Everyone has heard someone complain about not liking their job. And I think it’s safe to say that the place your friend is constantly talking down on wouldn’t be a place that you’d apply. Likewise, if you have a friend who often shares about how much they love their job, it will likely pique your interest. The latter is what it looks like to be a brand advocate.
So, what does it mean to be a brand advocate?
A brand advocate is a person who publicly supports or recommends a brand, product, or service. They are usually customers or employees of a business who share about a company or product for no incentive. Brand advocates are the connection between your brand and potential customers. They help others make informed decisions.
Not only does having employees as brand advocates encourage potential customers to buy in, but it also helps with hiring new employees. People listen to what their friends and family have to say. Simply put, it’s the power of Word of Mouth (WOM) marketing.
Word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing is when a consumer’s interest in a company’s product or service is reflected in their daily dialogue. Essentially, it is free marketing triggered by employee or customer experiences. WOM marketing is essential, as one happy customer or employee can often turn into several new ones.
WOM marketing is more credible than traditional forms of marketing because it is unpaid, and there is often no incentive to participate in it. People have a much stronger connection to their network than you do. Employees are closest to the core of the company. According to Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy, “Ninety-two percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth or recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising—an increase of 18 percent since 2007.”
With how far and how fast social media allows information to spread, WOM marketing has a far more significant impact than it used to. With the click of a button, people can share their thoughts with their entire network in a matter of seconds. And, every time an employee shares a social post from your brand’s account, they are advocating on behalf of your brand to their entire network.
By utilizing your employee’s social reach, you have the opportunity to increase your brand exposure exponentially.
Sprout Social says it best, “Your employees are often your best salespeople (even if they’re not in sales). They have more influence over the products and services their friends and family buy than any piece of marketing material you can come up with.”
How do you encourage your employees to be brand advocates?
It starts with taking care of your employees and creating a company culture that employees are proud to be a part of. While it should be obvious that taking care of your employees will help your retention rate, company reputation, and maybe even how you feel about yourself as a business owner, it can also allow you to tap into the networks of your individual employees through WOM as we touched on earlier. And likely, this expanded network has many people included in it that can be otherwise described as your ideal target customer.
As mentioned above, social media is another way that employees can be brand advocates. While you don’t need to ask your employees to share social posts, you should be posting content that inspires your employees. If they are passionate about what your company is posting and believe that their family and friends can benefit from it, they are likely to share it on their own. When they share a post on their personal social accounts, they are acting as a brand advocate for your company to their entire network.
Another easy way to encourage employees to be brand advocates is by offering them free company swag. Every time that they wear that swag out in public, they are essentially advocating for your brand. At In Time Tec, we greet our new employees on their first day with an In Time Tec t-shirt, water bottle, and sticker. We also offer sweatshirts, polos, and even In Time Tec branded face masks so there is something for everyone. We have found that it is worth the investment to purchase nice company swag so employees will feel inclined and proud to rep their company branded clothing.
It’s time for some reflections- what are you doing to give your employees such a good experience that they feel the need to share it with others?