Wednesday, June 29th, 2016 | 4 min read
The fundamental practice of marketing has been redefined in a generation…twice!
First, web and email emerged as new digital touchpoints that every marketer would need to address. Then, the big bang of social media created an ever expanding universe of channels on which customers came to hear from brands, and demand that brands hear from them.
Juggling a wide array of customer touchpoints, while feverishly responding to every tweet and comment, is enough to make marketers long for the analog age. Making it even more difficult, very few companies have a customer-first strategy that is truly integrated across departments.
Sturdy silos still stand in far too many corporate landscapes, preventing people and departments from communicating with one another, and making it nearly impossible to provide customers with the best experiences.
Smart marketing leaders are right to focus on connecting their internal departments. After all, having a more aligned set of employees is a crucial step towards providing better customer service. There is, however, another sometimes overlooked advantage in having a more organized workforce. Employees can be the driving force behind advocacy: the recognition and empowerment of brand loyalists.
While there are various ways to identify consumer advocates through owned, earned, and paid channels, the first line of offense for advocacy is sitting in plain sight.
We need to evolve from simply providing employees with list of links in an email, and asking them to share those stories with their social audience, without a proper image, without copy direction, and without a belief that they’ll receive any recognition for doing so. If you want your employee advocacy program to succeed, you need to create an infrastructure that can scale. Here are some tips for getting started.
1. Create a common experience, like a custom digital destination, where employees can easily access approved images and copy for efficient sharing across their social channels, whether in real-time or scheduled for the future.
2. Ensure you have access to deep, actionable reporting on which employees are sharing the most, which are sharing to the largest audiences, and which are driving the highest engagement.
3. Use that data to celebrate the advocacy all-stars in your organization. Amplify their contributions through social display on company web sites and in office. Recognize their contributions and make them feel appreciated.
4. Consider gamifying the experience by awarding points and/or badges for engagement. Create leaderboards so employees can see where they rank in the race to be your company’s most influential social star.
5. Use a listening tool to identify the impact your improved employee social activity has on brand mentions and sentiment.
6. Keep lists of consumers who have positively engaged with your brand thanks to your employees advocacy efforts, and consider how to create a consumer advocacy program with those people as the basis.
7. Consider how to use your program to help your employees position themselves as thought leaders in your space, as well as increase awareness for your brand.
8. Ensure that your advocacy solution can scale and grow with you. Your business is certain to change—your advocacy will need to change with it.
It’s often said that a company’s most valuable assets walk out the front door at the end of every day. Make sure your employees are empowered with the tools to show how valuable they are. Modern marketers understand this is an integral piece of today’s marketing puzzle.