As peer influence becomes increasingly important in B2B buying decisions, empowering employee brand ambassadors will benefit your bottom line.
I recently attended a dinner party where I met a new acquaintance. We talked about our families, our hobbies and, of course, our jobs. She recently started working for a small business about which she was tangibly passionate. After listening to her talk, I went home, immediately started following the company on social media, and purchased some products.
Some companies are overlooking their greatest marketing tool: their employees. That woman made a big impression on me and actually influenced a sale. The experience reflects a trend that’s also growing in the B2B space: the impact of peer influence on buying decisions. In fact, 68% of B2B buyers say they give credence to peer reviews in the purchase process.
Imagine the number of people you could reach through each employee’s peer network. It’s a massive opportunity.
I’ve written lately about the rise of influencer marketing. It’s a strategy B2B businesses are starting to understand and use to their advantage. But you don’t need a Kardashian or even an important industry professional to get started. Employees are your most natural, ready-made influencers.
Here are 3 reasons to invest in making your employees brand ambassadors.
3 benefits of employee brand ambassadors
1. Increased social media reach
According to a study conducted by the MSL Group, employee advocates are connected to 10X as many people as their brand on social media, and can increase the reach of brand content by 561%. If your employees are posting about your company on social media, they’re reaching a much wider audience than your company page is.
While 57% of companies have a LinkedIn company page, 94% of B2B buyers use LinkedIn to distribute content. If your employees are posting company content to their personal LinkedIn accounts, imagine the potential range your brand has to reach new audiences. And these people aren’t hearing it from your corporate page. They’re hearing it from a peer connection. That’s definitely more powerful.
2. Increased brand engagement
When it comes to increasing brand engagement, there is no better place to start than with your own employees. Peer influence is a natural extension of employees who believe in your company and its mission.
While only 3% of employees share company-relevant content on social media, they actually drive a 32% increase in engagement. And their advocacy has a greater impact their peers’ buying decisions than you might imagine. Studies show that leads gathered as a result of employee advocacy convert 7X more often than other leads.
3. Elevated employee (and company) performance
While your employees are advocating for your company, they will also benefit from their new role as brand ambassadors. They will be more engaged and invested in their jobs. And the additional responsibility will foster a sense of pride and professional growth.
That pride translates to greater productivity. Companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%. But that’s not all! Companies with highly engaged employees saw a 20% increase in sales and a 10% in customer ratings.
Empowering your employees
Successfully reframing your employees as brand ambassadors requires creating a culture that empowers and incentivizes employee participation. Offer them the appropriate training or knowledge. Ask them to complete specific tasks (e.g., sharing company content), and give them room to be creative in their ambassadorship as well. Make sure you regularly engage them and thank them for their help.
Keep in mind: Employees are much more likely to participate if what you’re asking them to do is seen as complementary, not supplementary, to their workload. Make sure you are appropriately compensating them for any activity outside of normal working hours to avoid resentment. And, most importantly, keep the dialogue open. You never know how impactful your employee brand ambassadors can be.