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Why consumer distrust necessitates employee advocacy [PODCAST]

Who doesn’t check review websites or talk with a friend (or two) before taking a trip or making a major purchase? Does a day go by that someone doesn’t ask on social media, “Who knows a (fill in the blank) that can help me fix this problem?” Every brand should strive to be the answer to that question. It’s no secret that consumers trust friends and third parties more than they trust advertising and brand-produced content. According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer, messages from real people are seven times more likely to engage someone than a message from a brand. Generating positive word of mouth has long been within the purview of the public relations gurus, but the daily tsunami of content – much of which is ignored – means that brands need to activate every possible channel at their disposal to distribute content to audiences that will both pay attention and trust the source. Fortunately, brands have a very powerful asset to tap for just such a purpose: their employees. How brands can activate, manage, and cash in on employee advocacy was addressed in a podcast recording by Julio Viskovich, V.P. of Marketing at rFactr and a Forbes Top 30 Social Media Influencer.

Before Jumping In

Many companies hear or read about employee advocacy, think it’s a great idea, and jump headlong into it without a great deal of thought. Their first step is often a memo or email to the entire company encouraging employees to tweet the brand’s latest content. Not surprisingly, this effort produces lackluster, if any, response. Here are four questions you will want to answer before launching an employee advocacy program.

  1. How will you convince your employees to voluntarily adopt the program? In other words, what’s in it for them? In many cases the answer is professional development. A good employee advocacy program will help people build their thought leadership skills and become a leader in their niche.
  2. How will your employee advocacy program impact the brand? Will it simply raise reach and awareness, or will it actually help generate leads and sales? In today’s business climate, marketing is expected to make a positive financial impact.
  3. What kind of training will you provide? Knowing which employees are most active on social media is important, because they will be the first to adopt your program. Best practices for how to share content and engage others must be taught. There will need to be a company policy that explicitly states what is acceptable to say and what is not. Successful programs utilize a learning management system (LMS) to measure employee skillsets before, during, and after training.
  4. How will you measure lead generation and sales attribution? This program will take time and effort, both of which are worth money. How will you prove that your program is producing an ROI that justifies its existence?

If these four questions have you shaking your head, rest assured that the necessary social media technology tools already exist to assist you with training and measuring.

One Last Thing

Before you decide whether or not employee advocacy is right for your brand, be sure to listen to the complete podcast with Julio Viskovich of rFactor. He will help you move forward with eyes wide open. Many brands are finding that employees are their best advocates. How does your brand tap the power of employees on social media today? On This Social Business Engine Podcast Episode You'll Discover

  • How Edelman's Trust Barometer gauges consumer trust and why consumers are looking more to third-party individuals than to brands.
  • How messages from real people are seven times more likely to receive engagement
  • Why Julio says ongoing employee social media training and progress measurement is necessary.
  • Why Julio says content is the absolute bullseye of a successful employee advocacy program.

Featured On This Episode of the Social Business Engine Podcast

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