Customer Advocacy or advocacy of any kind is a marketing strategy that works as an addition to your overall marketing approach and is directed at encouraging your current clients/customers to “advocate” for your business, your products, and/or services, usually through social media but other online avenues as well.
But what does all that mean in terms of your company employees?
Can they advocate for you too?
The simple answer…yes, Hell Yes in fact. It’s called employee advocacy…but we’ll get to that.
For a business to encourage advocacy in customers, there are a few things you might attempt:
- Sell a product or service that excels throughout your lifecycle.
- Ensure your brand is an “experience” in and of itself.
- Your customer is the first thought in your brand’s mindset.
- Make customer advocacy as easy as a “share” button.
- Review your happy clients/customers and approach them to advocate on your behalf…possibly with a subscription/renewal reduction offer.
So, that’s the lean and clean approach for customer advocacy, but weren’t we talking about employee advocacy?
Yes, we were, and here’s how we do it.
Employee advocacy is the strategy by which we promote a brand or company that an individual works at. Your employee advocacy strategy would allow and support your employees in: amplifying company messages, sales events, promotions, and other elements which serve to increase your brands’ awareness to the potential and existing customer base.
Your employees would positively share about their experiences within the business and for those brands that believe in transparency, a look behind and into work life, day-to-day. This “behind the scenes” approach works incredibly well if you activate your employee advocacy as a recruitment tool as well.
Versions of Employee Advocacy
The tried and tested method is, what has become, a rather traditional greeting to the company. “Hello, INSERT NAME HERE, welcome to the business, here is your branded pen, pencil, notepad, coffee mug, etc…” That’ll get you a photo and share from your new recruit and instantly breeds affiliation with the brand/company.
Next up, Incentivisation & Recognition. This is where “You” (the brand) actively recognise that ‘INSERT NAME HERE’ has been publicly positive about “You” and here is a reward. Said reward can be in the form of a shout-out during the morning meeting, a plaque on the wall – “Employee of the Month”, or compensation of a sort – financial, software, gift card…
While the “pushing” of an employee’s advocacy is frowned upon (at least by us), the creation of individual ‘discount codes’ or the like, for said employee to use when sharing doesn’t hurt, and then you can pass the benefits on to sales and the employee alike.
Throughout this articles we’ve spoken about authenticity and not forcing employee to ‘share’ according to branded guidelines, but there is something that needs to be addressed, as unsavory and frustrating as it is…rules and regulations.
This is how you as a brand can ensure that your employees are speaking from the heart and the head. Endorsement of your brand is key to awareness, but a little direction never hurt anyone.
A fun example of social sharing run amok can be found in the hugely enjoyable comedy series, Superstore. In one scene, a corporate manager feels the need (surprisingly so) to point-out that social sharing of a rat infestation in the store’s kitchen might not be of benefit to the brand’s image.
So let’s avoid a similar kerfuffle and make do’s and don’t clear from the outset.
If you’re going to full-on, program route for your employee advocacy, then you’ll need to measure the outcomes. It’s also worth remembering that setting goals for the employees is not advisable, in our opinion. Sure, behind the curtain you can set marketing hopes and aspirations, but to encourage employee advocacy, you really ought to be aiming for authenticity.
The reason behind and the continuation of your employee advocacy program can and should be measured.
- Employee Adoption – How many of your staff members have decided to share their experiences at work with their social media “friends”?
- Who’s killin’ it? – Some employees take advocacy seriously and as such, they can often become influencers for your brand. Reward that!
- Organic Numbers – How well are these posts doing?
- Content Type – What is being shared and which posts are outperforming others?
- Sales Referrals – Are those ‘Promo-codes’ we spoke about working and is there an impact of the sales bottom line?
OK, now you have an outline to create your first or build upon your existing employee advocacy program…what’s stopping you?
Oh, that’s right….you’re too busy, don’t have the staff expertise, prefer to let someone else do it, someone with experience and proven ability…well look no further, here’s the shameless plug.
CONTACT: Wing Digital Marketing today and let us do all the work for you.