At first glance, employee advocacy might seem like it works better for consumer-oriented brands than for B2B ones.
After all, most of the “cool jobs” that make for great “employee influencer” content are in B2C companies. And social media seems better suited to B2C than B2B (although not necessarily – we plan to address that soon in a follow up post).
But actually, employee advocacy might be even better for B2B than it is for B2C.
Let Me Explain
The idea of employee advocacy, or employee ambassadorship, isn’t just that workers throughout a company craft and post content. It’s that every person who works for the company can and should be a representative for their employer, especially in the digital realm. And actually, this might be most important in business-to-business transactions.
The business-to-business market is about relationships. The buying process is long. No one-click, free-shipping, instant purchases.
Even before the Internet, the B2B market typically involved a long sales cycle: with white papers, phone calls between the buyers and various company representatives, and even in-person meetings between the buyers and the technical staff. If you’re buying a new line of forklifts for your warehouse, you’re probably going to want to speak to the engineers who designed the latest model.
Discussions of social media tend to focus on news feeds, going viral, and engagement (in the form of likes, comments, and shares). But social media was originally designed to facilitate relationships. And it still can.
Employee advocacy is about giving faces to large organizations. Your company isn’t faceless. It’s made up of a diverse group of real individuals. You know that, but do people on the outside? Not if you don’t let them peek inside and see a thriving group of individuals working together.
That’s what a company is: a large group of people with different lives and different interests who work together for a common purpose. Sometimes it can seem opaque from the outside, but it’s really a collaboration between a variety of individuals, each with their own individual stories, who come together because they each get something of value out of their cooperation.
If you have a thriving internal culture, consider showing it to the world. And if you want to foster a thriving culture, show your employees that you trust them by giving them a voice.
Letting buyers see inside your company – by allowing your employees to advocate on your behalf – fosters trust and intimacy. Not just in your workforce, but in your audience. When people see that you’re willing to let your employees say what they want to say about you on social media (even though you’re managing what they get to post), that’s powerful.
Buyers are more willing to believe you when your employees all represent you well.
Meeting Buyers’ Needs
You already focus your products and services (and marketing messages) on meeting buyer needs. Many buyers, especially in the information age, especially in B2B, need to see inside your company a bit. If they’re buying something for their employer, they need details. They need the kind of in-depth information your employees can provide.
This goes beyond having your technical people write white papers. In 2022, you want your technical people to have genuine relationships with representatives from all of your buyers. And digital technology empowers them to do that.
If you use digital technology in a positive way – by letting each of your employees put their best foot forward on your behalf – you’ll reap dividends. With employee advocacy, you can make your sales cycles simultaneously more professional and more intimate.
More engaging and more informative. More informal and more thorough. More open and more collaborative.
Employee advocacy doesn’t have to be flashy or salesy. Often, it’s the opposite. And that’s why it’s perfect for B2B companies of any size.