Chelsea Hickey is a marketing manager at Zuberance. Tweet her at @chelsearhane.
Employee advocates are uniquely qualified to serve as brand advocates because they are highly credible trusted sources for information about companies and their products and services.
An advocate is typically, but not always, a customer who is willing to recommend your product or service without being paid or asked to do so. I personally recommend Jeep, Essie, and Audi almost daily and the brands are reaping the rewards of word of mouth recommendations, referrals, and sales without even knowing who I am.
Employee advocates recommend their company as a place to work, which in turn can lower hiring costs. Employee advocates help evangelize products and services, which helps increase positive messaging, and generate leads and sales. They defend companies from negative word of mouth and social media ambushes.
A happy employee is much more likely to be more productive than their counterparts.
Findings from a recent study from the National Business Research Institute (NBRI) indicate:
- The average adult spends a quarter to a third of their waking life at work.
- Engaged employees produce twice as much work product in this time as unengaged employees.
NBRI’s study showed that a 5-point improvement in employee attitudes led to a 1.6% rise in customer satisfaction, generating a 0.7% increase in revenues.
Advocacy is a sign of trust. If you can’t sell your company to your employees, how do you expect customers to get on board?
An employee advocate will closely align with the company and proactively, personalize, promote and defend the brand.
In order for employees to be able to fully advocate for the brand, they need to understand the brand, it’s direction, purpose & backbone.
Employee advocacy starts with leadership.
Include employees in the following ways to ensure they understand more than their job function—but they understand the brand:
- Cross-functional meetings
- Business update meetings
- Focus groups
- Employee newsletters
- Employee celebrations
Take it one step further and recognize employee advocates during the mentioned meetings and celebrations.
According to the NBRI study, engaged employees have the following six traits in common:
- Believe in their organization
- Have the desire to work to make things better
- Understand the business context and the bigger picture
- Are respectful and helpful to colleagues
- Are willing to go the extra mile
- Stay up to date with developments within their industry
Human resources can control happiness (money, vacation days & insurance), but they can’t control advocacy. Brands like Zuberance can help identify, energize & track employee advocacy. Advocates’ content is gold.
By activating employee advocates to write reviews, recommendations and spread positive word of mouth, you’re activating your advocacy army of employee advocates tend to stay longer, work harder, work more creatively, and find ways to go the extra mile.