Top 6 Employee Advocacy Misconceptions

  • Alen BubichMarch 13 2015
Don't let these common misconceptions keep you from a massive opportunity.


You’ve probably heard about Employee Advocacy a lot this year.

It’s been everywhere. All over the news, your Newsfeed and the talk of your Q1 marketing budget meetings.

Chances are you’re sick of hearing it simply because you just don’t see how it will work.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of top 6 Employee Advocacy misconceptions – because who doesn’t love a list?

1. It Doesn’t Work

Huge companies like McDonalds, the American Council on Exercise and Rogers Media would respectfully disagree. As we’ve mentioned previously, word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective form of marketing. Nielsen Research reports that 84% of consumers value recommendations from friends and family above all forms of advertising – and additionally, 77% of consumers are likely to make a purchase after hearing about it from someone they trust. Furthermore, a Ciceron research report from April 2014 indicated that when organizations engage their customers and employees, they experience a 240% boost in business outcomes. In short, not only does employee advocacy work – it’s pretty darn effective.

2. There’s No ROI

If you’re a data-driven marketer who gages success by direct ROI, then you already know how powerful Employee Advocacy can be to your bottom line. In fact, research from Cisco shows that a 12% increase in brand advocacy generates a 2x increase in revenue growth. Employee advocacy is powerful tool – let your profit margins be the judge.

3. Employees Don’t Want It

Employee advocates are some of the best social marketers out there. They help generate brand awareness, new engagement and new sales. Your employees have a passion for your company, their role within it and your products, this is why Ad Age reports that 60 million American employees share positive comments about their workplace online. Even more surprising is that according to KRC Research, 39% of employees that share comments about their employers on social media do so with absolutely no training. Your employees want to be part of an employee advocacy program – they just need your help to do so.

4. Consumers Don’t Want to Engage with Employees

We have covered that employees want to be more active on social media to help drive business, but what about consumers? We’ve established that social word-of-mouth marketing is effective via employee advocacy, but do consumers appreciate the efforts that these advocates go to? The short answer is yes. In the eyes of the consumer, and the Edelman Trust Barometer, regular rank-and-file employees have more credibility than executives. Furthermore, Ciceron reports that 47% of consumers say employees are the most trusted information source at a company, above all other marketing initiatives and senior officers. The bottom line is customers value employee insights greatly and deem them to be the most credible source of information – looking to them first before most other information vehicles.

5. Employee Advocacy is Pointless if You Have a Fan Page

Facebook Fan Pages are so 2012. Now, hear us out before you fire your social media manager, they’re a great place to share branded content – they’re just not as effective as they used to be. Unless you or your social media manager have been living under a rock, you likely have noticed a steady decline in your Fan Page’s organic reach and social media interactions. Over the course of the past year and a half, Facebook has been aggressively limiting the potential of reaching your established audience and new fans by slashing Fan Page organic reach. In a 5-month time frame, Facebook’s Fan Page’s organic reach has dwindled from already dismal 12.05% (Oct. 2013) to an almost non-existent 6.15% (Feb. 2014) according to Social@Ogilvy. ValleyWeg indicates that on average only 1.5% of your Fan Page audience actually see what you post. Has does this stack up compared to Employee advocates? Buffer Social indicates that 33% of friends of Employee Advocates see and interact with their posts. I’m not Albert Einstein or anything resembling close to a mathematician, but I do know that 33% is a much higher number than 1.5%. Your Facebook Fan Page, albeit, great – simply isn’t doing your brand any justice.

6. You’ve Mastered Word-of-Mouth Marketing

If you feel as if you have mastered word-of-mouth marketing, chances are you haven’t. Don’t shoot the messenger – according to Forbes and the American Marketing Association, 64% of marketing executives indicate word-of-mouth marketing as being the most effective marketing tool and only 6% of those executives have mastered it. A secret tip? Word-of-mouth marketing is constantly evolving as new technologies emerge giving people new platforms to discuss brands. Do you know what marketing initiative evolves with these technologies? Employee advocacy – by giving your employees the tools that they need to engage with customers online effectively is and perpetuates word—of-mouth marketing.

What Have We Learned?

In short, employee advocacy is the most talked about marketing trend for a reason – it’s a powerful tool with some pretty insane results. Not only does employee advocacy work like gangbusters with a huge ROI, but your employees are already trying to cultivate it themselves without any sort of training. Stop wasting your time with Facebook Fan Page posts that don’t deliver, automate employee advocacy with Social Horse Power and take your rightful place – dominating social media.

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