Looking to reach more audiences, connect with potential buyers, and create a tight knit team internally? Your organization needs to identify your best brand advocates and enlist their enthusiasm and influence.
You and your organization already know social media has taken the world by storm and hasn’t shown many signs of stopping.
These social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) have shaped the way the world communicates and offers a way to connect with others that haven’t been seen before.
Because of this shift in the way people communicate, brands and companies are looking for ways to succeed in this crowded playing field.
This is not always an easy task considering social media for a few reasons:
- Social algorithm changes making it challenging for brands to be seen
- Rising costs of paid social, driving results down
- Standing out among the fast-paced social noise
This is where your brand advocates and employee advocacy comes into play.
An Intro to Brand Advocates
A brand advocate is someone who champions your organization and the products or services to their networks. That could be through word of mouth, product reviews, creating content, or commonly through social media.
- 92% of consumers trust online content from friends and family above all other forms of brand messages, 50% of consumers find UGC more memorable than brand-produced content (Source)
- Earned media (press, word-of-mouth, peer-to-peer referrals) drives 4x the brand lift as paid media. (Bazaar Voice)
Who are your organization’s brand advocates?
Just like the definition states, a brand advocate is really anyone who supports and rallies behind the brand, product, and services. They are talking about your brand to others and/or sharing content on social media about your company.
The two best brand advocates are your company’s employees and customers. But brand advocates can also be influencers who support and believe in your company too.
Why are employees your best brand advocates?
Employees are valuable brand advocates because they know everything about the business and have good insights to products and services.They can help drive real and organic business results to an insanely wide network.
That network includes customers, colleagues at other businesses, potential hires, and even prospects who may be intrigued by what employees are saying and sharing.
Your employees are the face of your brand and many are already sharing and talking about your company. But not all are your best brand advocates currently.
However, by identifying your organizations current brand advocates, building a great company culture, and providing a way to harness this energy (employee advocacy platform), you’ll see business results skyrocket.
The Essential DNA Of A Great Internal Brand Advocate
What do great internal brand advocates look like? What traits do they possess already? Below you’ll find some of the essential DNA that makes up a top employee brand advocate.
Showcasing passion for your organization
The first thing is to ensure that your employee advocates are inherently your biggest fans, your greatest champions. You want to seek out employees who are passionate about the brand or company already.
Find advocates who are knowledgeable, friendly and excited to represent your organization further. They are probably sharing online, posting company content, and comment to others about the product or services.
98% of employees use at least one social media site for personal use, of which 50% are already posting about their company. (Weber Shandwick)
However, it’s not wise for companies to force any sort of employee advocacy or sharing to social media because you want to offer the advocates freedom and trust.
Remember if you want great internal brand advocates and more employees to be involved, you need to provide a culture they trust and care about first.
The employee shows they already understand the value of advocating
Another good trait is someone who sees that being engaged can make them better at their jobs and closer to the customer and market, as well as seeing the greater value it will bring to the company or brand.
An employee advocate is on board for the long run and wants to see growth in the company, and develop networking skills for their own growth. I
It’s your company’s job to set up their advocates for success by providing solid training so they understand clearly and align with the brand voice, guidelines, mission and understand the personal benefits.
They are goal oriented and fueled by knowledge
The best employee advocates are goal-oriented people who have a drive for results as well as a hunger for information, learning and continued growth.
A good way to continue to motivate these goal-oriented employees is by offering incentives and measuring their success. It’s important to note that incentives does not mean monetary items. It can be opportunities to contribute content, be highlighted among their peers, other career opportunities, etc.
An easy way for companies to empower their employees and measure success is by using an employee advocacy platform, and having the advocates use targeted social media platforms.
A drive to teach others
Your best internal brand advocates are those who get excited to teach and rally others around.
When your organization supports and provides opportunities for brand advocates to shine, other employees may start to show interest in getting involved too.
This leaves a great opportunity to have your current identified brand advocates to teach other employees the benefits to the company and to their own professional development.
Since the brand advocates are already passionate and have a wealth of insight, they are more likely to be interested in helping lead a movement of employee advocacy and inspire others to take interest.
The Benefits of Brand Advocacy
We dove into brand advocacy much deeper in this post, but I want to finish this article off with some of the benefits of your brand advocates.
- Brand messages reached 561% further when shared by employees vs the same messages shared via official brand social channels (MSLGroup)
- Peer-to-peer marketing is the leading driver behind 20-50% of all purchasing decisions. (McKinsey)
Grows the brand visibility organically – Brand advocacy contributes to the brand growth in a more natural way. Instead of spending thousands on advertising alone, you have advocates getting your company message out with little effort.
Shows how good your product/services are – Because people trust other people more than corporate messages, your brand becomes more valued. People trust customers over corporate, and people also trust employees sharing company content, industry content, and work culture online.
Media and publications take notice – When more people are talking about your brand, publications, and news outlets take notice. Now your company has more opportunities to get mentioned in articles or news pieces naturally.
Brand Advocates have a broader reach – Focusing on your brand advocates helps you drive more business. Here’s something that sets brand advocates apart from the crowd: advocates are 3 times more likely to share brand information with someone they don’t know. (Social Media Examiner).