Your employees are your most valuable assets.
That’s true for the value they bring, the work they do, and the relationships they build.
They can also be your most influential fans on social media. When your people do this, it’s called employee advocacy.
When they do it well—amplifying the reach of your social media posts and content marketing efforts—they become thought leaders and trusted advisors.
With this kind of spotlight coupled with the connections they make, you’ll find it’s easier to retain customers.
- Employee advocacy is critical to expanding your influence on social media.
- Well-executed employee advocacy turns team members into thought leaders.
- The cumulative effects of trust and relationships from employee advocacy result in greater customer retention.
What Is Employee Advocacy?
Simply put, employee advocacy occurs when your team promotes your brand on social media. These promotional efforts could include sharing or commenting on posts as well as their own postings with content.
For employee advocacy to work, it should be part of a company’s culture. You also have to present to employees the benefits it provides for their professional development and the brand. Check out the video below for a quick introduction to the topic.
Who Uses Employee Advocacy?
Companies big and small use employee advocacy. It’s a discipline that’s still in infancy, with only 16.6 percent implementing employee advocacy programs, according to a survey from the Hinge Research Institute.
Since most organizations aren’t actively using the strategy, there are many opportunities to use it as a competitive advantage. But does advocacy really beget results?
Employee Advocacy: By the Numbers
Before a business green lights a program, they want to know if it will help them meet their goals. The objectives of employee advocacy are to expand your reach on social media and showcase your subject matter expert customer-facing roles. So, is it worth the time and monetary investment?
The short answer is yes, based on these statistics:
- Employees in social employee advocacy programs organically grow their network by 10 percent or more each year. This data point illustrates that those roles active in advocating are creating more relationships. Those relationships often lead to very loyal customers.
- It attracts new business—64 percent of companies with a formal program credit it with generating new customers.
- Content shared by employees has longer legs and can be more authentic. According to LinkedIn Business, only 3 percent of employees share company content, but they are responsible for driving 30 percent of total engagement.
- Three-quarters of B2B buyers use social media to make purchasing decisions. And who will they trust? People or brands? It’s people, as 61 percent of buyers say they’re more likely to research a product or service when a friend or colleague shares the message over a brand.
The data proves that employee advocacy expands your reach, builds trust, and attracts attention.
How do you create a program that can do all this and ensure customer retention?
Let’s dive into the ways that employee advocacy can skyrocket customer retention.
Leveraging Employee Advocacy to Strengthen Relationships with Current Customers
One thing that businesses should never neglect is current customers. As you well know, it costs more to replace an existing customer than attract a new one. Your customer base doesn’t automatically remain loyal. Many factors could motivate them to seek greener pastures.
That’s why you have to keep engaging customers. By doing so, you’ll retain their business as well as have the chance to upsell them. They can also become advocates, which gives your brand a boost.
Here are four ways to maintain strong relationships with clients:
- To keep in step with your current customers, employee advocates can do this on a public forum. First, they could tag a customer in a post, saying, “Thought you might want to read this new content.”
- Other opportunities exist if that customer participated in case studies or testimonials. Employee advocates could share those, tagging the right parties and expressing their gratitude.
- Employee advocates should stay up to date with their customers. If the company wins or its employees win an award, mention it on social media. If they acquire a new business, do the same.
- Lastly, if the buyer at a company leaves and goes to a new one, be sure to congratulate him or her. Going the extra mile here can deepen the relationship so that they choose your services at their new employer.
Employee Advocacy and Building Relationships with New Customers
If a buyer believes someone to be a trusted source of information, that’s good news for brands. Setting up employees as thought leaders and subject matter experts matter when buyers are using social media as a tool to seek out information about a product or service. Here’s how employee advocacy can help.
- Employee advocate postings are essential but so is their profile. Encourage your employee advocates to have a professional profile that describes what they do. It shouldn’t just be a title but a quick “hook” about how you help resolve challenges.
- Using specific hashtags in postings can be a simple way to gain attention, especially if they are very specific. Buyers often search by hashtag when they have a problem.
- Adding commentary to a branded post by an employee advocate shows expertise. Employee advocates that succeed in social selling don’t just share the post. They include a unique and compelling point of view.
- Starting conversations is another way employees can create engagement. Asking questions or requesting feedback or examples starts the process organically and authentically. It’s not about selling. It’s about getting down to the facts about problems and solutions.
Employee Advocacy: Tips to Implement
Looking at the possibilities for employee advocacy to boost customer retention, you may have concerns about implementing it. Here are a few tips:
- Train employees on social media posting best practices.
- Leverage social media tools to make it more convenient.
- Communicate with employee advocates regularly about new content via internal channels.
- Use social media listening tools to track customer mentions.
- Measure efforts and let your team know they helped in increasing engagement and conversions.
Employee Advocacy Requires Content
Implementing employee advocacy to increase customer retention requires processes and strategies. Most of all, it requires consistent, relevant content production from your brand. If this is what’s holding you up, we can help.
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