No matter the size of your company, brand awareness is incredibly important and leads to distinct advantages for your organization.If you have a strong brand name, you’ll benefit from customer loyalty, word of mouth marketing, winning over prospects in competitive deals and ultimately more sales. Every business, big or small, wants their brand to be known as it gives them credence above their competitors.
If you have a strong brand name, a customer is less likely to move on from you to a lesser-known competitor. There’s an immense amount of value in someone simply recognizing your company’s name. If they’ve heard of you before, they’re more likely to engage with you and have a positive feeling that you’re a reliable organization. It’s also why customers recommend your brand to others.
You have a solid, stable brand name but you need to make people aware of who you are and what you do. Here’s how.
So How Do You Increase Brand Awareness?
Your business needs to reach its marketing potential. Get people - not just brands, executives or partners - talking about your organization and your strengths. Tap into your greatest asset: your employees.
People trust other people more than they trust ads or brands. So instead of pouring money into online advertising, think about leveraging the people, outside of the c-suite, who already work for your company. Your employees are more authentic and trustworthy sources of information. People are statistically more likely to engage with your content on social media when it’s shared by a person than when it comes from a brand or executive account.
According to Nielsen, 83% of consumers view recommendations from friends and family as more trustworthy than advertising.
But what’s important to remember is it’s not difficult to get started with employee advocacy since some employees at your organization already promote your brand on social media, and many others want to help elevate your brand but for various reasons don’t. They might not know what initiatives to promote, what they should or shouldn’t say, or if your company even wants them talking about your brand on social media.
Tapping into these segments of your employee population will increase your brand awareness in a big way. Let’s say you have 50 employees in your program and each has roughly 200 followers. If all 50 of them share something promoting your brand, that’s 10,000 more followers reading about your brand thanks to your employees. That’s how you increase brand awareness.
How Do I Get Started?
To start an employee advocacy program, you want to first identify your advocates. Your initial advocates are two sets of people: those who want to promote your brand but need a little help to get started and those already actively promoting your brand in an informal way. They become your base promoters, not branded social media accounts.
Your employee population collectively has a large following on social media made up of friends, family, former colleagues, and more, who already trust them and what they have to say. When your employees promote your brand on social media, it resonates more than an ad or a brand account. Plus, people are less likely to tune out messages from people in their network versus that of a brand.
This is how you increase brand awareness in an impactful way. When you steer your employees towards what they can do to help promote your organization and what to share, their followers are much more likely to engage favorably. This spreads your brand name around, increases your leads and will also lead to referrals via word of mouth marketing.
What’s in It for the Employees?
Many of your employees will be happy to take part in your program voluntarily because there are benefits they’ll see from being more active on social media. In fact, over 87% of employees participating in an employee advocacy program believe that it expands their professional network.
The benefits for your employees include a large social media presence, developing a greater understanding of your organization and how their job relates to the bottom line, feeling more valuable to their company, and becoming more recognizable in their industry due to a larger personal brand. By being more active on social media and speaking to a target audience, your employees increase their own brand awareness as well.
But for some employees to get involved and for others to stay consistently active, you might need to put some incentives in place for them to stay motivated and for you to maximize the size of your program.
A Little Incentive Goes a Long Way.
Gamification is a way to keep your employees motivated over the long haul.
If you provide incentives, such as prizes, bonuses, and acknowledgment, your employees are much more likely to stay active in your program. We’ve seen gamification of employee advocacy lead some companies to great results. Through an employee advocacy platform, such as GaggleAMP, you can assign points to each activity you request employees carry out. You won’t be able to see which specific activities employees accepted, but you’ll be able to see how many points they’ve tallied in a certain timeframe.
Gamification allows you to offer awards to people with the most points every quarter and every year. Awards could be company-branded merchandise such as shirts, thermoses, backpacks, and more. And of course, monetary awards and bonuses always go a long way and never get old.
“Look at what the costs are and what that would have cost you to get because that’s part of the ROI,” said Kelly Shelton, former VP of Marketing at Boostability during the AMPlify 2018 conference. “We did one analysis last year. It would have cost us $40,000 to get to the same kind of reach through a paid campaign, and internally it cost us $19,000. We felt that was a really good return on investment. The additional return was happier, engaged employees.”
Helping employees get involved in your employee advocacy program is a great way to increase brand awareness. When you offer incentives to stay active, they’ll continue to promote your brand even further over the long haul.
Ramin Edmond is the former Content Strategist for GaggleAMP. Outside of work, Ramin likes to run, hike, and take pictures of Boston's best views. You can get in touch with Ramin by connecting with him on LinkedIn.
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