Thanks to Susan Emerick (@sfemerick), CEO and founder of Brands Rising, Lori Grey (@lsgrey) of Deloitte and Alex Cramer (@cramer1000) of Dynamic Signal for an informative presentation on empowering and engaging employees to help drive customer adoption and engagement.
I've written before about how loyal employees = loyal customers.
More and more brands are empowering their employees to support the goals of the brand by using content and employee-owned social media expertise and contacts.
When you consider the number of social media contacts and followers your brand has versus that of all of your employees, you have a tremendous opportunity to increase the reach of your message by asking your employees to share your messages and information of value with their social networks as well as your customers and prospects.
Besides, employees generate more trust than companies:
- 84% of people trust recommendations from people they know while only 15% trust recommendations from brands (Gartner).
- 70% of customer brand perception is determined by experiences with people (Market Leader).
- Leads developed through employee social marketing convert 7X more than other leads (IBM).
- People like to do business with those they know, like and trust. Employees humanize your brand.
There are several steps to building an employee advocacy program:
- Determine the "best fit" candidates.
- Provide training, remove doubt.
- Reward and recognize.
- Already have a strong social media footprint.
- Comfortable collaborating online.
- Find value in creating and nurturing relationships via social media.
- Demonstrate a long-term commitment to sustained engagement.
- Open to coaching, guidance and learning from data.
There are several steps you can take to provide training and remove doubt given that people and companies have concerns about employees posting on social media on behalf of the company:
- Provide education and training on social media best practices, as well as any restrictions the company may have based on industry requirements.
- Have peer mentoring or teammates you can bounce questions off of.
- Provide an online source of content that's preapproved -- prewritten, preapproved share text that employees can customize. This ensures consistent messaging and eliminates the need for employees to develop information of value from scratch.
Personalize the content you are asking your employees to share:
- Employees will be much more comfortable with, and likely to share, content that's relevant to them personally and professionally. They'll also be more comfortable personalizing for the channel or the audience.
- Use sign-up forms to create groups to know which topics or industries interest which people.
- Use groups to tag and distribute content.
Reward and recognize those employees that are helping spread the company message via social media:
- Professional recognition is having contributors recognized by their peers and executive management about what they are doing, as well as their accomplishments.
- External recognition is showcasing individuals as industry thought-leaders giving them an opportunity to represent, or speak on behalf of, the company at industry functions.
Do you have an employee advocacy program in place?
How are your employees' activities benefitting the company?