Who are your advocates?

There’s a lot of talk in the social media world about employee advocacy; the act of your employees sharing brand content through their own social media accounts. The popularity of employee advocacy programs stems from its proven ability to drive increased leads and awareness for and of the brands.

A study by LinkedIn in March 2016 uncovered that employees receive 2x higher click through rates than their employer sharing the same content. With results like this, it’s not surprising that employee advocacy is going down a storm.

Furthermore, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family when making a buying decision (Nielsen). So if sharing brand content through other advocates can further influence buying decisions then it’s massively worth it.

The question is, which other advocates other than your employees could you be utilising more effectively and how can this be implemented?

Sales partners
If you sell indirectly to customers such as through channel partners – resellers, retailers, and wholesalers – why not involve them in your advocacy program and enable them to share your social media content too? By doing this they will grow their online presence, whilst enabling you, the brand, to increase your potential reach, thus benefiting both parties. And who knows a lead may even be generated.

From a recent survey we conducted with Microsoft’s partners, 80% said they lacked time to post content on social media, with a further 68% saying they lacked content to share. So by enabling your partners to share your content, you are actually helping them resolve this issue.

I’m not going to go into too much detail about employees, but what I will say is, don’t just limit the sharing of content to your marketing team. This is where businesses go wrong. Encourage all employees to share your content. Yes, not all content will be of interest to all employees, but by using a sophisticated social media platform you can categorise the type of content and choose who to send it to. An example being product news to the tech department, or commercial content to your sales team(s). You do not need to share the same content to all employees, tailor it to their interests, as this way you will receive a higher number of employees sharing your content on social media.

Enabling customers to share your social media content is a really interesting one. Everyone loves to look at reviews before making a purchase decision. So if you encourage your ‘best’ and most proactive customers to share your content, you can effectively achieve the following:

  • Sway buying decisions and drive increased leads
  • Increase brand reach
  • Create brand loyalty

Influencers cover a full spectrum of individuals. This can include celebrities, industry thought-leaders or in general anyone who likes your brand and can affect an individual’s decision. You do have to be a little careful here though as you do not want to make it look false. It is important that it comes across as if they are sharing your content due to their genuine interest and loyalty to your brand, not because of a monetary reward. If this is the case it will be so obvious to all, and you might as well not have bothered.

Invest in the right program
An interesting statistic I have just seen states that 83% of organizations view advocacy/reference contributions as critical or important, yet most advocacy programs receive just 10%of marketing program dollars’ (Sirius decisions). For this reason, it’s important to do your research and find the right program for your brand, to prove its value and transformational ability, encouraging further investment in the future.

So yes it’s time, if you haven’t already done so, to encourage your employees to share your content on social media, but while you’re at it you might as well enable all of your advocates to share your content too. This way you will reach a far greater audience and receive the recognition you’ve always dreamed of.