The decision by Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s competition authority, to rule against Facebook’s plans to merge user data from Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram is hugely significant and perhaps the first step towards the separation of data from the digital monopolies.
Many companies enjoy some degree of intermittent organic employee advocacy that reflects well on the business at large. However, it’s haphazard and certainly not harnessed or developed to reach its business potential.
New employee advocacy tech platforms now offer brands a huge opportunity to run programmes that turn this workforce goodwill into something transformational – a new channel by the people who know your products and services better than anyone.
7 potential benefits of employee advocacy
A formal, employee advocacy programme based on a tech platform can achieve successful results very quickly. It’s also fair to say that the power of employee advocacy is only just beginning to be realised across multiple sectors. But once your competitors start to mobilise their own people to share on social, their reach and engagement grows exponentially.
In the last year, we have seen a marked increase in programmes from enterprise businesses in sectors from Retail, Travel, Auto, Professional Services, Telecomms, Utilities and Financial Services.
Employees themselves may have a smaller circle of influence than an ‘Influencer’ but they are highly trusted and when activated in significant numbers, they can have a huge impact on business results. This is because employee advocacy answers some of the key challenges enterprise business faces today:
1. Employee advocacy keeps consumers front of mind
When employees share content they achieve double the impact of brand marketing with a click-through rate twice of that seen by their company according to LinkedIn.
Employee advocacy enables brands to remain relevant to consumers, increase brand awareness and affinity, and drive footfall and sales.
With paid advertising becoming increasingly expensive and less effective with a huge increase in ad blocker adoption, email marketing becoming less effective post-GDPR and more people switching to dark social, employee advocacy offers a fresh and transparent solution.
New tech means an employee advocacy platform can provide smart content targeting, and generate more authentic storytelling and personalised messaging, helping to bring employees and customers closer together.
2. Employee advocacy improves communication with customers
There is a huge communications gap businesses need to plug according to new research from Facebook. While seven out of 10 businesses believe they are communicating effectively via platforms such as Facebook Messenger and Facebook stories, just 20% of their customers agree.
Employee advocacy allows brands to increase connections between people, increase person-to-person conversations and build more meaningful relationships.
With one in every £5 spent in UK shops now being online, employee advocacy bridges the disconnect between online and offline to drive more people in store. People trust people like themselves and will act on recommendations from friends, family and peers.
According to MSL Group brand messages are shared 24x more when distributed by employees, rather than the brand itself. Employees collectively have social networks ten times that of a single corporate brand, according to research from LinkedIn.
3. Employee advocacy increases new business leads
When a lead is generated through social selling or employee advocacy that lead is 7X more likely to close compared to other lead generation tactics, according to IBM.
Employees allow brands to facilitate conversations they would not otherwise have and form relationships built on trust and knowledge. Warm referrals through employee advocacy significantly increase the rate of high-quality business leads.
4. Employee advocacy helps attract the best talent
With the passive candidate pool much bigger than the active candidate pool, how can you attract the best talent when the best are not actively looking for roles? Employees are on the front line of brand perception. So they play an important role in making your brand attractive thereby encouraging potential candidates to move into the consideration phase.
Employee referrals improve time spent, cost and quality of candidate to ensure your business is competitive and able to close the skills gap. An employee advocacy programme can also help build a more diverse workforce – and more diverse teams solve problems faster than teams of cognitively similar people, according to research published in Harvard Business Review.
5. Employee advocacy reaches more candidates for hard-to-fill roles
Employee advocacy not only reduces costs in the cost per application and cost per hire but helps to reach candidates for harder-to-fill roles. Peer-to-peer influence and word-of-mouth marketing plays a significant role when it comes to reaching more relevant candidates.
6. Employee advocacy reduces costs and reliance on recruitment agencies
Employee referrals via employee advocacy can reduce recruitment costs by 50-80% compared with using a recruitment agency or job board/online advertising.*Qubist data
7. Employee advocates help retain more top talent
Continually improving the business and cultural impact of your company helps retain talent. Employee advocacy supports employer branding, the initial quality of candidate hires, and then engages employees in a sustainable way.
An employee advocacy app (with gamification features such as points, rewards and leaderboards) can be part of the candidate onboarding process to ensure it is aligned with business goals and long-term success.
Case studies: Impact in action
In the retail sector, when Iceland Foods faced a challenge of significantly increasing reach to raise brand and product awareness among new audiences, they knew their strength lay in their staff. They recognised their biggest sales force is their own employees who know the products and business better than anyone. Using Qubist they were able to scale activity nationally.
“In the first 3 months alone, the Qubist Iceland Foods Insider app generated over 37 million impressions through employees’ own social channels.”
In the B2B sector, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) were looking for a way to cut through given the highly competitive market for business services in conjunction with seeing advertising ROI in steady decline.
Harpreet Panesar, ICAEW, said:
“Qubist enabled us to reduce advertising spend, while increasing brand endorsements by over 27,000 in three years, resulting in hundreds of new business leads. [It’s] a totally transformational marketing tool.”
How to scale, measure and report on employee advocacy
Key to adopting an employee advocacy tech platform is the data you can access and harness to your advantage.
As well as making it easy to recruit and manage advocates, a tech platform gives you a number of data sets at a very practical level to help you measure and optimise performance and ROI.
A clear and live dashboard of advocate social media activity
Impressions, engagements, clicks on links
Top performing advocates
Top performing content
Trends graph to show activity
These easy to download reports can be shared with senior management quickly to build momentum and success can be built rapidly by inviting more advocates to the programme.
Look out for our round up resource next week, ‘The definitive guide to Employee Advocacy’
Have an opinion on this article? Please join in the discussion: the GMA is a community of data driven marketers and YOUR opinion counts.
Please register below to unlock this article.
An email will be sent to you with your membership details.