Today’s digitally savvy customers are dialing back on 1-800 numbers and increasing their use of social media when contacting brands. More and more customers are opting to communicate with brands via social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, as opposed to traditional channels.
In fact, research from McKinsey shows that 30 percent of social media users prefer social care. In particular, the percentage of people who have used Twitter for customer service leapt nearly 70 percent, from 22 to 37 percent from 2013-14.
To take advantage of the popularity of social media, more companies are launching employee advocacy programs, which entail the promotion of an organization by its staff members. According to Altimeter Group’s “The 2015 State of Social Business Report” interest in employee advocacy has grown 191 percent since 2013, with 45 percent of respondents naming it a top external objective.
So what exactly is an employee advocacy program and how does it work? Essentially, it’s a program that is meant to generate positive awareness about a brand through social media. Designated brand advocates will discuss their positive experiences at work with their social media followers. For example, they might post a picture of a company outing to give customers a look into their company’s culture.
There are tons of benefits to launching an employee advocacy program. From a marketing perspective, companies experience an uptick in social media exposure. Oftentimes, employees have a much wider and diverse social media following, which means they are able to expose your brand to customers that you might not have the opportunity to reach before.
What’s more, these programs help attract and retain new customers as well as build trust. As past studies have shown, customers are more likely to trust product or service recommendations from friends, family or peers rather than a company itself. In addition, when customers have meaningful interactions with employees, a level or trust is formed.
Perhaps the most valuable benefit employee advocacy programs afford businesses is employee engagement. That’s right; employee advocacy programs don’t just benefit marketing, they also benefit the customer care department as well.
Giving employees the opportunity to advocate on behalf of your brand demonstrates to them that you trust them and think of them as invaluable members of your brand. In turn, employees are more likely to feel engaged and loyal to the brand. And when employees are more engaged they deliver better customer care. What’s more, employee advocacy programs encourage internal communication and collaboration, both of which keep employees highly engaged within your business.
While launching an employee advocacy program is a big undertaking—after all, there are a lot of steps to choosing the right employees and building out clear guidelines and goals—it can help your business improve its digital presence and increase employee engagement. It’s a win-win situation for both customers and your bottom line. So what are you waiting for?
Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.