Picture this: Company X is trying to promote a software to other businesses via social media by sharing organic articles aimed at educating their audience about their product. Now imagine the same content being shared by one of your Facebook friends, who happens to be working for that company. Which message are you more likely to acknowledge or click? Probably your friend’s.
The scenario above can be summed up in two words: employee advocacy or (as some call it) social advocacy. Indeed, employees are a powerful and wildly untapped marketing resource that can help increase social media reach by 561% and generate far more social engagement and conversions than the company itself.
An advocacy program can be especially advantageous for employees in customer-facing roles such as customer success managers (CSMs). As a CSM, whose primary goal is to ensure that customers love your product and use it to its full potential, becoming a social advocate will certainly complement your daily activities and provide you with opportunities for growth.
Here’s are 5 awesome benefits you’re missing out on for not being an advocate:
1. Becoming a Thought Leader
While personal branding used to be about owning a business card, today, advocacy allows you to grow your individual brand on social media and get recognized for your commitment to customer success.
By sharing valuable and relevant content as a CSM (either that you create or that is provided to you by the marketing team), you’ll gradually establish your credibility and inspire customers with your knowledge. This is your ultimate chance to prove that you know your stuff and get acknowledged for it in the industry.
2. Personalizing your Touch with Customers
Personalization a.k.a one-to-one communication is an imperative aspect of today’s customer experience. CSMs can take advantage of employee advocacy as a channel for personalizing their conversation with customers by aligning messaging with customers’ needs, wants, and interests.
Take a look at the following LinkedIn post:
As you can see, the message for this post is entertaining yet informative.
Instead of just blindly sharing content, it’s important to pick the stuff that will resonate strongly with your audience and provide a solution to a particular problem they might have.
But how can you know for sure which problems your customers are encountering?
3. Staying in Tune with Customer Needs and Expectations
By engaging in advocacy, you’re engaging in social listening. This not only means you get to reply to comments generated by your posts, it also means that you’ll become more proactive in conversations about your product - both good and bad. Eventually, this will allow you to find out which features are most important and their various use-cases.
Catching customer feedback and pain points early on gives you a chance to prevent problems before they explode or paint your company in a negative light. It gives you time to respond in a timely manner and provide helpful answers. The best way to do that is to simply reiterate what customers are asking for and verbalize that you’re on the same page as them: “I understand that you are having trouble with….we can jump on a quick call so I can show you how to fix it….”.
When more and more technologies are using artificial intelligence to replicate daily human interactions, social listening goes a long way towards making customers feel valued and respected. Subsequently, you’re helping foster stronger relationships with them.
Besides being there for your customers, the real question is: how can advocacy help improve my bottom-line?
4. Increasing Upsell Opportunities
At the end of the day, your boss measures your success at customer management by the renewals and upsells you generate for the product. The truth is that customers are willing to put more money where their heart and trust is.
Through participating in advocacy you’re building your authenticity and promoting content that revolves around product launches and video updates such as demos and webinars. These allow customers to sense the value of your product and learn about upcoming features or solutions. In doing so, you have an opportunity to get customers excited about the product and expand their use of it over time.
There is one more opportunity that you’re missing out on for not being an advocate.
5. Generating leads
Yes, you read it correctly. While garnering leads used to solely depend on the marketing team, with an advocacy tool, CSMs also gain control over lead generation through social media. How does it really work?
Well, there are two ways. The first way is indirect and capitalizes on the personal relationships you’ve established with customers over time. For example, if customer X whom you had a good connection with moved to a new company, and you remained connected on social media, they could potentially recommend your product and service to their new employer. That’s quite a hot lead to bring to your boss.
The second way is more direct and depends on your social listening skills. For example, you’re noticing that follower X is always commenting on the content you share on LinkedIn. This could be an opportunity to take a leap forward and initiate a private conversation with the person to discover whether he/she seems qualified or could use extra information about your product.
In both instances you’re the bridge between the prospect and the company, allowing you to take ownership of leads and impact sales.
A good CSM is someone who takes the time to get to know his/her customers and strives to match the product’s value and capabilities to the customer’s needs. Through social advocacy, you can connect with customers on a personal level, understand how they’re interacting with your content, and provide them with product-related assistance. Along with this, you will become a thought leader, improve upsell opportunities, and gain responsibility over new roles, such as lead generation.
About the Author
Dana is a leading expert on best practices in the content marketing and social media marketing world. She holds a BA (Hons) in International Strategic Management from Edinburgh Napier University, rides a scooter to work and brings her dog to the office.Follow on Twitter More Content by Dana Niv