I recently had the pleasure of attending one of the biggest marketing conferences of the year—Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit. A gathering of hundreds of marketing executives, partners, and thought leaders from around the world came together to learn about the latest marketing trends and strategies in the new “Engagement Economy”.

The “Engagement Economy” represents a clear shift in the way marketers communicate with customers. It focuses on delivering a personalized and authentic experience that stems from trust and commitment. To succeed in this new climate, you must adapt your tactics and shift your brand to become more human and digital native-friendly.

But how can you embrace this new concept? How can you bring it into the present? Simple—with employee advocacy. Employee advocacy allows you to fast forward your social media marketing strategy by empowering employees to share organic content across their personal profiles, in turn, driving brand awareness, engagement, and lead generation. To get started, here are three steps to building a successful employee advocacy strategy:

1. Identify Your Goals and KPI’s

Like with any social media strategy, you need to envision what success looks like. What goals are you trying to achieve? Which metrics will you use to measure those goals?

To make things easier, here are two groups of metrics you can focus on:

  • Tactical Metrics: These metrics (also known as early stage metrics) give you a granular insight into the success of individual posts, networks, and employees. It includes impressions, shares, clicks, etc.
  • Revenue Metrics: These metrics (also known as mid- and late-stage metrics) play a larger role in giving you an accurate picture of how advocacy drives opportunities and revenue for the business. For example, tracking leads, cost per lead, and closed deals will help you identify the program’s true ROI. For a more complete picture of how advocacy impacts sales, you can integrate your employee advocacy platform with your engagement platform/marketing automation and CRM to see how leads collected by employees turn into revenue by sales.

2. Understand which Content Types will be Shared

The oft-cited “Content is King” saying applies to employee advocacy too. First, your content must align with your goals, and second, it needs to be relevant to your employees’ role in the company and type of audience.

At the very least, it should include the following:

  • 70% original content: The bulk of your content should be original—articles, white papers, videos, case studies, webinars, etc. that have been created by your marketing team and are lead generating.
  • 20% curated content: Besides promoting our own product or service, employees should receive valuable third-party content to educate their audience in a less self-promotional manner.
  • 10% suggested content: The best way to empower employees to share content is by allowing them to suggest useful topics. This will go a long way to demonstrate your appreciation for their work.

3. Select Employee Advocates & Establish Buy-In

While every employee can benefit from participating in an advocacy program, you must determine which employees most effectively deliver your message. Customer-facing employees, particularly in sales, marketing, and customer success, should be your top priority to engage and retain in your advocacy program. And, that’s not to say that your other employees don’t have value—because they do. It’s your goal to ensure your employees remain invested in the program by reiterating the value to them.

There are two ways to incentivize employees. First, through tangible rewards, which have a monetary value, such as gift cards, restaurant vouchers, and movie tickets. The alternative is through intangible rewards, which have a long-term meaning, including:

  • Social Selling: Your sales reps are going to benefit the most from being advocates. 78% of salespeople who utilize social media as part of their sales techniques outperformed their non-social peers. The result is that they have a much greater impact on revenue and business growth.
  • Thought Leadership: This is an invaluable status to have today. Actively sharing quality content turns employees into a credible and sought-after influencer in the industry. With this trustworthy voice, they have the ability to drive more traffic and leads for you.

Ready, Steady, Go!

The new era of Engagement Economy is here and it’s up to you to make the transition. Today, the smartest B2B marketers are going into the future with a strategy that aligns business goals with a personalized customer experience. A well-planned employee advocacy program can help you make that transformation, from boosting your online brand to driving positive social media ROI.