Employee advocacy is one of the most powerful ways to tap into new networks that could be brimming with new business opportunities. It works best when organisations support individuals to develop and promote their personal brand. This can be achieved by helping them to keep their social and professional profiles up-to-date, creating and amplifying relevant and though-provoking content. Employers should also be encouraging these individuals to put themselves forward for speaking at and chairing events.
Here are five reasons why instituting advocacy programmes makes good business sense – enhancing organisational reputation alongside increasing employee engagement and retention.
1 Unprecedented reach
Consider the reach of platforms such as Linkedin with 630 million members in more than 200 countries. Facebook on the other hand has more than 1.5 billion daily active users while Instagram has notched up one billion active users monthly and 500 million daily story actives. Social and professional networks give unprecedented access to millions of untapped business leads if exploited. Employee advocacy is one of the most effective ways of achieving this and involves minimal outlay.
2 A voice customers will trust
Customers are more likely to believe – and be more interested in – what employees say about an organisation than the marketing department. According to Social Media Today, a piece of content shared by employees receives eight times the engagement of that shared in an organisation’s brand channels. Customers want to hear and are more likely to trust an authentic voice rather than marketing-speak and, when executed well, employee advocacy programmes can help to disseminate positive word-of-mouth messages about the organisation.
3 High sales conversion and retention rates
Employee advocacy aligns with the shift towards social selling in the era of influencers and all-powerful bloggers and YouTubers. Employees can have the same impact as external influencers and the more powerful their own personal brand, the more power they can wield for the organisation and its products and services. An IBM study shows leads developed through employee social marketing convert seven times more frequently than other leads. Meanwhile, Deloitte reports that customers referred by advocates are 37 per cent more likely to be retained.
4 Seek out and connect with top talent
Top, difficult-to-find talent could be lurking in your employee’s professional and social networks. They may never have heard of your organisation but advocacy programmes can be used to pique their interest in a role via employees’ networks. This can be equally effective for passive as well as active jobseekers. Many companies have referral programmes in place instigated by the recruitment or resourcing function and advocacy programme can provide an additional mechanism for finding great new hires, again with little outlay.
5 Increasing engagement and retention
Employee advocacy is about more than lead and sales generation. Supporting employees to develop and promote their personal brand shows a high level of commitment and is likely to improve engagement and motivate them to perform to their best ability. It also deepens their connection to the organisation and therefore improves retention. Employee advocacy is also another outward sign to potential future recruits that the company is modern and forward-thinking which helps to bolster employer brand.
Rialto has a strong track record in helping individuals to position themselves as thought leaders and experts in their sector or industry. To learn more about how we can help build powerful employee advocacy programmes, contact us today.