One of the most difficult things you need to do as a brand – or marketer – is to get your audience to trust your brands or services.
This is due to the belief that whatever you say is stained with an agenda to sell your product or service. Unfortunately, this problem remains even when you’re honest about the value you can offer your audience.
For instance, according to research commissioned by 4As, only 4% of Americans think advertisers and marketers practice integrity. When asked why media people lie, 69% believe it’s to “sell” more.
So how do you get your audience to trust your brand messages?
In this blog post, discover how your employees can help boost trust in your brand through employee advocacy.
What is Employee Advocacy?
Employee advocacy is the process of getting your employees to deliver your brand messages to their friends and followers, especially on social media. Employees can share messages about your brand to increase brand awareness, acquire more leads and even convert customers.
Having said this, another question that would naturally come up is: why is employee advocacy an effective marketing strategy for businesses?
Here are 3 reasons every business should consider running an employee advocacy campaign:
- Employees are more trustworthy to their audience: due to the relationships your employees have built with their friends and followers, they naturally attract more trust. In this case, their audience has bought into their person. As a result, they’re likely to trust their messages and take action.
- Employees have a wider reach and attract better engagement: to reach a bigger audience, you need to get your employees involved in marketing your brand. According to LinkedIn’s executive editor, Daniel Roth, a company’s employees have 10 times the number of social media followers the company has. Even though only 2% of employees reshare their company’s content, they account for 20% of the engagement.
- Employees become more engaged at work: when employees promote your business, they start to see themselves as an important part of the company. Furthermore, they become more engaged and contribute to the company’s success.
But to gain these benefits, you need to plan and have an employee advocacy strategy in place. Here are 7 points to keep in mind to create an effective employee advocacy strategy.
1. Specify Goals and Vital Metrics
To achieve the best results from employee advocacy, you need to be clear about your goals. Common goals for employee advocacy include:
- Brand awareness
- Lead acquisition
- Revenue increase
- Customer acquisition
Whatever goal you set for your campaign, state the metrics that determine the achievement of your goal. For instance, if your goal is brand awareness, are you tracking the number of likes or visits to your website?
Of course, to track your metrics effectively, you need the right tools. If you’re tracking visits to your website, Google Analytics will show traffic from social platforms and their behaviour.
Furthermore, you can track conversion goals on these pages if, for example, you want to capture their details.
If your goal is to capture leads, CRM software like HubSpot or an email service provider like ConvertKit can track the number of acquired leads. Also, you can add these leads to automatic sequences for further processing.
2. Select the Right Social Media Channels for Your Campaigns
According to your buyer persona, some social media channels are more suitable for your campaigns. Where does your ideal audience hang out?
To put it another way, what channels have been effective for your social media campaigns? For employee advocacy, the rule of thumb is to ensure employees use these channels to promote your company.
After settling on social media channels for your campaign, track the number of your employees’ followers to have an idea of your potential reach. Here’s an example from a Humana employee on Facebook. Without a doubt, this can attract better talents to the company.
3. State Content Types that Align with Goals
As a matter of fact, your content message and type will determine how your employee’s audience engages with their updates. Common content types for social media include:
In most cases, there’s a combination of text and another content type. Over the years, visuals have become more popular on social media. And that’s no surprise considering that the brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text.
But what type of visuals will work best with your audience? This depends on your audience’s preference or the type of message you’re trying to send.
Here’s a Lush employee sharing a video of a cat that got glitters from a Lush product.
4. Develop Guidelines for Employee Advocacy
When your employees promote your company on their social media profiles, they’re representing your company.
Therefore, it’s your responsibility to ensure their message content properly represents your company’s voice.
To achieve this, you need to create guidelines for employee advocacy.
These guidelines explain your company’s culture, rules and policies of interactions on social media, prohibited messages, and other vital details.
However, while creating your guidelines, avoid stifling your employees’ creativity. Your guidelines shouldn’t be so strict that your employees’ messages sound scripted. Because if this happens, their audience will easily notice a deviation from their usual tone. And thus, the message will be less effective.
5. Get Your Employees on Board with Advocacy Campaigns
Think of this: how easy is it to get a dissatisfied employee to promote your company? Not so easy.
For employees to fully get on board with employee advocacy, they have to trust the company and have a high level of satisfaction with their jobs.
This is supported by the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer which revealed that employees are twice as likely to engage in employee advocacy if they trust their employer.
Therefore, you have to ensure employees are satisfied and engaged before advocacy campaigns. Improving work conditions and team bonding activities like vacations, picnics, and charity events can increase employee engagement.
As a result, the decision of turning to an advocate becomes easier.
Look at this example of Cisco gamifying employee advocacy:
6. Select the Right Employee Advocates
As much as you want all employees to become advocates, only a few of them would be right candidates. To put it simply, some workers are anything but social.
For better engagement, you want an employee advocate who is active on social media. First, these employees are likely to have big social media followings. Second, they’re likely to attract better engagement due to popularity with their friends and followers.
Obviously, there will be more of these employees in the marketing department. But employee advocacy should involve every department. Every employee can advocate based on their expertise and how they use it in your company.
This approach looks natural to their audience and is likely to attract more engagement. Here’s an example of a new Starbucks employee with a message related to his expertise:
7. Use an Employee Advocacy Tool to Aid the Process
Running an employee advocacy campaign can be difficult and time-consuming if you want to do it right.
How do you track and monitor your employees’ messages?
How do you follow up with campaign results?
This is almost impossible without an employee advocacy tool. With an employee advocacy tool, you can see a list of your employees involved in a campaign.
Furthermore, their campaign updates on social media are on a single platform. Which makes it easier to ensure messages fit into your company’s tone.
A tool that helps with your employee advocacy campaigns is Easy Advocacy. This is a free tool from Agorapulse that allows you to set up your campaigns and add contributors to it.
From a single dashboard, employees can schedule their messages. Moreso, you can track performance metrics of each contributor such as:
- Number of views
- Number of likes
- Number of comments
- Number of clicks
With these, it’s easier to understand the effectiveness of your campaign and each contributor. Furthermore, these pieces of information make it easier to adjust your strategy.
When your marketing department promotes your company, there’s a natural scepticism from the target audience. However, employee advocacy can help fix these trust issues and make your audience receptive to your messages.
Because your employees’ personal relationships with their audiences is a platform that can eliminate distrust. Create an employee advocacy campaign today and reach more potential customers.