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Mold Your Engaged Employees Into Brand Advocates

Posted on Jan 15th, 2013
Written by TopRank Marketing
In this article

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    matt ridings and michael brito

    Matt Ridings & Michael Brito Advocating For Employee Advocacy

    Employee engagement is key in improving productivity in any industry.  A happy employee is much more likely to be more productive than their counterparts.

    A recent study from the National Business Research Institute (NBRI) shares just how important it is to keep employees engaged.  Findings include:

    • Engaged employees product twice as much work product in the time as unengaged employees
    • The average adult spends a quarter to a third of their waking life at work
    • 40% – 80% of customer satisfaction is affected by employee attitudes

    Additionally NBRI identified the following six traits of engaged employees:

    1. Believe in their organization
    2. Have the desire to work to make things better
    3. Understand the business context and the bigger picture
    4. Are respectful and helpful to colleagues
    5. Are willing to go the extra mile
    6. Stay up to date with developments within their industry

    Many organizations are missing a key opportunity to turn engaged employees into advocates for their brand.  I recently attended a session at NMX Las Vegas featuring Michael Brito (@britopian) and Matt Ridings (@techguerilla) where they discussed the necessity for advocacy from both inside and outside the organization.  Don’t think your employees can be advocates for your company?  Think again!

    Why Is Advocacy Important?

    Advocacy for any brand is a sign of trust.  People purchase from companies that they like and trust.  Why is this important?  Often an organization’s employees are overlooked when it comes to advocacy development. However, if you can’t “sell” your company to your employees, how do you expect customers to jump on board?

    Identify Your Influencers & Your Advocates

    While every employee within your organization may not be ready to advocate on your behalf, they may still have some influencing power.  An influencer can use their personal network to amplify your brand message.  Alternatively, an advocate will closely align with your company and proactively personalize, promote, and defend your brand.  Each organization has room for and needs influencers and advocates to help promote their message.

    Prompting Advocacy Ain’t Easy

    Often times you’ll find that your employees may only be interested in doing only the job that they were hired to do.  It’s true that turning employees into advocates creates extra work, for everyone.  However, an employee advocate is very valuable for many reasons including:

    • Recruiting new employees
    • Motivating fellow team members
    • Sharing a different perspective on your organization
    • Influencing purchasing decisions
    • Spreading the word socially about the awesome work your company is doing

    5 Considerations For Creating An Employee Advocacy Program

    Programs & Tools:  A formalized advocacy program will take the gray area and guess work out of what is expected (and returned) to those who wish to participate.   Some of the tools (many of which can be used for employee advocacy and customer advocacy) mentioned by Matt and Michael in their session included:

    Longevity: Determine how long you will be running your advocacy program.  Is it ongoing, months, weeks?  Will everyone be invited to join or only a selected number of employees?

    Motivation: Badging and gamification are great ways to motivate your team.  For those who want to engage you can even build advocacy into their job description.  This ensures that employees are not only motivated, but accountable.

    Governance: There are many questions your team should ask yourself before launching an employee advocacy program including:

    • What happens when an employee advocate does the wrong thing?
    • Is there a social media policy in existence?
    • If so, are employees trained on existing policies?
    • Do  they know how to behave?
    • Are you teaching them how to share branded content the right way?

    Culture: Finding the right program to motivate your team takes work.  Be sure to determine:

    • Do you have the full stakeholder support?
    • Is part of your advocate program built on on accepting feedback from employees?
    • Are you prepared to change your process if needed?

    One of the biggest must-haves for an employee advocacy program is that your team believe in the work that they’re doing.  Without employee buy-in your program will not be successful.  What have you found to be most successful in motivating your team to spread the word about your brand?  What hasn’t worked?