It’s plain and simple—employee censorship on social channels is a disaster for brands. We can no longer control the message folks. The social framework is “bigger and stronger” than our puny frameworks. Instead of fighting it every step of the way, USE it to your advantage, or you’ll pay a steep price in diminished return. Your employees are the best way to humanize and personalize your brand... and truly the best way to scale relevant, contextual content creation. #ROE... Return on Employees.
Engaging Employees to Create Scale, Engagement and Localization.
Could there possibly be a better influencer to promote your business than your employees? There is simply no one that knows your business, you customers, and most importantly your local market better than the people working in your stores. They are hands down the most valuable influencer for your business. So, why don't you integrate them into your marketing mix? After all, they have the opportunity to build relationships with your shoppers every day... so give them the tools to help expand your corporate level marketing with consistency and localized authenticity. There are obvious challenges to #BYOD (bring your own device) but it increasingly seems to be the way business will operate in the future.
Would a 123% increase in sales be interesting to you?
A MicroStrategy study estimated that ' engaged and educated' employees can drive outsized impacts on store sales with communication efficiency as the key. Some of its key findings included the sales impact stat above, along with insights into store level communication efficiency and alignment that can be immediately improved via BYOD implementation. Retailers are navigating the landscape with a reported 50% employing some type of policy regarding employee personal device usage by the end of 2018. This approach is not without trepidation of course, along with security and compensation concerns, addressing usage policies, standards and controlling brand communications all come into question. However, the reality is pretty clear, people are using their own devices anyway (of course they are... my business partner Ted Rubin, has been making this point for years), Currently 80% of BYOD usage is unregulated according to a study by workplace portal provider Sapho. Why not embrace and empower them with tools that benefit both vs. stifling their behavior?
Marketing is one of the largely untapped BYOD areas with huge upside potential. Filling in a gap between brand content, paid, social media and CRM, employee media is a highly effective means of connecting with shoppers closest to the point of purchase... both online and in-store. Employee Created Content (ECC) can have a dramatic effect of the scale, engagement and relevancy of digital media, especially at the local level. ECC can conservatively provide an immediate 2X-4X increase in a brands TOTAL content universe coupled with substantially raising engagement rates. Employee content created with Photofyhas an engagement rate of 6-8% on average compared to a brand average of less than 1% AND average influencer rates of 1.7% to 8%, generally based on audience size.
Employees are simply the most effective influencers for a company.
Perhaps the most compelling reason for ECC is that younger generations are already accomplished content creators and community builders and prefer their own devices. 61% of GenY believe they are more productive on their own tech according to a Dell Study. The internal and external expectations from shoppers are changing to value more authentic, less formal, forms of communication with an emphasis on relevancy.
Finally, as digital platform algorithms increase the importance of localized content in search, employee created content can help retailers own their connection and engagement at the local level... vs. ceding it to intermediaries such as Yelp. '_________ near me' is a "jump ball" that must be won to drive local store success.
Return on Employees... no one knows your shoppers better than your employees, give them the tools to be successful.