap tactic and won’t win loyalty or engagement.
Employee advocacy, at its best, is when brands enable and encourage employees to CREATE their own content in order to build their personal profile. When brands pick this up and amplify on behalf of the employee, true ROI happens.
- The employee is likely to strengthen their engagement with the employer
- The content is authentic – it’s written by experts and not copywriters (which we know from Edelman Trust Barometer, buyers trust most)
- Finally, when 73% of B2B content marketers produced more content last year than 2013 with most marketers spending approx. 30% of their entire budget on content (Source: B2B Content Marketing 2014), why wouldn’t marketers look to the more cost effective goldmine of intelligence that sits down the corridor?
All said and done, the answer is not to wrap a KPI to an employee performance plan to the tune of “thou shall write 1 blog post per month in order to get your bonus”.
In my experience, content needs authenticity and passion behind it in order for it to fly successfully on social media. Forcing behaviours is a non-starter. Don’t even go there. You’ll waste your time.
Find your social superstars, invest in them, coach them to success and others will follow.Business & Finance Articles on Business 2 Community