How Employees Influence Perception of Your Brand on Social Media

April 6, 2017

Any business owner knows: When your customers speak, it pays to listen. Customers are sending a loud and clear message about hearing from your employees on social media. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, consumers are more likely to trust “another person like themselves” over experts, academics, even your CEO.

Empowering your employees to share their voice on the brand’s behalf is called “employee advocacy,” and it can be a powerful tool for boosting your business. But the benefits don’t stop at your bottom line--employee advocacy is good for customers, too.  

Customers View Employee Advocates as More Authentic

If potential buyers trust your brand, they are more likely to convert into customers. It’s as simple as that. Your company can earn that trust by harnessing the social influence of employees.

Brand messages distributed by employees are re-shared 24 times more often than if your brand distributes the messages. Plus, customers consider employee shares more authentic than corporate shares.

When employees, rather than brands, share content, potential customers are more likely to connect with it. No wonder when employees share content – whether about a marketplace issue, a product, or about their company’s work environment – they typically see a click-through rate that is 2 times higher than when their company shares the same content.

Customers View Socially Active Companies as Thought Leaders

Even empowered buyers who can readily access information online don’t necessarily want to go it alone. A LinkedIn survey of 6,000+ B2B buyers, marketers, and salespeople worldwide found that “buyers desire more expertise and consultation about the factors transforming their industries.”

Your employees can fill the void with timely, relevant, insightful ideas. In other words, you can stand apart by delivering thought leadership. Your employees can share the brand’s point of view to provoke new ways of thinking, spark discussions and debates, and inspire action.

If your company is struggling to differentiate its offerings – as more and more companies are – thought leadership is critical to standing apart and driving business. As Jeff Ernst, former analyst at Forrester Research, explains, “Business buyers don’t ‘buy’ your product or service, they ‘buy into’ your perspective and approach to solving their problems.”

Thought leadership can help your organization stay top of mind as buyers make their way through a sometimes lengthy purchase process. Seventy-five percent of would-be buyers say thought leadership helps them determine which vendor to put on their short list.

One of the most powerful ways to disseminate your company’s thought leadership is by empowering your employees to share it with their professional networks.

Customers Are More Likely to Purchase from Socially Active Companies

As your company looks to nurture prospects until they are ready to engage with a sales rep, your employees can make an impact by sharing relevant content on social networks.

Consider these documented findings:

  • Leads developed through employee social marketing convert more frequently than other leads.

  • Socially engaged companies are 57% more likely to increase sales leads.

  • Sales reps who regularly share content are 45% more likely to exceed quota.

  • According to the Hinge Research Institute, “Nearly 64% of advocates in a formal program credited employee advocacy with attracting and developing new business, and nearly 45% attribute new revenue streams to employee advocacy.”

Content can draw buyers to your company and help guide them to a purchase. The best way to get your brand’s content into your customers’ hands may be your employees. Their authenticity translates into a powerful perception of your brand in the minds of potential customers, driving brand interest, establishing your company as a respected thought leader, and fostering lasting relationships.

The best way to empower your employees to advocate is to launch and sustain an effective employee advocacy program. By doing so, you empower your employees to be social professionals while actively influencing the trajectory of your business.

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