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Why consider Employee Advocacy? Most companies find getting their messages across to their target audience challenging. Except for the largest companies, visits to company websites are generally low. Organic traffic on Facebook is minimal. Only the best-known global companies can attract many visitors to LinkedIn pages. Blog posts struggle to find their way to audiences in increasing “content noise”. These difficulties apply to traditional company news (posted on the website) and content created specifically for social media.
More and more companies are creating blogs, videos, infographics and other content. However, excellent materials are produced in vain if they do not reach their audience due to inefficient distribution. Usually, these companies can only drive traffic to their corporate websites and social media platforms through paid solutions, most often AdWords ads and sponsored Facebook posts. However, content distributed via ads produces fewer results (clicks, leads, engagement) than those distributed organically.
The above factors contribute significantly to the vast success of influencer marketing. Influencers who are popular with their target audience, are credible, and have a high reach can be effectively engaged in distributing corporate content. But what about companies who do not target 18-24-year olds and offer products such as IP phone exchanges, cutting tools or enterprise software? Fortunately, there is an effective solution for them, and one fully integrated into business operations: employee advocacy.
84% of consumers value recommendations from friends and family more than any form of advertising (Source: Nielsen)
Company employees are also someone’s friends, relatives or acquaintances. In their network, they are micro-influencers who have a strong influence on the opinions of others. If they help spread the company’s message, they can reach a larger, more valuable audience than what is possible directly through the company’s channels.
A unique network of social influencers can be created by sharing carefully selected professional, corporate and industry content. On average, a company news story reaches 300-500 people through the company’s website and social channels. The average company employee has 400 contacts on Facebook and 450 on LinkedIn. Even if we count only 20 social influencer employees and 500 connections each, that is still a direct reach of 10,000 people! And that’s just the number of people reached directly.
Still, with a well-written, engaging, helpful, attention-grabbing post, you can reasonably expect your primary audience to share the post with others. Of course, you can expect the same for corporate channels, as we know from research on the subject that content distributed by employees is shared 24 times more often than content distributed through official company channels. (MSL Group)
Employees who publish company content are leading not only in reach and sharing but also in engagement. Social Media Today shows employees are 8x better at this than official company channels. Reach or engagement are important metrics, but ultimately every leader wants to see the number of new sales or leads. Employee advocacy also has convincing statistics: leads generated through employee social marketing convert 7x better than other leads. (IBM)
The explanation for this extraordinary success is that everyone is an opinion leader, an influencer in their social network, and more trusted by their friends than the “official” communicators.
The content-sharing process is simple and logical:
Although an employee advocacy programme could (in principle) be implemented using existing tools (email, intranet, content collection software, measurement software), the process would be complicated, slow and cumbersome. It would lose the ease with which employees could feel that content sharing is not just another burden but an exciting opportunity, a game.
The real solution is a dedicated platform that integrates content collection, content processing (writing recommendations, categorisation, tagging) and publishing. In such a system, the content manager (usually in addition to their other tasks) can provide any number of volunteer social marketers with material to share. Using the platform, all employees need to do is choose from the content on offer and publish it to their preferred channels with the click of a button.
Many people think that employee social marketing is just for sharing company news. In reality, it can be divided into a wide range of content that can be used to achieve multiple goals. The most important categories are:
The employee advocacy platform is a cloud-based service. One of its advantages is that employee social marketing can be launched with just a few enthusiastic employees who are active on social media. Even if, on average, these colleagues have 500 connections (Facebook + LinkedIn), six employee advocates can (potentially) reach 3,000 people. The system is flexible and scalable depending on the needs – the number of employees involved in the sharing.
Employee social marketing is a win-win for the company because it delivers its messages to a quality audience that is receptive to them. Employees sharing the content benefit because they position themselves as brand ambassadors and expert opinion leaders on the outside. The employees’ friends who participate in the programme also benefit because they get access to well-filtered, valuable information. What more could you want?
About the author
Attila Rasko is the co-founder and Managing Director of BBN Hungary (ContentPlus). Attila is a customer-oriented digital marketer and content marketing consultant. He also has professional certifications in Google Squared digital marketing, Hubspot inbound and Salesmanago marketing automation.
Posted by BBN Central on 29th Aug 2022
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