Your employees have the potential to be the greatest advocates for your loyalty program (and your brand in general) because they are the closest to it – or should be. Engaging your employees and encouraging them to be vocal about your loyalty program can be, first of all, a very cost-effective way of promoting it — but more significantly — adds authenticity and credibility to the message.
Most of your employees likely have their own social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and more, which they can leverage to talk about your brand, products and services as well as your loyalty program. What your employees are saying on their own social properties can be far more impactful than the marketing messages you’re putting forth on the company’s official social pages.
According to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, employees are viewed as more trustworthy spokespeople for a brand than company executives —even the CEO.
And let’s face it, your employees’ friends, family and neighbors are more likely to trust what your employees are saying about your brand than an online reviewer they don’t know or trust. Here’s how you can turn your team into a dream loyalty advocacy operation:
Give Them Permission
Let them know they are allowed to post about your company and the loyalty program on social media (within certain parameters communicated by management) so they know its authorized (but not mandated!) by the company. And let your employees join the loyalty program, so that they are literally a part of it. You also don’t want to offer monetary compensation or any other type of reward for sharing. That would defeat the purpose of authentic and credible (not canned) advocacy.
Arm Them to Advocate
To engage your employees and train them to become a brand advocates first and foremost — communicate! Make sure the company’s strategic vision, mission and brand values are communicated to all your employees through consistent and frequent messaging from all levels of leadership and management. Make certain they understand the loyalty program and its offerings from the get-go! There’s nothing worse than having a customer inquire about the program and have your front-line employees in the dark. That tells your customer it’s not important and likely not worth their while.
Make it a Single Click
Make it easy for your employees to help with loyalty. For example, provide employees with official content such as press releases, blogs, visuals and company shares and tweets about your loyalty program. According to recent Nielsen data, branded messages reach 561% further when shared by employees rather than coming directly from the corporate channels. Make it as simple as possible with options for quick posts so they can choose to share on their pages if they wish — but also expect that they may prefer to be more informal and personal in their posts.
Invest in the Right Technology
Encourage your employees to experience your loyalty program first hand. There’s no better training than to know exactly what the loyalty program does. And, make sure you choose a technology platform that can track/distinguish your employees and give them perks and rewards that are unique to employees! Strong loyalty technology can even be used to create unique programs to inspire even more employee participation.
Get With the Program
Last, but definitely not least, don’t forget to get your employees invested in your loyalty program as active members so they can proselytize about it with conviction. A this year’s Loyalty Expo, Vans — the action sports lifestyle brand who also won the Loyalty360 Award for Employee Engagement — shared its own employee advocacy program. Vans employees not only helped design its Vans Family loyalty program, they were also invited to be the first to join. That tells them they — and their opinions — matter!
It’s important to nurture an exceptional company culture for your employees, which will cause a halo effect for their overall engagement and positive reviews. There are a host of employee benefits, perks and experiences that will help engender this rapport and loyalty, but it’s also important for employees to feel a sense of belonging to the company, find meaning in their jobs and feel appreciated and recognized. Remember to take time to congratulate and thank your team!
It’s worth noting too that the benefits of this focus on employee engagement goes beyond boosting morale and driving customer loyalty. According to a Gallup study, employee engagement has a strong correlation to earnings per share (EPS). The study found companies with an average of 9.3 engaged employees for every actively disengaged employee in experienced 147 percent higher EPS compared with their competition.
So, don’t underestimate the power of your employees when it comes to promoting your brand and your loyalty program! Exceptional loyalty starts at home.
If you’re ready to explore how you can boost your loyalty program for truly stellar results and create loyal employee brand ambassadors, contact us here.