There was a time when people used social media to connect with friends and family. Not so much anymore! Today, social sites are all the rage when it comes to information gathering, product chatter, and forming communities. It’s little wonder then that every brand (and its sister concern) is rushing head first onto social media sites to promote their products.
There’s good reason for this phenomenon, too. After all, unlike traditional forms of promotion, these social sites come loaded with huge chunks of customizability. Customer targeting, tracking ROI, real-time responses. You name it, and these social media sites can do it for you.
But what if all this power, all this customization could be harnessed by you, your brand, your employees? What if all your employees’ personal reach and networks could begin contributing to your brand’s promotion?
This, in a nutshell, is the very idea behind social advocacy.
And when executed correctly, the reach of the brand’s word can skyrocket. This, in turn, boosts sales shoots up the number of both potential and converted customers.
Why such drastic results, you ask? Let us tell you.
What sets social advocacy apart from all other forms of brand communication is a simple fact: Most of us, if not all of us, depend heavily on our peer groups for advice. If prospective customers see your brand through their peers’ eyes, they may be more inclined to converse with you, collaborate with you, convert to you. It’s something human beings have been doing for ages. It’s just moved to the airwaves now!
But the benefits don’t end with more customers.
When you trust your employees and empower them with the ability to present your brand, you are giving them ownership. You are giving them more value. You are giving them trust. This breeds more trust, accountability, and loyalty in return.
Because then the employee begins to believe that their opinion, their thoughts matter to the organisation.
That said, it’s always prudent to follow a set of guidelines before giving the reins of your brand to your employees. Here, we list out a few things to keep in mind before the social advocacy game begins.
1. Give employees a reason to promote your brand.
It shouldn’t have to be another bullet point on their KRA sheets. It should have to be something they want to do. Something they take pride in. Only then will the communication feel authentic to their peers.
And the first step in this direction is great content.
Content that makes your employees interested is almost certain to make their personal networks hooked, too. Make the content shareable, make it about the emotions your employees will pass on to prospects.
Go beyond images and videos of conferences. Let them talk about awards their teams have won, for instance. Or perhaps get them to talk about the company’s new venture and how excited they are about it. And remember to always appreciate their work.
Cash prizes, promotions, all kinds of incentives work wonders. The more they win, the more they will want to talk about it!
2. Provide guidelines for staff sharing on social media platforms
One of the banes of social media is oversharing. Too much communication may hamper your brand, just as sure as none at all. Which is why it’s essential to structure a set of guidelines for your employees to follow while they are sharing company related content.
What should be done, what should be avoided, what should most certainly not be done; these guidelines will help employees understand the pattern of communication better and get more efficient at sharing the right information.
A simple example would be for you to offer them a series of hashtags to use with each post. You could also offer them a list of posts and/or content which is a no-no. You’ll be making their jobs easier, and they will appreciate you for it.
The result? More authentic sharing of more authentic information.
3. Maintain your brand image at all times
It’s paramount to trust your employees with your brand’s promotion. We’ve established that multiple times by now. But that being said, it is also essential that this promotion, this communication does not clash with the brand’s overall image. After all, word – good or bad – spreads like wildfire in the jungle of social media.
Fortunately, there is an easy – and perhaps the best – method to ensure that the marriage between brand and employee is a long lasting one. All you’ve got to do is ensure that you treat your employees – both present and former – in a manner that generates respect in their hearts.
This will lead to them feeling genuine appreciation for the brand. And finally, it will coax them into becoming true advocates for the brand.
The ultimate result: A brand that is loved by employees and customers alike! Isn’t that the dream come true for your brand?
If you’d like to know in greater detail how employee advocacy on social media can help your brand, feel free to get in touch and we’ll be happy to tell you more.