Your employees are the voice of your company and biggest advocates. Use them!

Many companies have embraced content marketing and have had degrees of success with it. Every month I talk to a handful of businesses about their social media marketing strategy.

One of the biggest misses I see with almost all the companies that are ineffective on social media is they all lack advocacy from their employees. In fact, some companies still prohibit their employees from engaging online with company posts. Taking this stance shows a complete lack of trust in your employees.

Your employees are you thought leaders and subject area experts. They should be encouraged to engage on the company’s posts.

Lack of employee advocacy is often a glaring hole in a company’s marketing strategy.

Last year, I was in a client meeting with nine of their top executives and managers present. They had a content marketing program that was failing. The first thing they asked me was about the quality of the content. Was there a problem with their writing styles, titles, images, the times they were posting, etc.?

They had a CEO that was an exceptionally talented writer. They had other employees that were writing good blogs. They had a social media manager that was posting creative content to their company social sites.

Clearly, the problem was not their content.

The meeting was just after lunch. That morning the CEO had published a blog post on LinkedIn. It was an incredible piece loaded with great insights from the career of the company’s top executive. The post was performing miserably. It lacked engagement, and the lack of views was an insult to the high-quality piece of content that had been produced.

During the first 30 minutes of the meeting, I sat there and mostly listened to them tell me about their company’s woes with their content marketing and social media strategy. The excuses they gave were all pointed toward external factors. They blamed the lack of engagement on platforms.

Finally, when it was my turn to talk. I asked a simple question: “How many of you liked, commented, or shared the CEO’s blog post on LinkedIn this morning?”

What do you think the response was? After shifting uncomfortably in their seats and some visible signs of quick thinking in search of a way to spin their answer so that they weren’t guilty. None of them had tweeted it out or even so much put a like on the post.

The CEO, on the other hand, had a big grin. It was an aha moment for all of them and the exact moment the company’s culture began to shift toward embracing employee advocacy to boost their content marketing efforts.

Why should you encourage your employees to share company content?

  • Increased SEO and traffic to the company website
  • Studies show consumers will listen to individuals more than brands
  • Employee advocacy can expand content distribution by 10x or more helping your company reach a much larger audience.

Consider these statistics from recent studies:

  • 91% of B2B buyers are influenced by word-of-mouth when making their buying decision. [USM]
  • 56% of B2B purchasers look to offline word-of-mouth as a source of information and advice, and this number jumps to 88% when online word-of-mouth sources are included. [BaseOne]
  • Word-of-mouth has been shown to improve marketing effectiveness by up to 54%. [MarketShare]
  • 68% trust online opinions from other consumers, which is up 7% from 2007 and places online opinions as the third most trusted source of product information. [Nielsen]

Consumers place a higher level of trust in experts. This drives influence in the marketplace which can play an important role in affecting purchasing decisions.

The bottom line is that an effective employee advocacy program drives brand awareness and increases referral traffic to your website, which will improve your conversion rates substantially.

Article originally posted on Inc:

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