Employee advocacy lets workers reach others with brand messaging in channels that aren't always related to the brand itself. That means the proverbial net is thrown beyond the brand's own reach, expanding the audience to members who wouldn't otherwise be exposed to the company or product. For HP, employee advocacy helps them to extend their marketing reach—and experts across the online marketing world believe employee advocacy is going to become a key part of every marketing strategy in the next five years.
The Next Big Thing
In 2014, marketing and conference guru Mike Edelhart was asked to identify the next big thing in online marketing. Edelhart pushed aside expected answers and identified employee advocacy as an essential and powerful force for brands. Some reasons employee advocacy is the next big thing in online marketing include:
- The younger generation of workers coming into all industries are tech and social media savvy.
- The new generation of employees wants more than stability and a steady paycheck—they want involvement, engagement, and culture. They want to matter and to be a part of things.
- Employee advocacy isn't just good for marketing—it can engage employees and improve production, reduce attrition, and help create better working environments.
Communication Will Be Key
Statistics indicate that 94% of employees today want more communication from executives about the brand and what is happening within the organization; only 21% of workers feel like management does a good job at communicating. For employee advocacy to bridge gaps in marketing and lead the way in online branding in the next few years, organizations must improve communication channels. Because even small and mid-sized businesses can have workers in multiple locations, virtual communications are of growing importance. Emails, instant messaging, and telephone communications are great, but leadership is also making increased use of video chat, video conferencing, and published videos that help put faces to words and increase engagement and buy-in. There is also a whole new wave of communication tools, like employee advocacy tools, that can help you extend your reach and engage with your audience.
Technology and Tools
Any marketer knows that the easier you make something for the customers, the more likely it is that you'll convert them. The same holds true for employees: make advocacy easy by providing the right tools. Employee advocacy tools like EveryoneSocial make it easy for workers to share your message online, while also integrating components like game theory that encourage repeat activity based on building values within the company social, cultural, or team structure.
As tech tools increase worker abilities to advocate online, organizations have to keep pace with social media policies that protect the brand while empowering employees. Brands will need to develop and maintain policies and training materials to ensure appropriate employee advocacy. Because social media trends are constantly evolving, organizations will have to remain educated about online marketing and trends in the upcoming years to get the most out of advocacy programs.