You've already met your biggest social advocates
As humans, we naturally desire validation from our peer group, and more often than not, this means reaching out to people we don’t know for recognition - to ensure us that our talents or work matters. The same is the same for organisations. But in this rush, companies often forget about their biggest advocates and the ones who are most likely to validate their work: their employees.
Being social is part of the human DNA. It’s in our nature to communicate with those around us and this is no different in a professional environment, social networks have simply given us another tool with which to communicate. Rather than just policing employees’ social feeds to make sure they’re ‘behaving themselves’, it makes sense to turn socially active employees into social supporters.
Whether your executive team embrace it or fear it, social is here to stay. And a good job too, as it’s changing the way we do business. I can say, as a marketer with 20 years’ experience, this is undoubtedly one of the most exciting times for marketing professionals. But getting employees involved in your campaigns and turning them into social ambassadors for your brand, requires a framework. This framework needs to safeguard the fun and spontaneity of social platforms without asking ‘ambassadors’ to leave their personality at the door and simply fit into a corporate template.
The reason why social is so successful is because it isn’t seen as work. Each employee will have his or her own network of contacts, who are usually a mixture of personal and professional. Crucially, this means any advocacy can reach an audience outside of your business’ CRM database. This is why you must make employee advocacy part of your brand - you never know where the next big sales lead could come from.
Companies often waste too much time and money trying to find the individuals who will speak positively about their brand or product. There’s a tendency to rush out into the big wide world and find these people at conferences, events, through customers or endorsements, but some of the best advocates are already on your doorstep. Employees who truly believe in your brand will have no problem finding an authentic voice for their social commentary on your business, and already hold all the product knowledge a great brand ambassador could need.
So, it boils down to a simple case: who better to champion your cause, your products and your business authentically, with passion, pride and determination, than your employees? You could spend £100k to trend, but when you have an army of employee advocates ready to do this for you, each with their own network of influencers, why not use this goodwill as a starting point for your social marketing activity?
It’s important to grow advocacy momentum organically. You can’t force each and every one of your employees to tweet on your behalf, but you can create a guide around social that will help kick-off this mobilisation, in line with your social marketing and business ambitions.
Once you’ve engaged your employees, you can watch that engagement grow through partners, customer and future advocates. This is an organic, enthusiastic and inexpensive way to amplify you social marketing.