Using colleagues as advocates

Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool. LinkedIn research shows how much employees can help promote the organisation.

Research shows that recommendations, whether by family and friends or others, are a key influencer in purchasing decisions.  The connectivity of social networks amplifies the power of personal recommendation and word of mouth.

Organisations are keen to engage in social listening and to participate in positive social conversations as ways to raise brand profiles.  But having others engage in positive conversations about your organisation is much more valuable than the organisation talking about itself.  And who better to participate in these conversations than an organisation’s employees?  Particularly if they are able to talk positively and honestly about their work.

On average, a person has 130 connections on Facebook - and when you multiply that by the number of employees in an organisation then the potential reach of such positive messages becomes clear.

Linked-In conducted a simple experiment to test the reach of employee messages.   They posted the same post from both an organisational account and from an employee’s personal account. This is what they discovered:

  • Employee posts received twice as many click-throughs as the company’s sharing of the same content
  • Large enterprises (10,000+ employees) were the biggest beneficiaries of employee content
  • Professional services benefited the most from employee posting, but all organisations benefited from higher click-through rates

Advice for organisations interested in encouraging employee advocacy:

  • Start small – identify a cross-functional group of employees to share content regularly
  • Eduate employees on the benefits of sharing – and provide social media guidelines
  • Make it easy for them to share – provide relevant content – but without it seeming too 'corporate'.

Sources: Social media today; LinkedIn.