In our recent podcast conducted with one of the industries most influential marketing trainers, Hitesh Motwani, we captured the essence of influencer marketing and established that it is here to stay.
The only catch? Gartner’s 2017-2018 CMO Spend Survey confirmed that marketing budgets in Enterprises are down to 11% after 3 consecutive years of increase. That makes the only aspect of influencer marketing – the cost – a little tricky to handle.
2018 might just be the year where influencers – both on the macro and micro scale – take your brand to the heights you’ve been dreaming of achieving all along. Regardless of your marketing and branding budget, you’re bound to find something for your brand.
People Trust People
In this digitally connected age, it’s no secret that people trust the faces behind the brand more than the brand itself. In fact, Nielsen reported that 90% of buyers trust recommendations from those they know as compared to a measly 33% of those who trust the Brand itself.
Given this, several companies, both B2B and B2C, reach out to trendsetters and thought leaders in their respective industries, those that have large cult-like followings, to increase their brand visibility.
The biggest mistake most make is confusing audience with influence.
One of the key takeaways from the podcast was that just because most quasi-celebrities have a lot of followers on social media, doesn’t mean they’re going to have a lot of engagement or influence to spread your brand message.
Influencer marketing can be broken down into – Paid celebrity influencers and Brand advocacy by employees, partners, and loyal customers.
Where paid influencers thrive on incentives (free products, trials, monetary gain), brand advocates do it because of the passion they have for the brand and the depth of their conviction.
Here are 6 ways you can harness the power of advocacy marketing from those who know your brand best and elevate your company to the heights you’ve always desired.
Wider Social Reach
Did you know that there are 80 million Facebook Business pages? Even if you have a half decent following on Social Media, you’re constantly in competition with a ton of other brands to get your message out there.
With the updates to Facebook’s algorithm, where they prioritize meaningful conversations between friends, your employees’ personal networks prove to be invaluable in sharing your brand message with their own friends and families.
Increased Website Traffic
This one is Math 101. With every new link that is shared, the possibility of new visitors to your site is increased. Plus, the fact that the link is being shared from a trusted source only improves the chances of more people actually landing on your website.
Better Sales Leads
Employees know your brand the best, and the people they reach out to are going to pay attention to the content they share. The increased reach will also help you get to prospects that you may not have otherwise have accessed. The Edelman Trust Barometer confirms that consumers trust the employees of the company 16 points more than the CEOs, making your employees the best leverage you have to garner the trust of quality leads for new sales.
Improved Talent Pool
People want to work with like-minded people. Who better to share your company culture and new opportunities than the people who you’ve already deemed fit to work for you? Calculating the like-mindedness of friend circles, and the similarities in educational achievements from college associations, nothing beats your current employees when it comes to aiding your recruitment efforts.
The fact that happy and engaged employees are more productive and passionate about working for your brand is a no-brainer. Unfortunately, Gallup reports that only 49% of the US workforce is actually engaged.
By empowering your employees to share their views as active brand advocates, it gives them purpose and a strong sense of belonging. This helps move you towards the ultimate goal of engaging them.
If your employees are happy, then they’ll be more productive. More productivity means a better service or product. And a better service/product equals a happier customer base. And let’s face it, that’s what it comes down to at the end of the day. Who knows, these happy customers may turn out to being brand advocates for your business in their own right!
For more on employee advocacy – the workings, strategies, and functions – you can download our guide here. If you’re ready to take the leap, let us show you the magic a well-structured employee advocacy program can work.