Let’s jump right into the math. Say you have 50 employees and 700 Facebook fans. Your FB business page can potentially reach 700 fans that it has currently accumulated. What if every employee in your company has an average of 338 friends (the average number of friends among adult Facebook users is 338). That means your employees can potentially reach out to 700*338 i.e 23,660 people. You can greatly amplify the reach of your branded content by encouraging employees to be active stakeholders in increasing your social exposure.
Before the advent of the internet and social media, employee advocacy occurred offline. The traditional methods include giving employees incentives and freebies (printed t-shirts, water bottles, caps, etc) as a goodwill gesture; office outings; and rewards and recognitions for good performance. These initiatives are still in place; what has changed is the swift move to online employee advocacy programs via the social medium.
Five Triggers to the Rapid Adoption of Social Employee Advocacy Programs
1. The ability to multiply exposure
As discussed in the example above, employees’ social networks can serve as content distribution nodes, putting you before thousands of users and increasing visibility exponentially. Given that employees have approximately 10 times more followers than corporate social accounts, you’re looking at massive brand exposure from active employee participation.
You can assess reach not just from the quantitative but also the qualitative aspect. Your employees’ fans and followers will be more diverse than yours. That means you can reach out to a broader demographic of people, who in turn may share your content with their contacts, thereby multiplying and publicizing your authority.
2. The opportunity to build trust and credibility
You may already be aware that people trust other people more than brands.
Leads developed through employee social marketing convert 7 times more frequently than other leads (Source : IBM)
80 per cent of businesses admit that a better social media presence can increase the productivity of their sales team (Source : Sales Management Association)
The number of companies blocking social media access to employees has been dropping since 2010. (Source : Gartner). Though it may appear to be counter-intuitive, allowing employees to use social media during work hours can have a positive impact on their mood and alleviate stress.
A study by Nielsen reveals that 84 per cent of consumers around the world trust word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family (earned media) over other advertising sources. Consumers are also more likely to trust the employees of a company than individuals representing the public face of the brand, such as the CEO. To win trust, encourage employees to do some of the heavy lifting for you on social media, and experience the difference!
3. The potential to influence consumer purchase decisions
As discussed in the point above, consumers more easily engage and trust what your employees have to say about your brand on social media than what they see on your business pages/accounts. Also consider that word-of-mouth recommendations influence 50 per cent of all purchase decisions. When the recommendations come from friends, family, academic experts, journalists and brands consumers buy from, the tendency is to accept them and take action on them. In contrast, consumers are more wary of marketing messages from company CEOs, celebrities and brands they don’t use.
Your employees fall in the ‘trusted’ category of individuals. Their fans and followers will be more receptive to your company’s blog posts that your employees share on their personal accounts. Over time, they will get familiar with your brand, and feel encouraged to follow you on social media and/or visit your website. Your employees’ influence is clearly at work here.
4. The impact on your bottom line
The National Business Research Institute has found that a 12 per cent increase in brand advocacy can contribute to a two-fold increase in revenue. Altimeter Group says that socially engaged employees are more likely to drive lead generation. These are significant statistics that strongly suggest the role of employees beyond their expected work responsibilities in directly impacting your sales and profits.
5. The possibilities to improve employee relations
In an age of frequent job-hopping and work-related chronic stress, savvy businesses understand the importance of engaging employees and creating a positive work culture. According to the Workplace Research Foundation, highly engaged employees are 38 per cent more likely to have above-average productivity, and increasing investment in employee engagement by a mere 10 per cent can drive up profits by $2,400 per employee per year.
A social employee advocacy platform with a rewards system can be the solution your business needs to keep employees feeling motivated and taking pride in their work. Align all your employees around a common goal on social to foster loyalty and boost engagement.