Turning employees into advocates

Making the content that a brand publishes online socially sharable is a powerful way to increase its visibility.

While this functionality is usually offered with customers and others outside the company in mind, there’s one even more vital audience that most are failing to harness: their employees.

Employees offer an enormous pool of potential advocates for the brand. They visit their company websites for a range of purposes and can increase the brand’s visibility by sharing content through their own networks.

For corporate or business-to-business brands, social sharing with clients on a personal basis can become a useful tool in growing and maintaining business relationships, especially in the context of business functions where relationship management will be important.

By encouraging employees to connect with company social platforms and by making individual items of content sharable on websites, employees can share the content most relevant to their networks, vastly enhancing its visibility and that of the brand.

This approach to content distribution offers four advantages:

  • Amplification: Employees can amplify brand content with relative ease and effort.
  • Credibility: Enhances opportunity for employees to use content to strength client relationships in relationship managed functions.
  • Visibility: Offers the opportunity for an exponential increase in the brand’s visibility, beyond official brand channels.
  • Security: By taking a proactive approach to employee participation online, particularly in social media, brands can strengthen their reputational safety and security. By encouraging employees to share specific items of published content, the company implicitly sets parameters around activities deemed appropriate and begins to instil an understanding and confidence into the workforce of the online behaviour considered acceptable.

This approach does come with some caveats: the company must first grant employees access to social platforms in the workplace and have in place a clear online behaviour policy and accompanying training.

With those foundations in place, however, there are some clear benefits to be gained. Edelman’s Trust Barometer research shows that messages from one’s peers are more likely to be trusted than those from a senior company source:

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Q. If you heard information about a company from each person listed, how credible would the information be? (Source: Edelman Trust Barometer, 2013 http://www.edelman.com/trust)

A mobilised army of employees can bring tremendous scale and resource to a company’s communications efforts; much more than even the most creative branded channels can achieve and, most importantly, sustain.

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