Employees can be the most powerful brand ambassadors of your organization. In fact, LinkedIn states that each team member on LinkedIn has 10x the reach of your Company page.
This makes sense when you think about it. When professionals are using LinkedIn, they are using it to connect with other professionals, and much less likely to engage in two-way conversations with brands.
Gallup Organization, stated that engaged employees are 22% more productive, and are also more punctual, along with being more present.
Think about the potential reach of your messaging by multiplying the number of employees by size of their network. This extension of your marketing is unpaid and is much more likely to build trust.
The Kredible Employee Advocacy Study stated that employee advocacy programs involving at least 1,000 active participants can generate $1,900,000 in advertising value. (And that study was conducted in 2015. Presumably the ROI would be much higher now!).
THE UPSIDE OF EMPLOYEE ADVOCACY
Employees can help to build their own brand and thought leadership with their network. They will feel empowered to be a part of the conversation.
Employees who feel optimistic about their company, and are much more engaged at work are more likely to stay at their organization.
THE DOWNSIDE OF EMPLOYEE ADVOCACY
Unfortunately, some content posted by team members can unintentionally affect brand messaging in a negative way.
I’ve heard stories about team members that have gone rogue by posting unapproved content. The Marketing Manager is concerned that this employee’s messaging is actually harming (not helping) their brand.
So how can you get your team on board so that you’re bringing value to your brand and can keep some control over the messaging?
1.Ensure you have a Social Media Policy in place.
Encourage your team to participate and let them know the firm guidelines about what is and isn’t acceptable: Can they use social media during work hours? What kinds of content are they permitted to share? Who is the key contact to turn to for questions or crises?
2. Determine your strategy
Will you allow your entire team to participate in the program, or roll it out to a selected few employees who have received training?
Determine your goals and objectives. What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will showcase the success of this plan?
Some of these metrics may include:
- Visits to website
- Earned media value (compared to advertising costs).
3. Provide guidance and training
Encourage your team to update their profiles with brand messaging. This may include:
- a branded image in the Cover Photo area
- cut & paste boilerplate copy for the Experience section
- the proper way to share marketing-approved status updates and how to appropriately engage in two-way conversations.
PRO TIP: Let your team know they can re-share content that is featured on your Company page. It’s pre-approved content that keeps the messaging on brand.
Grapevine6 is a cool content curation tool that can help to provide relevant content that can be re-shared on LinkedIn. Try out the free version, or marketers may be interested in the enterprise-level option which ensures only approved posts are highlighted and optimized for sharing. (This is a great option for compliance-based industries!)
When used properly, LinkedIn can be an integral part of your sales and marketing initiatives for generating awareness, deepening relationships and converting clients.
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN: Has your company implemented an advocacy program? Pros? Cons? Other people can learn from your experience. Share your thoughts below.