Social media is a vital component to any business, especially when it comes to sales. In fact, 72% of salespeople that use social media say that they not only reach their quota but even exceed it 23% more often than those that don’t use social media.
The reason? Focusing on the needs of their target audience – a strategy called social selling. Salespeople can engage with prospects as they guide them through their brand’s buyer’s journey. So, they’re not only able to speed up the process. They also increase the likelihood of gaining loyal customers that will make repeat purchases.
Unfortunately, consumer behaviors change. These days, customers have higher expectations for the brands offering a specific product or service they want to buy. On top of this, consumer trust towards branded content has been declining. This can cause huge losses in potential deals that your salespeople can close.
As a business owner, it’s crucial to keep up with the trends and adjust your social selling strategy so that you still hit your revenue goals.
Employees: your brand’s secret weapon
What’s interesting to note is that there’s now a shift in consumer’s trust from a brand’s CEOs and marketing department to their employees, according to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer report.
The results from this study echo a study done by the Nielsen Group, which shows that 90% of customers trust product and brand recommendations from people they know. On the other hand, only 33% of customers trust content published by the brand itself.
All these points to one crucial fact: people are more willing to trust your employees when it comes to information about your brand and products. It’s for this reason why brands are now beginning to incorporate employee advocacy into their social selling strategy.
What is employee advocacy and why do you need it?
Employee advocacy is essentially the promotion of your company’s brand message with the help of your employees on social media, your blog, and other online assets.
Done right, incorporating an employee advocacy program into your social selling strategy is a cost-effective way of generating qualified leads and increasing sales revenue. Just take a look at these stats:
- Brand content posted by employees get shared 24x more frequently compared to those published using the brand’s social media account (Scribd)
- Salespeople are 7x more likely able to close leads generated through employee advocacy programs. (Find and Convert)
- 64% of brands implementing a social employee advocacy program can attract and develop new business. (Hinge Marketing)
- Employee advocacy generates 450% return on investment. (Smarp)
8 steps to add employee advocacy to your social selling strategy
- Choose up to two social media channels to use.
- Set clear goals and expectations.
- Provide your employees with guidelines to follow.
- Provide ample resources and tools.
- Conduct regular training sessions.
- Encourage employees to create their own content.
- Offer perks and incentives.
- Monitor and track your progress.
1. Choose up to two social media channels to use.
It’s tempting to use the top social media networks in your employee advocacy program. However, you’re more able to generate results by focusing on just one or two. The reason is that each social media network have their own guidelines and policies your employees need to master. By narrowing down these options, your employees can learn to maximize the reach and engagement rates faster.
When choosing which social media channels to include in your employee advocacy program, take the time to review your brand’s buyer persona. This is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal client, which contains information which social they prefer using. That way, you can be sure that your program reaches the most number of potential clients or customers.
2. Set clear goals and expectations.
Like with any marketing strategy, you have to make sure that you clearly establish the goals you want to achieve for your employees. Not only would this help you monitor and track your progress, but – more importantly – you’re clear on the expectations you have towards your employees’ posts and participation.
3. Provide your employees with guidelines to follow.
Once you have your goals and expectations in place, the next step is to provide them with a social media policy to guide your employees how and what they should post on their social media accounts.
A social media policy is a guide which clearly defines what message you want to send out, which products you should promote, and what tone or language you should use. Having this in place will ensure cohesiveness among the different posts your employees upload. Also, it will protect your company from unwanted legal and security problems.
4. Provide ample resources and tools.
Your employees have many things to do. So it’s essential that you provide them with sufficient tools and resources to make it easy for them to create, curate, and upload posts in their social media accounts.
Investing in a robust employee advocacy tool is one of them. This can serve as a centralized platform where your employees can go and choose pre-approved branded content created by your marketing department to post on social media. At the same time, it serves as the place where they can submit posts for you or your marketing team to approve. What’s more important – it will provide you with analytics to help you monitor and track the progress of your campaign.
An online logo maker is another tool to provide those involved in your employee marketing program. Your logo is one of the major components of your company’s branding. It’s a visual representation of what you stand for, what your mission is, and what sets you apart from your competitors. So it’s crucial to make sure that it’s presented uniformly in all of your posts.
5. Conduct regular training sessions.
Believe it or not, not all of your employees are comfortable with posting regularly on social media. Scheduling regular training sessions will make sure that all the employees involved are on the same page when you launch your employee advocacy program. These training sessions are great to teach your employees how to use the tools and resources you provide them with, so they can maximize your potential.
After your employees go through the initial training session, make sure that you schedule refresher courses on a regular basis. That way, you can keep your employees updated on any changes happening on social media and your overall sales and marketing strategies.
6. Encourage employees to create their own content.
Your employees know their network better than you do, and they know which kinds of posts will generate the highest engagement level.
That said, give your employees the liberty to create content. Doing this will encourage them to participate further because they don’t feel that they’re being ordered around. It will also give the employee advocacy social posts that all-important personal touch, making them more relatable to your target audience.
7. Offer perks and incentives.
Very few things in the business world you can get for free. Having a team of employees enthusiastic to participate in your employee advocacy program isn’t one of them.
As I mentioned earlier, getting your employees onboard would mean you’re adding one more task to their list. So it’s only natural that your employees would want to know what they’ll get in return.
The chart below shows the top benefits and incentives you can offer to your employees to make it worth their time.
As you see, money isn’t the only incentive you can offer. Ask your employees to find out what incentives and perks would encourage them to come onboard and be consistently participating in your employee advocacy program.
8. Monitor and track your progress.
Once you’ve incorporated your employee advocacy program to your social selling strategy, you’ll want to monitor it to make sure that it’s creating a positive effect on your overall sales goals. That way, you can promptly make adjustments if the metrics are not what you’re expecting. You should also consider keeping an eye on how your staff is performing with an employee productivity calculator or something similar.
Social selling has made significant contributions to businesses when it comes to generating revenues. Incorporating an employee advocacy program using these steps will further enhance it as you’re able to tap into what your customers consider as the most trustworthy members of your business: your employees.