Social Selling vs. Employee Advocacy: What’s the Difference?

We think it’s fair to say, social selling and employee advocacy are taking the B2B social media marketing world by storm. 

Now that 75% of B2B buyers are actively researching solutions on social media, 50% of which are on LinkedIn, these two techniques have become an effective solution to build brand awareness and generate more customers from social media.

Both strategies are methods of building relationships on social media through your employees, but their goals and results are different. So the question boils down to: social selling vs. employee advocacy – how are these two strategies alike, where do they differ, and which marketing goals do they help accomplish? 

To help you decipher between the unique benefits of each, we’ve broken down everything you need to know about social selling and employee advocacy.

Jump Ahead:

What is Social Selling?
Social selling benefits
What is Employee Advocacy
Employee advocacy benefits
Social Selling or Employee Advocacy: Which Strategy Suits You Best?
Get the Most Impact Out of Your Social Strategy

What is Social Selling?

Social selling is a sales strategy that leverages social media platforms to cultivate relationships and trust with potential customers. It involves revenue professionals using their personal social media profiles to educate audiences, share industry insights, and engage in conversations to present themselves as thought leaders in their space. 

The goal of social selling is primarily focused on driving sales, generating more leads from social media, and building personal brands for sales professionals. Social selling targets prospective customers through personalized interactions. With B2B buyers holding an active presence on social media, your sales teams can utilize social selling to meet these buyers online, provide value to them, and draw awareness to your products and services. 

To monitor the performance of your social selling strategy, you want to track your lead generation efforts and your teams’ conversion rates from social media. 

Social selling benefits

Enhanced trust: By providing value and educating their audiences, sales professionals can build relationships with potential customers, helping their products stand out when buyers seek a solution.
Attract high-quality leads: In comparison to traditional sales methods, social selling can help you target, attract, and engage with leads who have a genuine interest in what your business can offer and will be more likely to convert.
Prospect nurturing: Social selling can help your team nurture prospects within the sales funnel toward a purchasing decision. Rather than consistent outreach, thought leadership posts can reinforce the value of your product, and remind your prospects of how it can solve their challenges.
Increased conversions: By meeting your prospects online, research shows that social selling leaders are 51% more likely to reach their sales goals and create 45% more sales opportunities. 

What is Employee Advocacy?

Employee advocacy is a powerful strategy that transforms employees into active and enthusiastic brand ambassadors. As you’ve most likely heard before: people trust people over brands. Employee advocacy is the best way to solidify that trust. 

Employee advocacy recognizes the influential role employees play in shaping external perceptions and leverages their voices to extend your brand’s reach beyond your corporate social media pages and traditional marketing channels.  

The goal of employee advocacy centers around harnessing the collective reach of your workforce’s social networks to amplify your brand’s message and enhance authenticity. Employee advocacy aims to attract not only potential customers but also partners, stakeholders, and new talent. 

To assess whether you’re reaching your goals with employee advocacy, measure your employees’ reach and engagement metrics. An active and engaged workforce that takes part in employee advocacy is key to achieving your desired results. This is where gamification and friendly competition can be used to encourage participation. 

Employee advocacy benefits

Social amplification: By leveraging your employees’ combined networks, you can expand your reach to raise awareness and amplify your brand message.
Thought leadership: Through employee advocacy, your employees can position themselves as experts in their fields by sharing valuable content. This will enhance their professional profiles and also attract an engaged audience, representing your brand positively.
Boosting credibility: Turning your employees into advocates showcases the people behind the brand, and strengthens trust and personal connection with your target audience. In turn, this will humanize your company and build your credibility.
Increased engagement and conversions: Statistics show that content shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than content shared by brand channels, and leads developed through employee advocacy convert 7x more frequently than other leads.

Social Selling vs. Employee Advocacy: Which Strategy Suits You Best?

In the battle between social selling vs. employee advocacy which tactic wins? The truth is both social selling and employee advocacy are effective strategies that will help you boost your credibility on social media. The source of confusion often stems from their shared emphasis on leveraging employees to amplify your brand’s presence and influence through sharing content on their personal profiles.

While social selling concentrates on utilizing social media for sales and lead generation, employee advocacy revolves around empowering individual employees to serve as brand ambassadors. Despite their distinct goals and independence, it’s crucial to acknowledge that advocacy is an integral component within the overarching strategy of social selling.

The question is, which tactic suits your needs the most?

If you’re looking to attract more customers from social media and empower your revenue teams to expand their pipeline, social selling is the program for you.

On the other hand, if you’re priorities lie in raising your brand awareness, amplifying your reach, and establishing your brand as a thought leader in your industry, employee advocacy can help you achieve all these goals.

Luckily, you don’t have to choose between these strategies if you’re looking to achieve both goals. In the end, it’s up to what your business needs, what your capabilities are, and what you’re looking to achieve with your marketing strategy.

Get the Most Impact Out of Your Social Strategy

 The reality is social selling or employee advocacy are no longer nice-to-haves. If you want to stay competitive, you need to implement a strategy of your own. They’re strategic marketing initiatives that will maximize the impact of, and the ROI from, social. 

With the right advocacy tool, your employees can find and share pre-approved company content on their social profiles. They can also filter content by topic to find the right posts that resonate with them, as well as their audience. You can also view the performance of your social selling or employee advocacy program with robust metrics and analytics reports and accurately measure the impact of your strategies.

If you’re interested in finding a tool that can help you implement a successful social selling and/or employee advocacy program, contact us today.

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