As marketers develop their game plans for 2016, we’re looking back on some of the statistics that reveal the most about the current state of sales, marketing, and consumer behavior.
These stats indicate that organizations will increasingly invest in their employees’ personal brands and employee advocacy programs as a cost-effective way to reach more people, generate more leads, and close more sales.
53% of decision makers have eliminated a vendor from consideration based on information they did or did not find about an employee online. (Kredible Research)
The way your employees present themselves online is a very influential factor in your buyer’s decision to work with your company. A company-wide personal branding initiative can deliver a fast return on investment by helping you convert more leads into clients once they reach the stage in the buying process where they are vetting your employees online.
Employee posts on social media receive 4.4 x more profile views than clicks, likes, or comments. (Kredible Research)
The most common action that potential clients will take on your employees’ social media posts is click through to their profiles. This underscores the importance of making sure your employees professional social media profiles are accurate, complete, and optimized according to what your buyers hope to find when they research vendors online.
On average, an employee advocacy program involving 1,000 active participants can generate $1,900,000 in advertising value, based on an Employee Advocacy Study at Kredible.
Marketers will typically invest in advertising when looking to expand the reach of a marketing message. Employee advocacy can deliver the same exposure at a fraction of the cost, and be a more effective way to reach people - who will pay more attention to and have more trust in a message from a human than an advertisement.
Only 33% of buyers trust messages from a brand, while 90% of customers trust product or service recommendations from people they know. (Source: Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey)
Your branded content is inherently more trustworthy when it is shared by an employee. Consider re-allocating at least a portion of your advertising budget to an employee advocacy initiative and compare the results of brand-sponsored versus people-endorsed marketing campaigns.
76% of business decision makers say they use online sources to learn about professional service providers. (Kredible Research)
Take your buyer’s digital consideration path into account when designing your content marketing strategy. Understand how your target audience approaches the process of gathering information about your people and product, and which factors they evaluate when making their final purchase decision.
Business buyers spend 56% of the sales cycle searching for and engaging with content. (Kredible Research)
Develop branded content that is aligned with your buyer’s information needs at each stage of the sales cycle. Ideally, this content would be shared through your employees’ professional social networks in addition to your branded channels (company website, blog, social networks, etc.)
74% of decision makers say they prefer to work with professional service providers who also know their colleagues, friends, or acquaintances. (Kredible Research)
When your employees use their online profiles to establish their association with your company and position themselves as industry experts, your brand benefits from the awareness and perception of credibility in their audience’s minds. As a result, your brand is more likely to be top of mind when your employees’ connections are looking for the type of solution that your company offers.
81% of people have used a mobile device to learn about an individual before a meeting, after a conference, or during a presentation. (Kredible Research)
Considering the vast majority of your prospects are vetting your employees on the Internet, it is critical that their personal brands reflect positively on your company brand. Most people start their information gathering process on a search engine, so make sure that the results that surface for your employees (and combinations of their name, company, location, and industry) reinforce their professional credibility and are mobile-friendly.
Employees have 10 times more followers than their corporate social media accounts. (Source: Cisco)
Frustrated by the declining organic reach of their social media posts, brands are increasingly turning to employee advocacy initiatives as a way to reach more people. Not only do employees have a lot more followers than the brand pages of the companies where they work, their posts get shown to a higher percentage of their audience and are perceived as being more trustworthy.
Content shared by employees receives 8X more engagement than content shared by brand channels. (Source: Social Media Today)
Employee advocacy initiatives don’t just help you reach more people, they also help you generate more engagement on your branded content. In other words, your employees will get many more likes, comments, and clicks on a post than the same piece would get on your brand’s social media accounts.
Brand messages are re-shared 24x more frequently when distributed by your employees, versus your brand. (Source: MSLGroup)
In the same vein as the previous statistic, a branded post will receive many more shares when it’s posted by an employee. If you’re looking to spread a marketing message quickly or kick off a grassroots campaign - you can get better results by enlisting your employees as your first line of promotional support.
77% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company when they hear about it from someone they trust. (Source: Nielsen)
An effective employee advocacy program allows you to leverage the power of genuine word of mouth from a spokesperson that your potential clients regard as trustworthy. When your company shares branded content, it’s an advertisement; when your employee shares the same post, it’s an endorsement.
Leads developed through employee social marketing initiatives convert 7x more frequently than other leads. (Source: IBM)
You can close more sales by educating your employees on how they can generate and nurture leads on social media. Your team member’s social media interactions should instill trust in prospective customers, providing assurance that your employee and your company are qualified to help provide the solutions they need.
Sales reps that use social media as part of their sales technique outsell 78% of their peers. (Source: Forbes)
Make sure your sales team is well versed in the art and science of social selling. This is the ideal outcome of your employee advocacy initiatives, in which your employee’s efforts to demonstrate expertise and respond to prospect’s questions culminates in a new or recurring sale.
70% of customer brand perception is determined by our experiences with people. (Source: Customer Think)
As much as companies try to control how they are perceived in the minds of consumers by tweaking graphics, copy, and other cosmetic factors -- the brand’s reputation is largely in the hands of their employees. How your workforce talks (or doesn’t talk) about your company is a major determinant in how your prospective customers view your brand, highlighting the importance of enabling your employees to be spokespeople through an advocacy program.
Only 2-8% of employee social networks overlap with brand networks. (Source WeRsm)
Most of the incremental audience your company could reach through an employee advocacy program would be new to your brand. The fact that there is little overlap between your existing and potential audiences means that such a program would be a powerful way to expose your brand to prospects that you would not have been able to reach otherwise.
Craft Your Employee Advocacy Game Plan for 2016
Ready to start leveraging the most powerful and authentic approach to online marketing? Download Kredible’s Employee Advocacy Success Guide and get a step-by-step game plan for implementing an employee advocacy program at your company.
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