The Real Value of Your Employees' Social Media Reach
June 1, 2017
At the risk of sounding crass, let’s be blunt: The purpose of marketing is to generate revenue. We raise awareness to start relationships that lead to sales qualified leads that convert to revenue. We publish eBooks to capture leads we can nurture to create revenue. We…well, you get the picture.
That’s not to say marketing can’t be creative, or genuinely helpful, or make the world a better place. It most certainly can, and we should strive toward all these goals. But ultimately, we have to tie even our coolest projects and most viral videos to revenue.
So it’s time to bring revenue into the mix when we talk about encouraging employees to promote your brand on social media. The official term for a strategic program that ties employee social media activity to revenue is “employee advocacy.”
Most of the time, we talk about advocacy in terms of expanding reach, developing thought leadership, and building relationships. All of these goals are essential for marketing, but to really get the executive buy-in a program needs to succeed, we need to bring it back to dollars and cents.
Of course, the revenue your employee advocacy brings in will vary depending on your program’s goals, level of engagement, even your industry. But we can take the facts and figures from LinkedIn’s research and come up with a general idea of just how much employee advocacy can contribute to the bottom line.
The Real-Dollar Value of Employee Advocacy
Step 1: Audience Size
Our research shows that employee networks have, on average, 10 times as many connections as a company’s Company Page followers. Let’s say your company has 10,000 followers; that means collectively your employees’ networks have around 100,000.
As your employees share quality content, their network will continue to grow, too. That will extend the reach of your brand messaging even further. But for now we’ll stick with the initial 100,000.
Step 2: Audience Responsiveness
Just reaching an audience is only half the battle. They have to take action to have an effect on revenue. Employee shares do better than corporate shares in that arena, too. Employee shares tend to have 2 times the CTR of corporate shares, even when it’s the exact same content.
In general, a brand post on social media gets around .5% CTR. So of your 10,000 followers on the corporate account, .5% might click through, or 50 total. Of your employees’ 100,000 followers, 1% will click through, for a total of 1,000.
Step 3: Marketing Lead to Sales Lead
After the initial conversion, you have a marketing qualified lead. These leads need to be nurtured to become sales qualified leads. B2B benchmarks from Salesforce suggest that 31.3% of website leads convert to sales opportunities.
That means of the 50 marketing qualified leads, around 15 will convert to sales opportunities. 15.65, to be exact, but the .65 is not likely to make a purchase. Or your 1,000 employee-attributed leads, you will end up with 313 opportunities.
Step 4: Profit
The last bit of math is how much a sales qualified lead (SQL) is worth to the company. That figure varies wildly from company to company, but odds are your sales team has a figure you can use to really personalize the dollar amount.
For now, let’s say the value of an SQL is $100.00, based on the lifetime value of a customer and your sales team’s conversion rate. Without employee advocacy, you end up with $1500.00 from your corporate shares. With your employees sharing higher-converting content with an extended network, you end up with $31,300 in revenue. That’s over six times what your brand could accomplish with corporate shares alone.
Granted, this is like one of those physics problems where you assume you’re on a frictionless plane with spherical cows. The actual value of employee advocacy to your company will vary. But this mental exercise only shows the starting potential—with a sustained, strategic program, you can increase your employees’ reach, get more employees on board, and share more engaging content. All of which can directly affect your department’s contribution to revenue.
To learn more about how employee advocacy makes good business sense, download The Official Guide to Employee Advocacy.