Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. The digital explosion has revolutionised not only the way we communicate on a personal level (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), but also the way we do business. No company can hope to stay competitive without a strong online presence, active social media channels and authentic content.
Forrester Research notes that 70 - 90% of the buyer’s journey occurs before first contact with any vendors, and most buyers consume an average of 11.4 pieces of digital content before making a purchase decision.
Your organisation's digital content plays a critical role in building awareness of your brand and relationships literally have to be built online before you even speak to a potential customer.
Employee advocacy has become one of the most valued and effective ways to drive your organisation's success online. Employees sharing branded content via their own social media channels has far greater impact than brands sending out their own corporate messages. The statistics on the impact of employee advocacy speak volumes:
- 33% of buyers trust brands, whilst 90% of customers trust recommendations from people they know (Nielsen)
- Nearly 64% of employee advocates in a formal program credit Employee Advocacy with attracting and developing new business, and nearly 45% attribute new revenue streams to Employee Advocacy (Hinge)
The substantial benefits of employee advocacy cannot be ignored, but as with all strategic initiatives, full support is needed from internal stakeholders and employees before moving to implementation. Learn to walk before you can run!
For me, Neal's words "Social media replaces nothing but complements everything" summarise perfectly how we should approach and handle social media in business.
Let me begin by saying, out of any other social media program that your enterprise decides to implement, an employee advocacy program is the one initiative that will touch more of your employees than any. Restating the obvious, employee advocacy thus has the potential to bring true culture change to your organization than any other initiative in the social media space. This is one of the primary reasons why, when implementing employee advocacy, it is an absolute must that you walk before you run.