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5 Ways Employee Advocacy Benefits Brands The golden bridge over social as brand advocacy powers up your brand

By Ajit Narayan

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If the current global trends on word of mouth marketing and social content advocacy are anything to go by, teams of passionate employees are probably the best marketing army that you need to tap into.

It takes passion, a sense of involvement as well as a strong belief in the brand for an employee to have a share it. But, if done right, Employee Advocacy is a powerful tool around which brands can augment their social media marketing.

Here are five ways in which a structured programme delivers a big bang for the buck spent:

1. Improved Corporate Communications

Communication is a critical aspect of businesses from ages and the trend continues. Imagine an internal army that's within your company available to lend their support on amplifying positive news, engagement and reliable, first person account of what's happening?

That's what an effective employee advocacy program delivers to amplify both internally and externally. Covert and clear messaging, amplified by people who are trusted more than brands, or third-party sources.

Result? Improved trust, credibility and positive reputation for the corporate.

A leading tech company in India, used thought leadership as the content tactic and brought in their most engaged internal ambassadors to the field. And this resulted 4X above any industry average on most counts of reach and traffic to their content. enhancing their brands thought leadership reach.

2. Expanding Credibility

Brand Advocacy is about people and their personal networks. Most research around word of mouth proves beyond doubt that people are perceived as more credible and trustworthy sources compared to brands.

Prospects and customers are more receptive to recommendations by trusted sources rather than faceless corporate messages. When implemented strategically, brand advocacy results in positive word-of-mouth, introducing prospective consumers and engaging existing ones.

Social shares have higher potential to drive lead generation, improve overall sales and marketing efforts. Employee advocates also become experts and thought leaders to steer customers through the buying journey.

3. Incremental Efficiency in Recruitment

As a business, attracting and retaining the right talent has significant implications on business performance. Corporate reputation and company culture has become a critical element in the candidate decision making process. for taking up employment.

Brand advocacy helps improve brand value and visibility of the corporate brand and helps project the culture of the organisation right from the horses mouth … the employees.

Good people look for career opportunities, learning, growth, network, and most importantly, what people working in that company are saying about the place. No. Not what your company is saying. But what people are saying.

People are sharing content about the culture and also in the form of referrals, reviews and real engagement while at work. Brand Advocacy through employees powers up the corporate angle and acts as a validation for any PR activity for Employer Branding.

Coming from employees directly it is worth more than any advertising campaign for recruitment. And can play a key role in shaping the Employer Brand to resonate with your audience.

4. Socialising Sales & Marketing

Customer think rationally. But they decide emotionally. Social media presents a personal platform for sales professionals to influence purchasing decisions of their prospects. It's easier to connect and lead towards sales conversations than by just hustling up a hard sell.

LinkedIn reports that merely 3per cent of employees on average share company-related content, but they drive a 30per cent increase in the same content's overall likes, shares, and comments.

The writing is on the wall. The old fashioned hustling and hard sell is on its way out. Enter the world of social selling. The network helps people find the right addressable market and people to connect and converse.

Sales folk can now address customer needs, solve challenges and respond in real time to convert cold outreaches into warm conversations with real people. Businesses across the globe attributed their substantial increase in sales to the social engagement of their sales team.

And that's not all. Sales teams can now add their own personality to the templated marketing content and give it a personalised flavour to suit their one on one interactions.

5. Creating Lasting Employee Engagement

Brand Advocacy is a two-way street. It's not just about people sharing content. The question is who shares business or own branded content? Not everyone.

So, who are engaged employees? Engaged employees are "those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace."

They are in sync with the purpose of the company and brand. And, are an active participant. Are you as a brand connecting with them? Is the leadership of the company involving them with not just the tasks, but with broader corporate goals? Your internal content strategy defines how well your company communicates and encourages participation.

Brand advocacy may seem a usual corporate mandate initially to employees. But by bringing in leadership involvement and taking it beyond just social media to actual experiential activation, you drive employee engagement tangibly. And to do this you need a tool that helps you organise your content and give moments of engagement to your employees. Which in turn becomes something that they can share with their networks.

Companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202per cent. —Dale Carnegie Training Therefore, employee advocacy has become a must have for organizations to thrive in the current digital transformation age!

Ajit Narayan

CMO and Program Head - SOCXO

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