You may have heard about employee advocacy in recent years. It means that you activate your employees as brand ambassadors of your organization. They share messages on their personal social media channels and ensure a greater online reach for your organization. But why should we only increase this online reach through our employees? Why not also through dealers, franchise offices or other fans of your organization? We are launching a new term for this: brand advocacy.
With brand advocacy you utilize all types of brand ambassadors to convey the message of a brand or organization on social media in an authentic way. With brand advocacy you can use the network of employees, dealers, franchisees, customers or other stakeholders on social media. Anyone can become a brand ambassador! This way you increase the online visibility of your organization or brand. Brand ambassadors regularly share fun messages about your organization, increasing visibility for the brand in their own network.
Brand advocacy can sometimes sound complicated, but it absolutely does not have to be! Actually it is very simple. The marketing department makes fun social media posts and presents them to brand ambassadors. Employees can post this message on their own social media channels with the touch of a button. Dealers and franchisees can share the posts on their company pages. Make some variations here so that not every brand ambassador shares the same message. Et voilà! The content ends up in the right place: in a huge network of existing brand ambassadors. The advantage? The networks of your brand ambassadors are very relevant! Because of your existing connection with brand ambassadors, you are largely moving in the right circles to reach your desired target group.
So, how do the posts/messages you suggest get to your brand ambassadors? You can send the messages by e-mail and/or by using the brand advocacy platform from Apostle. Within this platform you can easily suggest messages to your brand ambassadors and they can share them with the push of a button via a mobile application. They can always adjust (or reject) the messages themselves if they want to. Moreover, as an organization you keep control over the messages that are posted about your organization.
That control is important, but in the current social media era, user-generated content is also an important part of the strategy. By giving your brand ambassadors the opportunity to submit content to the marketing department themselves, you ensure that personal messages also are included. We call that authentic content. Super fun to read and a lot more personal than slick corporate messages. Research shows that 92% of customers trust these personal messages from their own network more than messages placed on company pages. In addition, they respond much faster to a message from someone they know than to a message from an organization.
These personal messages have to be written in a very different way than corporate messages. People quickly notice whether the message was written by someone or by the marketing department. Mind you, a combination of authentic and corporate content always works best. A beautifully designed visual also has its advantages.
It all sounds nice, deploying brand ambassadors, but what do you actually gain from it? The biggest advantage of brand advocacy is the enormous growth in organic reach. By using your brand ambassadors as an additional communication channel, you have a much greater reach than if you just post on a company page. Secondly, brand advocacy also saves costs. Besides paid and owned media, there is also earned media. This means that as an organization you “earn” promotion and advertising organically instead of paying for it. Your brand ambassadors only share the content that appeals to them and that they think should be shared in their network. As an organization you pay nothing for that. This improves the image of your organization. Your brand ambassadors voluntarily share content about your organization, which reflects a certain pride from the brand ambassador. Brand ambassadors share this pride in their network, which puts an organization in a positive light.
We believe in brand advocacy. Have we secretly convinced you already?
We believe in brand advocacy and the commitment of employees to optimally put companies on the map. Apostle is a brand advocacy platform that activates your brand ambassadors and keeps them motivated to share content about your organization. You can read more about our platform here.
Social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are limiting the reach of company pages. Only 1 to 2% of posts from company pages are visible on followers' timeline. With this algorithm, the social media platforms want to guarantee their original purpose, namely communication with peers. This makes your company less visible online. That is precisely why the deployment of brand ambassadors is so important.
By using the social media pages of your brand ambassadors, you also create a larger online reach. Every brand ambassador has his or her own network, which means that as an organization you suddenly reach a completely new one in addition to your followers. An important plus here is the relevance of the people you reach. Your brand ambassadors probably also have the most relevant network for your organization. Their network also believes them. Personal messages are more reliable than corporate messages. 92% of consumers have more confidence in messages posted by someone in their personal network than in messages from a company. Moreover, you also respond faster to a message from someone in your network, so that brand advocacy also ensures greater involvement on your posts.
With brand advocacy you distinguish yourself from the competition in several areas. By working with brand ambassadors, you uniquely generate a larger online reach and more brand awareness.
By involving your brand ambassadors in your marketing and social media strategy, the connection with your brand ambassadors will improve. They are more knowledgeable about the organization, feel more connected to it, become more skilled at social media and are increasing interaction with their network. Moreover, brand advocacy is a great opportunity for employees to profile themselves as an expert through personal branding and to share this expertise with their network.
Brand advocacy can be used for multiple purposes; for social selling, social marketing and social recruitment.