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Brand Advocacy: How to encourage employee engagement

According to a Gartner report from late last year, 36% of marketing leaders have deployed internal brand advocacy or employee ambassador programs, and another 27% plan to implement one this year. The Gartner team suggests that one of the key drivers of this increased activity is related to the dip in organic social post reach and to the increased reach of social messages.

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Another report from Altimeter found that employers encouraged brand advocacy from their employees because the activity:

  • Engaged employees more deeply in their work and the organization's mission (43%)
  • Gave customers a better experience with the brand (43%)

Nurture Employee Brand Advocacy

Of course, simply requiring employees to promote the company isn't going to fly for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the lack of authenticity. Altimeter analysts found that employees were most likely to advocate on social media for their employers' when they:

  • Believe in the mission and want to promote what the organization does (57%)
  • Believe in the product/services and want to share their experience creating/delivering them (46%)
  • Want to recruit new employees (42%)
  • Want friends to understand them better (42%)

If you're engaged in a social listening effort, you already know which of your employees (or volunteers and board members) are promoting your brand. Acknowledge their efforts so they're motivated to continue. If you don't know which insiders are advocating for your brand, start looking!

Adding employee voices to your product/service and influencer marketing initiatives reinforces messaging and branding and introduces your organization to wider audience.

4 Brand Advocacy Challenges to Address

In either case, consider whether you want to establish a formal employee brand advocacy program, or simply offer guidelines and support for anyone who wants to post about the organization or products/services via social media. To encourage employee brand advocacy, make sure to address these problems identified by Altimeter:

  • Content issues (53%)
  • Motivation (49%),
  • Low adoption (47%)
  • Leadership commitment and alignment (44%)

Internal brand advocacy or employee ambassador programs can provide valuable social traction that supports marketing activity and extends reach. Consider increasing or formalizing your efforts in this area to improve employee engagement and your bottom line.

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