Traditionally, purchasing power rested with the seller. Buyers had limited information about the vendor, so in order to gain more information, they had to interact with the company through sales and service staff.
However, with the advent of social media and its ever increasing popularity, the power dynamic has shifted and buyers are the ones in the driver’s seat, determining what information they consume, when, and through their desired channels.
According to Forrester, 100% of B2B decision makers use social media for professional purposes. And 98% of business decision makers are Spectators (i.e. they read blogs, watch videos, or listen to podcasts). Therefore, it’s no longer a question of whether you should use social, but how. Social media has gone from being a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have,” especially for B2B marketers.
While most B2B marketers agree that some degree of social media presence is necessary in today’s digital buying environment, few are certain which social channels are actually worthwhile, or what role social media should play in a broader marketing strategy.
The challenges of social media
While social media presents many opportunities for companies, it also presents many challenges that first need to be addressed. Here are three of the most common challenges today:
1. Content Overload
It’s hard to stand out when you have a constant wave of new content being added to the internet on a daily basis. According to the 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 92% of marketers said social media is important to their business, so with that many marketers on social, imagine how many messages bombard buyers every minute
of every day.
Can’t fathom that? From Domo’s 2017 study on internet activity found that every minute, Twitter users tweet 456,000 times, Snapchat users share 527,760 photos, and YouTube
users watch 4,146,600 videos. So how do you stand out?
2. Pay to Reach More Buyers
In the social media marketing world, it is no secret that organic reach is falling. For example, Facebook organic reach declined by 52% in 2016 for publishers’ Pages. So to reach more people, marketers have to pay for advertising on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. In other words, it is only going to get more expensive to reach more buyers. Marketers have to ask themselves if that’s a game they want to play.
3. Lack of Trust
If you plan to reach your audience through advertising, you have a problem on your hands, and it’s not just a monetary one. Buyers are savvy. They know an ad when they see one, and they don’t necessarily like them. Nielsen has found that only 48% of people trust social media advertisements.
People trust ads in newspapers and magazines more than they trust ads on social networking sites. Heck, they even trust ads on radio more. So, what’s the point in spending hefty sums of money on social media advertising if only a few people will trust your
By empowering your employees to act as brand ambassadors for your company, you can overcome these challenges mentioned above. Here’s three reasons why employee advocacy works:
1. Large, Organic Networks of Followers
Your employees can reach more people than your brand can. Think about it from a numbers perspective. According to the Pew Research Center, the average American has 634 connections on social media.
If you have 100 employees advocating for your company, you can reach 63,400 people. If you have 500 employees advocating for your company, you can reach 317,000 people. And if you have 1,000 employees advocating for your company, you can reach 634,000 people!
The best part? The majority of those connections are new to your company.
Dell has found that 90% of an employee’s social audience is new to the brand. So, of your 1,000 employees’ 634,000 followers, 570,600 people will be new to your company, and you can reach them without spending money on ads.
2. Authentic Human-to-Human Interactions
It can be awkward speaking with a company on social media. Sure, brands have personalities, but those personalities are contrived. Corporate social accounts do not have a name or face, and many times, their messages are automated.
By empowering your employees to be active on social media, you add on a layer of authenticity. Your potential buyers can interact with real employees behind your brand, and believe it or not, buyers value this kind of interaction. Which brings us to the next point…
3. Real Trust
Buyers trust the recommendations of friends, family members, and colleagues. While only 48% of people trust ads on social media, a Nielsen study found that 84% of people trust recommendations from people they know.
If you’re not encouraging your employees to act as brand ambassadors on social, there’s a tremendous opportunity being missed. By constantly growing their connections, demonstrating expertise in their niche, and speaking about your product and services, your employees build rapport with potential buyers.
Also, because your employees have connections with their followers, they can deliver personalized messages to potential buyers – messages that are relevant to the issues buyers are trying to solve. In turn, your employees help future customers along their buying journey, whatever stage they may be at.
Believe it or not, your employees’ rapport and personalized connections translate into sales.
When employees are encouraged to use social media, they’re more likely to encourage others to buy your company’s products or services.
What’s more, according to Frederick F. Reichheld, a partner at Bain & Company, a 12% increase in brand advocacy typically generates a 2x increase in revenue growth. In other words, even a modest increase in advocacy can result in significant growth. So, what do you say? Are you ready to get started? Well then it’s definitely worth exploring the idea of employee advocacy. If you’ve never heard of the term, or are curious to learn more about it, ScribbleLive Trapit’s Employee Advocacy 101 ebook is the perfect read for you.
Or, if you prefer to speak to a marketing consultant and to learn about employee advocacy, you can contact a representative here.