Leveraging Employee Advocacy to Build Brand Awareness
by Kasey Doyle on Thu, Mar 03, 2016 @ 10:27
As the Internet becomes more saturated with content, it’s important that companies begin to think of alternative ways to get their messages in front of their target audience. All too often do we see companies fall into a content creation rut - creating great content that doesn’t deliver the desired results, but then continuing the cycle without stepping back to reevaluate and adjust the strategy.
Effective content distribution is a large hurdle faced by many marketers, especially those in a B2B setting. You don’t have the desired amount of followers on your corporate social accounts and blog subscriptions are only getting you so far, yet you keep publishing content hoping that one of your blogs will finally land you a lead that delivers ROI. Have you ever thought about the potential reach your employees have on social media? Chances are your employees, or their followers, are connected to individuals who fit into your target market.
Your Employees are Storytellers
If you begin to think of your employees as storytellers, you will be able to shape your content distribution strategy in a way that will reach a previously untapped segment of your target audience and drive brand awareness. People are more likely to trust and engage with content being pushed to them by real people rather than content coming from companies, which seems more “salesy”.
Power in Numbers
More often than not, the employees of a mid-sized B2B organization have more followers combined than the company itself. In order to grow brand awareness, your company must in turn grow the number of people exposed to your brand. This does not mean everyone will engage with your content, but it does get your name into the minds of more individuals.
Content Must Be Engaging
If the content you are having your employees share is not engaging, then you’re really not doing anything different than you were before. When content is interesting, people are more inclined to share it. Chances are, your content isn’t going to go viral, but it might get reshared by someone who has influence on people in your target market. Resharing leads to more reach, resulting in overall brand awareness growth.
Implementing an Advocacy Strategy
Clear and concise documentation is key when it comes to implementing a successful advocacy strategy. You want to make sure that the messages going out on behalf of your company align with your overall message. If the messages don’t, they are only hindering your brand awareness efforts. Try some of the following methods to get your employees on the same page:
- Host a Lunch and Learn
- Provide a training seminar
- Develop best practice PDFs
- Create step by step guides regarding how to post, how to tag, etc.
Now that you’ve documented your program, the next step is to recruit employees to become engaged.
Who Should Be Involved?
Not every employee will be a good fit for your advocacy program. You’ll find that some people have no desire to take part, others want to but have no idea how, and some employees are already engaged. Start with the employees who are already acting as advocates and then build from there. This segment of employees will be the most receptive to the program and be able to assist with recruiting their peers.
It’s not unusual to feel some resistance from your employees when implementing any employee-based program. A common gripe we hear is that your employees “don’t have time to do this on top of normal job requirements and it’s a wasted effort anyway.” Chances are your employees will only participate in your program if there is something in it for them, so make sure to find a way to entice them. Some organizations are able to do this just by offering internal recognition, while others need to get creative and offer prizes.
Overall, employee advocacy programs can be a great way to build brand awareness.
Have you seen success with an employee advocacy program in your organization? Tell us about it in the comments!