Brand Advocacy

Today, we’re talking about your employees and brand advocacy. Why should we care about brand advocacy? It’s simple. These people have powerful and far-reaching voices. Brand advocates have an average of 200 to 500 people in their social networks, and they recommend an average of nine brands in one year. Of all U.S. online consumers, 32 percent would trust a stranger’s opinion on public forums and blogs more than they would trust branded advertisements. If a stranger is able to have so much influence on a buying decision, think what effect a trusted contact would have?

For this reason, engaged employees can play an important role in serving as effective brand advocates for your organization. But prompting advocacy isn’t always easy, as TopRank blogger Ashley Zeckman points out. She says that many times employees are only interested in the job they were hired to do, so companies need to put initiatives in place that engage employees and encourage brand advocacy. These efforts not only pay off in increasing market reach, they also help to recruit new employees, motivate fellow employees and share a different perspective on your organization.

Zeckman shares the following five considerations for creating an employee advocacy program:

1. Programs and Tools: A formalized advocacy program will take the guesswork out of what is expected (and returned) to those who wish to participate. There are some web-based tools available, including Zuberance and Addvocate, that can help you track and measure what your employees are saying and sharing about your brand.

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

3. Motivation: Motivate your team with incentives. 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.

4. Governance: There are many questions to 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?
– Do employees know how to behave?
– Are you teaching them how to share branded content the right way?

5. Culture: Finding the right program to motivate your team takes work. Be sure to answer these questions:
– Do you have the full stakeholder support?
– Is part of your advocate program built upon accepting feedback from employees?
– Are you prepared to change your process if needed?

Most of all, for brand advocacy to be successful, your employees must believe in what they’re doing. Set the example by sharing the value of your brand today.

As a brand advocate for adplanet, I recommend you look in your inbox tomorrow for more great sales and business tips that can drive value to your bottom line.