I travel a lot and wherever I go, I meet marketers who are looking for new and better ways to reach their audience. One of the things that strikes me is how often these smart people are missing a major selling opportunity right under their noses: employee advocacy. Being the sophisticated marketers that my contacts are, they often say that they’ve heard of employee advocacy but they’re not sure how they would pull it off, or why they should even do it. Setting aside the question of how (that’s a whole other post), let me tell you why businesses need to start embracing employee advocacy now.
Your employees are already talking
In today’s marketplace, interaction is everything. Businesses spend a ton of money designing and executing edgy social media feeds, or paying outlandish sums to niche micro-influencers for mentioning their brand on Instagram — all with the aim of getting consumers to interact with (and hopefully buy from) their brand. But what a lot of companies forget is that people already are interacting with their brand — through the brand’s employees. According to a 2014 report from Boston Consulting Group, 67% of people find employees of a company credible when researching a product. Consumers are already seeking out the employees of companies they’re thinking of buying from. It stands to reason that businesses should give their employees tools for responding.
Nobody can block you
By this point in time, most net-savvy marketers have pulled every online and mobile advertising lever they can but they’re bumping up against a new problem: ad blocking technology. According to eMarketer, 69.8 million Americans will use an ad blocker this year, a 3.4% jump over last year — and that number is only predicted to grow. Use of ad blocking technology is predicted to expand by 24% in 2017. The great thing about employee advocacy is that it’s an organic form of online communication that cannot be thwarted by ad blockers, ensuring that your business communication is getting through.
There’s money to be made
The Society for New Communications Research found that the most frequent use of social media among business professionals was interacting with their peers online – 65 per cent of users participate to engage with a professional community of colleagues and peers via social media and 82 percent exchange information with technical experts. If you’re in the B2B space, what that means is that 65% of your potential customers are poking around on social media and if your employees are not part of that conversation, the number of leads (and sales) you could be missing out on is staggering.
There’s a reason why Altimeter’s 2015 State of Social Business Report showed that interest in employee advocacy programs have grown by 191% since 2013 — the opportunities in this area are simply too good to ignore.
This article was written by Michael Brito, an SVP over at Public Relations Firm Lewis PR.