In an era of mistrust, Employee Advocacy matters more than ever.
Why is Employee Advocacy now more important than ever? Because, as Edelman Trust Barometer 2017 reveals, trust is in crisis. There is a feeling of injustice and hopelessness in the air, and people’s trust in institutions and authorities has declined significantly.
Diminishing trust is a key motivation for supporting genuine communication, as done by employees. Employee advocates nurture trust by communicating the right things in the right ways.
Who is trusted anymore, anyways?
If the government, media, businesses and even NGOs have lost their credibility, what is the situation with their employees?
The CEO and board of directors have taken the biggest hit in trust. It seems that people have also had enough of experts. The credibility of “a person like yourself” dropped the least, meaning that experts still trust each other and CEOs believe in CEOs.
To build the audience’s trust, you should support employee branding that correlates with your buyer personas. Operating as an employee advocate in one’s own network works as a cure for trust issues, when people on social media can identify with their peers.
What should employee advocates talk about?
It’s the final hour to realize that your online employer branding should not consist of repeating branded messages. Trust isn’t built by tooting your own horn!
Employees should speak with their own voice and words about the things that need to be verified. I have said it before: Employee Advocacy springs from a good work experience. Positive experiences make for powerful employer branding material. It matters now more than ever, since it benefits both your employees and your audience.
In practice, employees should communicate about:
- Practical experiences and stories about being treated well
- Story-like cases of high-quality products and services (not ads)
- Showing the audience how clients are being listened to
An employee is the most trusted source, especially when it comes to the treatment of employees and customers, but also in all other categories.
Notice that personal experience is slightly more believable than data, and outspokenness trumps being polite. Spontaneity is also a factor when the audience considers the authenticity of information.
What tools should employee advocates use to grow trust?
Traditional media shows the steepest decline, but it isn’t the only media to suffer. Social media has also lost points in credibility.
Search engines, online-only media and owned media have experienced a positive progress as information sources. The effects of this should be considered for Employee Advocacy purposes too. Every communicator in your organization should be encouraged to tell stories that have the greatest possibility to appear in search engines. What types of content work best for SEO?
I believe that your employees should produce and share at least the following:
- Blog articles regularly
- Detailed and information rich lists
- Multi-page guides
- Visualized data or complex information
Visualized data is worthy of being published as an image on social media channels, so try for example GIF’s on Twitter. I would also publish videos on YouTube etc. and then embed them to a blog etc.
This is the time to concentrate on your employees’ voices, message and communication tools. It has never been more important.