Word-of-mouth marketing has been the cornerstone of many businesses’ success stories. When it comes to driving sales, business owners believe that word-of-mouth marketing is still the most effective marketing strategy, and with good reason.
A recent Nielsen study reports that 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from friends more than all other forms of marketing. Social referrals are so effective that 77 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a new product if they learned about it from friends or family. It takes time and resources to cultivate brand advocates for your business. However, many business owners underutilized the brand advocates who are inherently a part of their business- their employees.
Savvy business owners will tap into the incredible potential of their employees’ networks and turn their team into powerful brand advocates. This article will give you four ideas on how to build employee advocacy and grow your word-of-mouth marketing.
Ask your employees to engage with your business on social media on both their personal and professional networks. This can be anything from sharing your business’s newly posted content to “liking” posts. This type of engagement does not take a lot of time or effort but your business can reap benefits from it.
First, content like blog posts that attract social shares receive SEO benefits- increased visibility in search engine rankings. Second, social media success is heavily dependent on authenticity and likability.
Your employees have a genuine interest in advocating for your business- they’re your best “brand ambassadors”. By leveraging their voices and their personal social networks, you can reach a much larger audience. Not only will your business benefit from the increased visibility, but research shows that family and friends are the most persuasive source for advice on new products.
Get ideas from your employees on potential events and different ways your business can engage with your community. Is there a charity auction your team member is helping organize where you can donate your services or goods? Do they know of a charity walk or drive to participate in or volunteer at? Do any of your employees want to help organize a charity drive where their friends or family can drop off donated goods at your business? For more ideas, check out our blog post on ways your small business can give back to the community.
When you’re planning your marketing or promotions calendar, invite your team to a brainstorming session. Involving your whole team to brainstorm content ideas can reduce the pressure for a single employee and foster creativity. Involving everyone’s participation for a monthly brainstorming session can also nurture and deepen your employees’ understanding of your products and/or services and help them become stronger advocates for your business.
When you’re running special offers or any type of promotion event, consider hosting a discount for “friends and family” or host a “friends and family” event. You don’t need to spend much time or resources advertising the promotion. Send out a “pre-sale” email invitation to your employees so they can forward to their personal and or professional networks.
You can also create events on social media networks like Facebook and ask your employees to “share” the event or invite their friends to it. Another idea would be to allocate a single day in the month for friends and family of employees to shop and offer a standing promotion for that day. For example, the promotion could be for every second Wednesday of the month, friends and family of employees get 10% off on all purchases.
Finding people to believe your business and advocate for your business will take time and resources but we’ve shown you four ways how successful word-of-mouth marketing can start with your employees. Looking for more ideas on how you can turn your employees into your very own marketing team? Check out this video from entrepreneur and marketer Seth Godin from our list of favorite TED Talks for business owners.
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