Word-of-mouth marketing is talked about a lot these days, thanks in part to the increased connectivity that Web 2.0 has given us in recent years.
It’s therefore not surprising that companies all over the world have put an increased focus on providing the best customer service possible, in an effort to transform customers into brand advocates.
However, some of the best potential brand advocates walk through the front door each and every day, but are often overlooked. That’s right… I’m talking about the company’s employees.
Brand Advocate Defined
As mentioned in a post on zuberance.com, people have slightly different ways of defining a brand advocate.
For the purpose of this post, I am going to use the definition given by Sarah Essary, Senior Account Executive at Edelman Digital and blogger at consumingpr.com.
In the zuberance.com post, Sarah is quoted as saying, “I would say a brand advocate is willing to speak positive about a brand without much or any direct incentive.”
Employees as Brand Advocates
The company’s employees (should) know its products and services better than anyone else.
They also interact with the company’s customers all the time. In fact, they often serve as representatives of the company.
So, who better to serve the role of brand advocate?
Keep in mind, I’m not talking about the interactions that employees have with customers while they’re on the clock.
I’m talking about what the company’s employees say about it in their lives outside of work.
The Human Factor
Remember, employees are people, too. They have access to the same online tools. They talk to people outside of work, just like everyone else.
If they’re singing the praises of the company and its products and services, that’s some of the best publicity that the business can receive.
On the other hand, if a company’s employees don’t think highly of it and let other people know, it could cast serious doubt about the quality of the company’s products and services in the minds of its customers and potential customers.
Considering the fact that employees have first-hand knowledge about a company’s products and services, there’s a good chance that what they say about them will have at least some influence on the purchase decisions of the people who they interact with.
Therefore, all employees should be trained to understand the importance of word-of-mouth marketing. And, when I say all employees, I mean all employees, from the CEO to the college interns.
What they say off the clock can potentially have an effect on the company’s bottom line. This is particularly true when employees have public conversations online.
I’m not saying that companies should censor what their employees can say outside of work.
What I am suggesting, though, is making their employees aware that what they say about the brand does make a difference.
On a side note, it also doesn’t hurt to make sure that the company is providing a healthy work environment for its employees.
If employees are happy with their jobs and are proud to work for the company, they will be more likely to tout its greatness and recommend its products and services.
That is what being a brand advocate is all about.
Note: Last updated on 10/5/2020.