In 2017, social media reach and engagement plummeted on Instagram and Facebook, leaving marketers with their heads in their hands and time-tested tactics suddenly in the trash. Turns out, one of the best new marketing methods has been overlooked and undervalued: employee advocacy. Employee advocacy is the promotion of a company, its products or services, by its own workforce. Word of mouth has always been a powerful tool in business, and the most credible. You might wonder though, how can the opinion of someone who works for a brand be unbiased? Well it’s not, but believe it or not, referrals and reviews by employees are more than twice as trusted than ones from a business owner, influencer, or even consumers.
Yet, only 3% of employees share their company’s content. Employee advocacy is most successfully created by carefully crafted company culture. In other words, take a page from the start-up playbook. Start-ups love to provide quality customer service to their own employees, not just their customers, and for good reason. Show your employees that they’re valuable beyond just their paychecks with work-life benefits and product perks, and they’ll be more likely to toot the company’s horn to their friends and family. Let’s do a little math. If the average social media user has 200 Facebook friends and 61 Twitter followers, even the smallest of businesses, a team of twenty for example, could increase their social media reach by 5,000 people.
If you’re still skeptical, consider this fact: users of social media are sixteen times more likely to read a branded post or click on a marketing link shared by a friend than a boosted post or paid ad. There’s also the potential that employees’ social networks likely reach new audiences that your marketing plan doesn’t specifically target. The more your employees love your brand, the more their Facebook network, Instagram community, and Twitter followers will too. While you shouldn’t discount the value of industry influencers, you might want to encourage your employees to be their own brand ambassadors.