It’s no exaggeration to say that a company lives by the strength of its employees. Hire the right people, and they will take you farther than you ever dreamed you could go. Recently, though, another truth has been realized. While a company is building or expanding its branding, no advertising budget in the world can compete with the word of mouth that comes from a happy, knowledgeable employee who loves his/her workplace and wants to tell others about it. These employee advocates can do more for your business than you expect, and if you aren’t yet in the business of finding and nurturing these employee advocates, you are truly missing out on an untapped resource.

Who is an Employee Advocate?

Employee advocacy stems from the idea that the greatest advocates for your business and your brand are the people that work for the business. They are building products and services that make up the business. When these employees are trained and given the right platform, they can become brand’s advocates among their own social networks.

Benefits of Employee Advocacy

You might think that having dedicated, passionate employees sounds good, but is it really something that pays off down the road? The short answer is yes. There are multiple benefits to employee advocacy, including:

1) Increased Social Media Reach

MarketBeam Employee Advocacy Results

Without a doubt, the biggest benefit to employee advocacy is the exponential increase in social media reach. With the advent of social media, the concept of “six degrees of separation” — that everyone in the world is connected to each other by six, or fewer, connections — has never been truer. Average number of LinkedIn connections are over 500, average number of Facebook friends are over 400 and Twitter followers are over 250.

With such potential reach per employee, collective social reach will be exponential. MarketBeam’s customers have reached anywhere between 30,000 and 80,000 audiences per post when only 100 employees share company approved content with their social networks. Organic reach is much higher when individuals post than company pages. LinkedIn average reach of page followers is less than 3%.

Read MarketBeam case study of Janrain, a customer identity management company that increased their website traffic by 40%.

2) Thought Leadership For All

A “Thought Leader” is a person who has become a recognized authority in a specialized area — one who is sought after when advice or knowledge is needed in that field. With employee advocacy, every individual who participates in the program will create their own thought leadership on social media.

These thought leaders are created internally within the company by providing great content to them. With this pre-approved content, employees reach to their networks including prospects and customers. Content include official announcements, product news, industry news or promotional assets.

Creating relevant and high quality content is time taking. Not all employees have the ability nor the time to create. If communications team creates such high quality content and provide an easy way to share it, employees get to participate consistently.

3) Lead Nurturing

For those in sales, the ROI from employee advocacy program is highly quantitative. Social networks become natural lead generators when they use social media to promote products and services with highly engaging content.

Demonstrating skills, knowledge and thought leadership builds credibility among prospects. Continuous flow of content that helps and educates them on products are very productive in sales processes. Content discovery, learning, comparison and education all these steps are part of digital marketing as opposed to human touch points in this age. Consumer and B2B customers prefer to do their own research before approaching or being approached by a vendor. This makes it even more compelling for sales teams to reach and engage prospects on social media, a medium used by more than 3 billion people to communicate and consume content.

4) Building Credibility through Influencers

In the world of social media, the concept of an “influencer” is just what it sounds like — a person who has enough followers that what he or she posts naturally gets more attention. This sort of person can actually use their social media presence to influence the behaviors of others. Some use this power to sell products or promote an idea.

Companies have internal influencers who can represent their brand effectively in the industry. Companies also work with industry influencers to promote content.

MarketBeam has provided a way in the product to include external industry influencers into employee advocacy program. Company’s promotional content will be shared by both employees and external influencers like advisors, industry specialists, investors and anyone who has relevant influential networks. Managing both internal and external influencers on the same platform reduces time, integrates results and provides complete campaign overview all on the same platform.

Learn how to kickstart your own employee advocacy program in 3 weeks.