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Employees Are More Than Workers; They’re Your Best Untapped Storytellers Marketing

By Dinah Alobeid on September 13th 2017

When our CMO Will McInnes bestowed upon me the title of “quintessential Brandwatch employee advocate,” I puffed up with pride.

“Who, me?!” I thought. Then I continued my one-sided discussion with myself with, “of course me, you big Brandwatch cheerleader, you!”

Positive reinforcement. Look into it.

So, what is employee advocacy?

Why exactly do I care about employee advocacy and employee centricity, and what exactly makes someone an advocate?

I’ll break it down in this post as I plunge the depths of a fairly new phenomenon, the rise of employees as brand advocates.

We’re no longer in the land of corporate-loyalty anymore, Toto

The days of working at a company for a lifetime are well behind us. Collectively, as a society, tenure at any company is dwindling.

Now the average stint at a tech company, according to recent investigation by Business Insider, has Facebook leading the pack with just 2.02 years.

Two years! That’s a drop in the lifetime work bucket.

This is an unbeatable race.

The train keeps chugging along, and employers and companies can add perks and plan parties, but employee advocacy is hard to secure and harder to keep.

There is a calibrated combination of trust, energy, benefits, and transparency that combine to invoke loyalty. And not just loyalty, but also public promotion and positive perception.

Enter employee advocacy.

What is it, you might be asking? The public promotion or exposure online (or face to face) of a brand directly from its own employees.

It’s the whole concept of influencer marketing, mainlined through the people who know your company, services and products best. The people who work there.

Creating an employee advocacy-friendly environment

Create a program, and share it with your employees.

Make sure that you set social media and promotion guidelines and articulate that to the wonderful people working for your brand.

Encourage employees to get involved as employee advocacy program ambassadors or project managers.

The true value of an employee as an influencer is more than just the projection of your message to their networks. It’s also about understanding that every employee, every individual is a micro-influencer in their own right.

Perhaps someone is a renowned parental blogger in their spare time, or an expert on all things smartwatch.

They might be able to create publicity or an important ripple effect through their employee advocacy. It can lead to actual sales, the recruitment of top professionals, or getting included in a news story.

The value to your brand could be immeasurable.

Track metrics and create incentives. Here at Brandwatch, each “employee advocate of the quarter” in each office receives an Amazon gift certificate.

employee advocacy results april

Ask but do not mandate.

Employees who feel they are in a transparent, supportive, and creative environment that is doing good will inherently want to spread the good word. There is no bigger turnoff than having a company require social promotion and employee advocacy.

Keep your employees happy and gently encourage those who feel so inclined to share company news to their Twitter followers, or post job openings to their network on Facebook to tap into the wide world of referral bonus schemes.

Employee advocacy: your best storytelling

The inside track. An insider’s point of view. Getting the inside scoop.

Those in the know, know so because they are on the inside.

The same goes for your employees. They are the knowledgeable partners that know your brand, your mission, your vision and your story.

And they are perhaps the best positioned to share the view from within to those on the other side.

Much like you would let your customers tell their stories through videos and case studies, because let’s face it nothing is better than a third-party endorsement, allow your employees the space and give them the platforms to tell their stories.

Whether it’s about their career journey to arrive at your brand, or how they themselves have benefited from your products or services, raise them up and let them sing your brand’s praises.

By giving your brand the permission to take a backseat, you’ll inevitably and organically share unique perspectives that humanize your company and its people.


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Employee advocacy: it’s time to empower your staff

You’re not late to the game, not even close.

Now is the perfect time to evaluate any existing standout employee advocates and engage them to spearhead a more formalized advocacy program.

Your brand has everything to gain.


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Dinah Alobeid

@DinahSusan

Dinah is the Director of Comms here at Brandwatch. She tells our story, and keeps media, analysts and influencers informed on all our brilliant capabilities and news.