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By Nicole Braley

There is one major question facing companies: Is your 2022 marketing plan focused on the right things? As marketers, we’re always tuned in to our audiences. But the last two years may have shifted our approach to clients and prospects. We now understand their need to connect better than ever before, and we’ve been able to adapt, legitimizing their concerns, acting as guides and solving new problems together.

But this approach and renewed focus is not just limited to marketers, it includes employees. After the past two years, we’re more in touch, more empathetic and more motivated to drive opportunity. And this renewed focus on employee experience (EX) is directly related to customer experience (CX).

CX is becoming, more and more, a critical component of the marketing suite. CX looks at the entirety of the lifecycle of the customer, and because of this, many companies are moving CX under marketing. Leaders across all industries are seeing the revenue correlation between EX and CX – engaged employees lead to better customer experience, and thus, better sales – and companies are working to have all cylinders firing to make that a reality. Employee advocacy programs are the most effective and cost-efficient way to do it.

It is incredibly powerful when you have the breadth of your employees promoting and sharing the good news and work of the organization, and amplifying your market messaging to customers and prospects. Not to mention, it’s 100% free. The best kind of marketing!

How To Execute An Employee Advocacy Program

So, what is employee advocacy? Entrepreneur defines it well: “Employee advocacy occurs when employees actively represent the company’s brand on social media channels, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and even specialty hiring sites like Glassdoor. Grassroots social media efforts are effective because the message comes not from executives or from the human resources department — who obviously have a stake in increasing sales or attracting top talent — but from actual employees.”

The first step to building an internal program is getting executive buy-in. Leadership needs to see the value – and model behaviour as such – for the program to take off and maintain its effectiveness.

You also need to get your employees engaged as well. Share messaging internally to explain the program and the benefits for both the company and the employees. Let your team know you’re giving them the opportunity to build their professional reputation online, while also helping spread the word about the brand by sharing stories on their social networks.

Once executives and employees are on board, it’s time to operationalize. There are many web-based platforms to help manage, distribute and publish content. Using technology to help with the content creation and amplification is a must. The goal is to create content on a daily basis so the company has a variety of content to share, and trying to manage that process without the benefit of a platform can be tedious and overwhelming. Plus, tech provides metrics to track employee engagement.

What type of content is populated in an employee advocacy tool? You can promote earned media, the launch of new websites, executive interviews, articles featuring or written by staff, company blog posts, the list goes on. If it features your company or an employee, it’s content worth sharing. And because the content is coming from the marketing team, you get to control the messaging! If you’re in marketing, you know just how crucial that is.

The Most Important Part Of Employee Advocacy

In reality, the execution of a program doesn’t start with the actual doing. It starts with transparency and socialization. Transparency is the single most important way to build trust and awareness company wide. Boil down your plan to the essence of what it’s doing for your customers, and how/why employees should get excited.

Clearly outline to internal business leaders how marketing and employee advocacy will drive business, and through which focus areas. Discussing with them helps get full alignment, and gives internal stakeholders the opportunity to ask questions.

Employee advocacy programs are the best way to help EX drive a better CX. Getting the word out, from the mouths of employees instead of the public relations team, in an authentic way generates positive brand awareness. Your 2022 marketing plans need to include an employee advocacy program.

Feature Image Credit: getty

By Nicole Braley

Nicole R. Braley is a marketing executive, servant leader, career coach, and a frequent speaker for business media. Connect today: LinkedInRead Nicole Braley’s full executive profile here.

Sourced from Forbes

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