What is employee advocacy?
Imagine that IBM says, “We are a great company to work for!” Let’s say you believe them. And you add them to your list of companies you’d like to work for. You might even see IBM as a company you would like to do business with. Now, compare how convinced you would be if IBM’s employees say, “IBM is a great company to work for”. Whether or not this is true, it is more convincing when employees engage online with relevant messages. This is employee advocacy. Employees advocating on behalf of a cause, a brand or an employer.
Research shows employee advocacy is a good idea
Research shows that content shared by employees receive eight times more engagement than content shared by brands. Yet only 17% of organisations have formal employee advocacy programmes. B2B engineering and advanced manufacturing sectors in particular, have significant opportunity to digitally engage and interact with customers. Here is a simple infographic showing top nine stats for making a case for employee advocacy:
Because of the level of participation required, success comes down to having a conducive corporate culture. Leadership support, aligned business goals, and training are some of the key elements that help sustain employee advocacy.
— Yekemi Otaru (@yomarketingco) 22 July 2016
Case studies from engineering companies
The stats show that content provided by technical experts is highly valued, more so than traditional promotional content. Sharing knowledge positively influences employees’ personal brand. It allows them to be credible as thought leaders and experts in their field. Still, it seems challenging to motivate engineers, scientists and researchers to participate online. Professional visibility is one of the most motivating factors for these knowledge workers.
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The benefits of employee advocacy
You are in a room full of people and you are telling them your story. You tell them why you do what you do, your values, what you offer, why they should care and how they can get it. Think about employee advocacy on social media as a way to exponentially increase the number of people in a room. In addition, each of your employee advocates has a room of their own. So think about the number of rooms you could have at any one time and the combined reach of your message…
— Carmel Harrison PR (@CHCommsLtd) 28 July 2016
— Yekemi Otaru (@SmartSceptic) 28 July 2016
The shear brand reach, recognition and visibility of employee advocacy leads to faster business growth. It also shortens sales cycles and helps to identify new revenue streams.