The Importance of Employer Branding: Employee Advocacy
It isn’t always easy to create a brand. Businesses need to be noticed, and heard. Even if your company can cut through the noise, people won't always believe its marketing spin.
The most trusted resource in any organisation is its people. This makes your employer brand and your company's reputation as an employer, a crucial part of your branding puzzle. It is important to utilise the people you already have to attract more of this resource and be authentic.
Employer Branding: The Role of Employee Advocacy
Employee advocacy means that your employees are positive ambassadors for your brand, which can help to increase word-of-mouth marketing. This gives your company a face and helps you get noticed.
Employees can share information with their networks to increase company reach and legitimacy and create meaningful conversations about the brand. This is not a one-way deal. Employees build their brands and build the brand of their employer.
Organisations all over the globe are investing more in employee advocacy/ambassador programmes. These programmes often revolve around tools that provide content for employees to share on social networks.
To put it simply, these are the tools that enables you to build an employer brand.
Employee Advocacy is Growing
According to Altimeter's study on employee advocacy, 90% of brands are pursuing or planning to pursue an employee advocacy initiative.
We also need to respond to changing consumer/candidate behaviour and a more cluttered advertisement market. People trust people more than organisations. According to the report, 92% of consumers trust recommendations by others, even people they do not know, over brand content.
It's not surprising then that trust-based economies are so popular, and that the idea of empowering your employees to be trusted brand advocates is so appealing.
Employee Advocacy has many Branding Benefits
Employer advocacy is, at its core, allowing businesses to do more with fewer resources. There are other amazing benefits to having your team act as brand advocates:
· Messages are original and trustworthy
· Broader channel coverage
· Ability to connect with new communities (that might not normally engage with your brand as a company)
· Expanded reach
Consider how your perception of a brand has changed after you see employees actively promoting company life. Also, think about the channels (perhaps niche ones) to promote your employer brand.
The most underutilised and undervalued business asset is the employee. Employee-generated content is great content that you can get for almost nothing. It encourages positivity within your organisation, leading to a happier workforce and lower attrition.
How Employee Advocacy can Solve Employer Branding Problems
Trusted friends and family can share information about a brand, which gives it a depth of authenticity that is hard to achieve through paid marketing.
Research shows that people and their professional networks are the most influential sources of talent attraction.
People are increasingly seeking feedback and validation at all stages of the process.
Reviews are now an accepted norm before purchasing any product. Content written by your employees will have more impact on consumers than any other marketing medium.
Employee advocacy is all about the 'why.' Let's now examine the 'what’.
A Strong Employee Advocacy Programme
Your employee advocacy programme's structure will depend on your marketing goals and what approach you believe will work best for your company.
First, determine which type of employee you want to be.
· The most reach: Which employees have the largest and most engaged networks of contacts?
· Employees who use social media and are already engaging in advocacy behaviour: without the need to create or train a new habit. With employees, you can have quick wins.
· The employees who have the greatest influence or pull in their talent communities. Who are your most fascinating thought leaders?
Next, you must create strategies that appeal to them. You can give them direction, encourage the right behaviours, and give them the tools to communicate with any audience they may be targeting, including customers, shareholders, and investors.
Assisting Employees in Advocacy Success
Employee advocacy is a great way to make a difference. It's easy to see how it can be a huge benefit. But it's even more frustrating when your employees don't get involved.
Let's suppose your employees don't share your content. What can you do to make sure they do?
First, decide if an advocacy or ambassador programme is right for you.
Although the concept of employees advocating for their employer is similar, the approach is different.
· Ambassador Programmes: Uses well-selected thought leaders to attract high-end talent.
· Advocacy programmes employ more people to mobilise the masses through their greater reach.
Once you have chosen a strategy, following a systematic approach to managing the process is important.
Take into account the following:
· How to train employees about advocacy
· Educate employees about the personal and organisational benefits of participating
· How to remove obstacles such as time or creativity that may prevent you from participating
These behaviours can be integrated into the employee experience to create an environment of brand advocacy where employees act as influencers.
The corporate communications department should develop and implement every employee advocacy strategy. You must create workflows to obtain publishing approval, which is often the most difficult hurdle, and understand the questions and concerns of those responsible for corporate reputation and risk management.
It's not easy to advocate for employees. It will take time. However, you can expect a positive long-term impact if your organisation commits to an advocacy or ambassador programme.
Have you implemented an employee advocacy programme?
Employer branding through employee advocacy has become increasingly important in today's cluttered advertising market.
Businesses can create a trustworthy and authentic brand image by utilising the most trusted resource in any organisation – its people.
Employee advocacy allows for original and trustworthy messages, broader channel coverage, and expanded reach.
Creating a strong employee advocacy programme and assisting employees in advocacy success can lead to a happier workforce, lower attrition, and a long-term impact on a company's reputation.
With 90% of businesses pursuing or planning to pursue an employee advocacy initiative, it is clear that employee advocacy is a growing trend that can solve employer branding problems and offer significant benefits.
Need help developing an effective employee advocacy programme? Reach out to EWM today!