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The Untapped Power of Employee Advocacy

in B2B Marketing

"Your employees are now your billboards, communicating with your industry on a daily basis, on the topics that matter right now". - Ogilvy 2024 Influencer Trends.
 
 

People buy from people they trust.
 
Elongated sales cycles, expanding buying committees, and the constant battle against the status quo, B2B marketers face a myriad of challenges.
 
Yet, amidst these intricacies lies a fundamental truth: the power of human connection. People prefer buying from individuals they trust, making personal interaction a pivotal aspect of the B2B journey.
 
Three years ago, I began championing an employee advocacy program that empowers employees at all levels to create, curate, and share company & industry-specific content. The program enhanced content reach drove organic engagement and ensured that our brand remained top-of-mind for our audiences.
 
Why Employee Advocacy?

Consider this: 80% of B2B leads from social media emanate from LinkedIn. In 2024, advertising costs on the platform surged by 30% in some cases. Against this backdrop, the organic reach for brand content hovers around a modest 5%. 
The content employees share garners 8x more engagement than that shared through brand channels on LinkedIn. An employee advocacy program can drive 16% better win rates, 2x pipeline, and deliver 48% larger deals. Overall, content shared by the broader team outperformed brand content on LinkedIn. 
 
Democratizing Thought Leadership

Consider employee advocacy as a democratization of thought leadership. Imagine the impact when not only the C-suite but also tens, hundreds or thousands of employees share insights and successes. This collective effort significantly amplifies a brand's voice and authenticity.
 
Overcoming Challenges With Implementing Employee Advocacy Programs.

The most common issues with employee advocacy program rollouts include - 
•    Few colleagues had limited presence or connections with intended audiences on LinkedIn
•    Discovering shareable content was inconvenient
•    Most colleagues were busy, which came in the way of regular content-sharing
•    Participating employees were often unclear about "what's in it for them" from the program 
 Appropriate training programs, a platform to drive content discovery, gamification by creating short-burst enterprise-wide contests and reinforcement through communication of success stories helped get through the initial hurdles.
 
Collaboration across marketing, learning and development, communication and IT teams paved the way for a successful program.
 
Measure Of Success

The success of these programs can typically be measured via organic traffic growth, self-reported attribution, and earned media value. 
 
A couple of other unexpected benefits emerged after ramping up employee advocacy:
A feedback loop emerged, guiding our content strategy towards high-engagement topics. 
Crucially, marketing became a responsibility of a broader organization instead of a small centralized marketing team. It improved the collective marketing consciousness across the organization.
 
The Future of Employee Advocacy

In 2024, Ogilvy identified employee advocacy as the #1 trend in influencer marketing. My journey with employee advocacy has been a revelation. It's a testament to the power of leveraging our most valuable asset—our people—to foster trust and connection in the B2B sphere.
 
For organizations looking to navigate the complexities of modern B2B marketing, embracing employee advocacy is not just beneficial; it's essential.


Sources: 


Written By Garima Mamgain, Global Segment Marketing Manager, Auto Electrification, 3M Inc

Published on 22 February 2024

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