These companies are taking advantage of a low-budget marketing strategy with a high return-on-investment by up-scaling the amount of employees used as brand advocates to increase customer engagement. It was reported on Monday by AdWeek that big brands such as Master Card, Pitney Bowes, and Humana are planning to deploy staffers to promote positive, intriguing, and helpful stories that are on-brand. This is a great initiative as it gives customers a more personal experience in dealing with companies and at a low cost. Not only is it rewarding for the customers, but it also increases employee satisfaction in the work environment as employees gain a sense of ownership in the brand culture.
This marketing strategy has been exercised in the past but has been neglected for its low risk/high reward potential. It looks beyond the exchange of goods and services and instead focuses on increasing customer engagement.
Master Card has shared that the launch of their ambassador program this past summer was for employees to “share brand-minded news and other content across their personal social channels.” The program was embraced with open arms by its employees as the endeavor already attracted 400 of its staffers.
To examine the success of this initiative by Master Card and other companies following the same path, Altimeter Group released a study last March which found that 90% of brands already used or planned to pursue an employee advocacy program. Among those findings, 21% of consumers said they “liked” employees posting about companies, representing an engagement rate that easily beats most social advertising campaigns at a much lesser cost.
Testimonials given by these companies prove that the strategy works. Humana, a healthcare brand said, “employee-authored content is shared four and a half more times than social influencer posts.” This comes from a report released by Dynamic Signals, the software Humana uses for analytics and its employees to convey the legal message, media and hashtags easier.
Another company, Pitney Bowes, shares the success of their initiative from their Director of Social Media, Bart Casabona. Casabona says that the employee-based program for his company, called The Insiders, has had a tremendous impact, “The number of participating employees has grown to 500 after emerging from a pilot phase in January, and he projects the number to rise to between 750 and 1,000 by the end of 2016. So far, Casabona’s effort has generated 42,000 content shares and 166 million digital impressions.” He believes these results are enough proof to keep expanding,“..this is a program that continues to pick up the pace.”
This marketing strategy proves to be a “win-win” for the company and their customers. It should seem that more brands will follow the same path and pursue or expand enlisting their employees as brand ambassadors / social media connoisseur.