People Trust People More Than Brands
90% of people trust product or service recommendations from people they know, while only 33% trust messages from a brand. (Source)
Why Should Your Company Care About Your Employees’ Online Presence?
Your employees’ social media connections include former colleagues, classmates, and other friends who overlap in skill sets, industries, or professional interests. These are the people who are most likely to become your next clients, leads, and new hires.
When your employees share company and industry content, they position themselves as experts while extending the reach of your brand to these relevant audiences.
Below we’ve outlined how helping your employees build their online presence can help your company drive results across your sales, marketing, and HR departments.
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HOW EMPLOYEE PERSONAL BRANDING DRIVES SALES RESULTS
Get Referred to More Warm Leads
- 84% of business decision makers start their buying process with a referral. (Source)
- Your sales representative is 2-4x more likely to make a sale when the prospect is a warm lead who was referred to them by a mutual connection. (Source)
An active social media presence helps your employees stay top-of-mind with their connections. This improves the chances that these connections will refer their own contacts to your employee when the need for your company’s services arises.
Get On Your Prospects’ Short List
Once your prospect has been referred to your sales representative, the next step they are likely to take is to search for your employee online.
- 77% of B2B buyers said they only speak to a salesperson once they have performed independent research online. (Source)
- 36% of buyers said they don’t contact a sales representative until they have put together a short list of preferred vendors. (Source)
- 53% of decision makers have eliminated a vendor from consideration based on information they did or did not find about an employee online. (Kredible Research)
Your employees are more likely to make the short list of preferred vendors if their online presence instills trust in potential clients.
Some of the factors that matter most to decision makers across all industries include:
- Search Results Ownership: Quantity and quality of links about your employees that surface in search results for their name or combinations of their name and relevant terms (i.e. company name, location, professional specialization).
- Online Profile Strength: Extent to which your employees’ professional profiles (i.e. LinkedIn, company microsite) effectively communicate their skills, career history, and specific examples of how they have helped clients achieve their goals.
- Content Sharing Frequency: How often your employees share professionally relevant content that reinforces their thought leadership, ideally including posts that mention your company and link to your website.
Convert More Leads Into Sales
- Leads developed through employees’ social media activities convert 7x more frequently than other leads.
- Sales reps that use social media as part of their sales techniques outsell 78% of their peers. (Source)
Sales reps can build relationships with potential clients on social media by regularly sharing value-add content, engaging with your prospects’ content, and following up in direct messages when appropriate.
Doing this allows your employee to remain on your potential customers’ radar, all the while establishing their expertise and differentiating your company from competitors.
Get a Leg Up on the Competition
- 80% of firms believe their sales department would be more effective if they had a better social media presence, yet 67% of companies don’t have a social media strategy for their sales team. (Source)
- 96% of sales executives use LinkedIn at least once a week and spend an average of 6 hours per week on the professional social network. (Source)
- Despite this enthusiasm for professional social media sites, 93% of sales executives have not received any formal training on social selling. (Source)
While companies are becoming increasingly aware of the power of personal branding, they have been slow to adopt programs that help employees build their online presence in an effective and scalable way.
HOW EMPLOYEE PERSONAL BRANDING DRIVES MARKETING RESULTS
Build Brand Awareness
- Consistency is key: it takes 5-7 impressions for someone to remember a brand. (Source)
- Brand messages see 561% more reach when shared by employees on social media, compared to the same messages when shared by the brand’s social media channels. (Source)
- Brand messages are re-shared 24x more frequently when posted by an employee vs the brand’s social media channels. (Source)
By regularly sharing content about and from your company, your employees can get your brand message in front of more people in a more authentic and effective way.
Because people trust people more than brands, your content is more likely to command attention when shared by your employee to their network. When a person we know shares a link, we regard this as an endorsement of the content we’ll find if we click through.
Generate More Quality Leads for Sales
- On average, employees have 10 times more followers than their company’s social media accounts. (Source)
- Content shared by employees receives 8X more engagement than content shared by brand channels. (Source)
When your employees share branded content, it reaches a larger audience and generates more engagement in the form of clicks, likes, comments, and re-shares.
Paired with an effective content marketing strategy, this can mean more email subscribers and social media followers opting in to receive your company’s branded content. Your sales team can then qualify and nurture the most promising leads until they are ready to become customers.
Improve Your Content Marketing ROI
- On average, an employee advocacy program involving 1,000 active participants can generate $1,900,000 in advertising value. (Kredible Employee Advocacy Study)
- Business buyers spend 56% of the sales cycle searching for and engaging with content. (Kredible Research)
- 77% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company when they hear about it from someone they trust. (Source)
Decision makers are hungry for content that will help them choose the best solution for their needs, and the source of this content matters. They are more likely to notice and click on an article posted by a connection than one that appears as a sponsored social media post in their newsfeed.
This allows your company to see better returns on your content marketing efforts. Oftentimes, marketing teams will work hard to develop quality content – only to be frustrated by the reach and engagement the content ultimately receives.
An effective personal branding program allows you to amplify the reach of your content in an organic, authentic way that results in more impressions, engagement, website traffic and sales leads. By quantifying these results, you can determine which tactics and content types are most effective and refine your marketing strategy accordingly.
Practice What You Preach
- 98% of CMOs have admitted to searching for themselves on Google, recognizing the importance of having a strong online presence. (Source)
- On a scale from 1 to 10, less than 20% of CMOs rated their personal brand at 7 or above and more than 60% rated themselves below a 5. (Source)
Most marketers will have at least a baseline level of knowledge about how content, social media, and search engines work together to create the company brand’s online presence.
Increasingly, they regard their ability to optimize these same factors for their personal brand as a reflection of their digital savviness, and thus, their effectiveness as a marketer in the Internet age.
By polishing their social media profiles and regularly sharing relevant content, marketers can feel confident that their online presence reinforces their professional credibility.
HOW EMPLOYEE PERSONAL BRANDING DRIVES HR RESULTS
Motivate Your Employees
- 98% of employees use at least one social media site for personal use, of which 50% are already posting about their company. (Source)
- 56% of college students said they would not accept jobs from companies that ban social media. (Source)
- Employees at companies that invest in personal branding initiatives are 27% more likely to feel optimistic about their company’s future, 20% more likely to stay at their company, and 40% more likely to believe their company is more competitive. (Source)
Your employees are already active on social media, many of them advocating for your firm without any prompting from the organization.
People want to work for successful companies that help them build their career. When your organization invests in employees’ personal brands, it conveys a commitment to people first — which is increasingly seen as the key to profits later.
As such, employees see a social media friendly company as one that is more likely to succeed in the marketplace and where they will feel more fulfilled on the job.
Improve the Company Culture
- 60% of employees do not feel engaged with or supported by their workplace (Source) and 30% of companies report an average employee tenure of only 1-3 years. (Source)
- 95% of recruiters believe that the job market will remain or get more competitive,making it crucial to differentiate themselves from competition in order to attract top talent. (Source)
- 50% of recruiters plan to increase their investment in social media, 41% in employee referrals, and 46% in employment branding. (Source)
By investing in an employee personal branding program, companies can cover all three of these bases: your organization can better leverage social media, bring in quality referrals, and present your company as a great place to work.
By investing in employees’ personal brands, organizations can better engage their workforce and improve employee retention rates. The result: a culture that energizes employees from the inside and ripples out to positively impact public perception of your company.
Attract Top Talent
- 78% of recruiters say they find their best quality candidates through referrals, up from 60% in 2014. (Source)
- Employee referrals have the highest applicant to hire conversion rate: only 7% of applicants are referrals but they account for 40% of all new hires. (Source)
- 67% of employers and recruiters said that the recruiting process was shorter and 51% said it was less expensive to recruit via referrals. (Source)
By motivating your employees to advocate for your firm on social media, you can more effectively reach and generate interest with talented prospective employees.
In a highly competitive talent market, a personal branding program can help your firm stand apart as a workplace that values employee development and fosters a strong company culture.
Combine this improved perception with the increased reach from employees sharing job opportunities and other company content to their networks, and you have a strong engine for driving referrals and recruiting top talent.
HOW YOUR FIRM CAN GET STARTED WITH EMPLOYEE ADVOCACY AND PERSONAL BRANDING
Step 1: Analyze Your Team’s Current Online Presence
Before launching a personal branding program at your company, analyze your employees’ online presence as it currently stands with our Kdna™ report.
Step 2: Formulate a Strategy Based on Your Kdna™ Report and Buyer Research
Combine the results of your firm’s Kdna™ report with industry-specific research on which elements of your employees’ online presence matter most to your target customers.
Step 3: Identify Key Personal Brand Improvement Metrics
Identify the key metrics you will be using to measure the program’s success, such as employee adoption rate, content sharing rates, new and repeat business.
Step 4: Empower Employees to Build Their Personal Brands
Hold a training session or series of workshops designed to get your team motivated and educated about building their online presence.
Show them how they can build their personal brands by improving their presence in search results, optimizing their social media profiles, and regularly sharing content.
Step 5: Implement a Personal Brand Management System
Use a personal brand management system to manage the online presence of all your employees across all digital touchpoints.
The Kredible platform gives executives top-level visibility into how your employees’ collective personal brands are helping to build the company brand.
It also gives employees a single platform for managing all the key elements of their personal brand: improving their search results presence, polishing their social media profiles, and regularly sharing professional content.
Ready to get started? Contact us here to set up a quick call and learn how your company can get started with an employee personal branding program!