Written by Camilla Brambilla Pisoni, Content Creator & Copywriter at Ambassify
Where marketing strategies are constantly evolving, one of the most effective and enduring tactics remains the age-old art of word of mouth. Personal recommendations have a unique power, often more persuasive than traditional advertising. As a matter of fact, as much as 84% of consumers value recommendations from people they know above all forms of advertising. (Source: Neal Schaffer).
If businesses want to continue to thrive in the competitive market, building brand trust to inspire loyalty will have to become even more of a priority for marketing teams. And harnessing this power can become the key to bolstering their growth and reputation.
Understanding the impact of word of mouth
Word of mouth is the organic process of sharing information and opinions about products or services between individuals. This can happen in person or through digital channels like social media and review websites — the latter two being now the most prominent channels for opinion and recommendation exchange among users. As mentioned earlier, personal recommendations carry a weight of trust and authenticity that is hard to achieve through other marketing strategies.
The reason behind this is simple: people trust people; they react to authenticity and automatically relate to those who have a similar experience or are perceived to be ‘like them’. Consistency in your brand message and authenticity in your interactions is critical to maintaining trust, and what will drive brand authenticity and trust is advocacy. There are indeed a ton of employee advocacy examples that could impact your business significantly.
Advocacy as the primary driver of word-of-mouth
Customer and employee advocacy in different ways will amplify a brand image characterized by honest voices, genuine commitment, and exceptional knowledge of your product or service. Turning customers and employees into active promoters of your brand will have a massive impact on your business and the online perception and awareness of your brand. Practically speaking, they will act as ambassadors willing to spread the word about your company using their voice, experience, expertise, and testimonials.
Word of mouth involves the organic sharing of opinions and experiences about products or services. 92% of consumers believe word-of-mouth and referrals from people they know, but only 33% trust online advertisements. (Source: Nielsen). This shows how magnified the impact of personal recommendations can be when they come from people who are genuinely interested in and connected to your brand.
Engaging and empowering ambassadors
Creating an experience that resonates with your customers and employees should be a priority in any business. Still, if you want to encourage them to share their stories, then you’re going to have to pay extra attention to it.
For customers, these experiences can range from personalized interactions to unexpected delights in product delivery. But for employees, these have to do with the day-to-day work life, your employer value proposition (EVP), every step of the employee lifecycle, internal policies, involvement in sustainability initiatives, etc.
Engagement is a staple of advocacy: regular interaction through social media, personalized communications, and responsive customer service help build a solid, stable, and durable relationship with employees and customers alike, thus making them willing to advocate for you.
Empowering employees by involving them in brand decisions, like product feedback or community initiatives, fosters a more profound sense of belonging and advocacy, and doing the same for customers will also prove to be a winning card to build a stronger sense of loyalty and trust toward your brand.
Choosing the right advocacy software to support you
When you rely on advocacy to activate the employee and customer-driven word of mouth and leverage the power of their personal recommendations, it will be helpful to have some kind of advocacy software solution to back you up.
Having an external customer or employee advocacy platform like Ambassify to lean back on and formalize your ambassadors’ efforts is a game changer. Advocacy software will give you the tools to empower and encourage employees and customers to find and use their authentic voice to advocate for you on social media, help you engage with them to strengthen your relationship, gauge their feedback and collect ideas and thoughts, and monitor your performance and other important metrics such as impressions, brand awareness metrics, traffic.
Showcasing social proof and testimonials
Activating customer or employee word of mouth is also about social proof: building up a repository of customer reviews and testimonials to demonstrate the trust others have in your brand will not only impact your brand awareness but also drive customer trust and ultimately generate more leads. Highlighting these stories serves as evidence of your quality and inspires other customers to share their experiences and become advocates.
User-generated content is a powerful form of advocacy, as it comes directly from satisfied customers or passionate employees — and as we know, these voices are perceived as way more authentic than any corporate voice on social media.
Maintaining a consistent and authentic brand message is crucial in building trust, and that goes for both customers and employees. Trust is the foundation of advocacy and the foundation upon which people decide to share their experience with your brand through a personal testimonial.
Activating the power of word of mouth and personal recommendations is greatly enhanced by nurturing customer and an employee advocacy program. Businesses can transform their most trusted people into powerful advocates by focusing on delivering quality, engaging experiences, building a community, and maintaining authenticity. In the end, the voice of a brand advocate is not just a marketing tool; it’s a testament to the strength and value of your brand.