Your Employees Are Your Brand’s Best Ambassadors
Finding advocates as a business is not always easy. We all want our brands to be the word on the street, but more often than not, people do not want to talk about brands. And as we look at advertising, public relations and even social media engagement, we often overlook a powerful force for sharing our brand: our employees.
It used to be, we needed to rely on mass media and advertising to share our message. Now, however, employees have social media profiles, blogs and video channels. They participate in forums and record podcasts. If they talk about us positively, they can help us build a powerful presence in the minds of potential customers.
Why are they good advocates for our brands? They have insider expertise about our products and can talk genuinely, without sounding like a sales pitch. Brands are also much more authentic, if real people get the opportunity and the motivation to talk about them. Employee advocates also build trust by representing the company and giving weight and a human note to all official messaging.
There are many ways, you can empower your people to talk about you, but you should start by energizing and motivating them. The best way is to allow them to be the first to talk about a new product or service and then have an internal competition – people competing for shares or retweets or driving traffic to your page. This is also a good way to build team spirit.
Also, give them options. Some people prefer Instagram to Twitter, while others live on Facebook. Accommodate their wishes and help them make the most impact on whatever platform or network they choose. To achieve this goal, you need to provide them with the right tools. Educate them on the free tools that are out there, like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck. You can also invest in some advanced analytics solutions, so your people can listen to the impact they make.
However, you also need to educate employees about how to act online, how to resolve conflicts and maintain transparency. Training now can not only make your employee advocates more effective, it can help you avoid troubles later. While their interactions should be personal and genuine, they should also be aware of some guidelines that will avert trouble down the line – not just for the company but also for themselves.
Measure. Don’t just let things disappear into the ether. Measure and follow the impact of your employees. Victories will drive even better engagement.
Last, but the most important. Trust your people. Companies get nervous about their employees engaging online but no employee will be genuine, if there is a manager hovering over their shoulder. Give your employees what they need to tell a good story and they will have the feeling they are contributing to the company success.