Employee Advocacy is an approach companies of all sizes and industries can implement to boost their cross-departmental efforts.
Employees truly are a company’s strongest asset and most visible ambassadors. While a successful Employee Advocacy program requires planning and goals, it can have countless benefits for sales, marketing, and HR, as well as the organization and its employees alike.
What is the Significance for B2B and B2C?
B2B and B2C companies are slightly different, when it comes to sales and marketing. The B2B approach can be one-to-many, whereas B2C is about reaching that one customer who will make a purchase. B2C marketing is also often more emotional and focused on the benefits of the product, whereas B2B is more logic.
So where does Employee Advocacy step in? Let us go through some of the most common benefits for B2B and B2C companies.
Employees can greatly improve the reach of the brand. B2B companies often don’t have an arsenal of customers spreading word of mouth for them. Instead, they have employees who know the product well and have an insight into the company. They also have extensive networks on social media, whom they can share their knowledge and content about the brand to. 92 per cent of B2B marketers already use social media content as their most popular tactic.
This provides an excellent opportunity to share information about the company’s service in terms that the audience will understand, and more importantly, spot in their feed.
Educational Content Can Be Pivotal for B2B Companies
B2B companies often sell a product or service that doesn’t come with a user manual. They are designed to solve problems instead of immediate needs, and purchase decisions are also part of a more intricate decision-making system in B2B. B2B content can weave storytelling into the process – for example, how an entire company has made use of the service. Better yet, the content can be a case study that is from the client’s angle entirely.
Advocates know the products or services they represent well and by leveraging useful content about them, they can provide the information needed to make a purchasing decision. B2B salespeople can also share educational content to spark the interest of prospects and encourage them to get in touch.
It Can Shorten the Sales Cycle
People buy from other people. It can make a huge difference if you spot a post from your friend about a brand on social media, versus seeing that brand advertisement in the upper corner of their screen. The public’s trust in institutions in waning, and peers have become credible as experts, The Edelman Trust Barometer 2017 reveals.
B2B companies must tackle long sales cycles. If you get a reliable testimonial from a familiar person, the sales cycle is likely to be shorter than if the research is made from scratch. High growth firms are more likely than their slower growing counterparts to report that a formal employee advocacy program helps to shorten sales cycles.
What about B2C?
When it comes to B2C industries, there are different approaches and problems involved with marketing and attracting customers. The nature of the relationship between the brand and consumer is also distinct. The benefits of Employee Advocacy for B2C have been considered less tangible. There are, however, plenty of opportunities there.
Marketing in B2C often works on slightly different impulses than the B2B industry. B2C businesses rely heavily on visual marketing and try to engage prospects through emotions and immediate needs. Consumers do research online to find out information about a product, and they often make the purchase and entire payment immediately.
When brand advocates actively share content to their social networks, they can reach even the most “passive” ones of prospects by simply providing educational content, because the target audience knows the person posting or commenting on it.
Individuals have access to certain features on social media platforms that companies do not, such as the ability to post in LinkedIn groups. Seeing that recommendation or information about a product posted by a person, not a brand, can make a huge difference.
Employees Can Provide Trustworthy Testimonials
Consumers want to know how products work in practice. Employees know the product inside out – “your employees spend time every day answering customers’ questions, managing their projects, and communicating with them.” This is why it’s smart to allow employees to produce the content that is shared to consumers and provide testimonials, which their networks can read.
This is particularly helpful if the product is not widespread enough to have customers already posting reviews online. When employees share educational content, they may persuade their networks looking for a specific product to buy theirs because they can provide that first-hand experience.
Retention is one of the key challenges B2C companies struggle with. After buying a product, they may not return for a long time, if ever. There is an exponentially growing pool of products available online, making consumers likely to try out different brands, unless they’ve decided that yours is the one to go with.
By building reach and boosting trust towards the brand, brands can use Employee Advocacy to fuel their customer retention rate, but only if they are able to make it through the clutter with authentic messaging and the right kind of content reaching the right audience.
Do you have any experiences in working with Employee Advocacy in B2B or B2C? We’d love to hear about them.