Brand ambassadors are the best marketing force for any brand. Often they are dedicated clients, but all brands and companies have a secret in-house weapon when it comes to social media marketing, communication and PR: its own employees.
Who else knows the brand better, stays always up-to-date and has a strong personal connection with it?
And that’s not all. According to the 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer, “Employees rank higher in public trust than a firm’s PR department, CEO, or Founder. 41% of us believe that employees are the most credible source of information regarding their business.”
And we all know, that word-of-mouth and friend’s recommendations are worth more than any marketing or advertising effort ever will.
So how to make use of this (often neglected) source of brand ambassadors?
Well, by empowering them on social media and turning them into employee advocates!
1) Connect the personal social media with the corporate one
Your employees don’t need to create a new, corporate social media account and identity to share their company related news and posts. On the contrary, the brand messages should become a natural part of their personal feeds, just like their work is a normal part of their everyday life. To get started, you can have an initial training and share some simple guidelines to follow, to ease out the initial doubts on what to do and what not to do.
2) Show your trust and encourage with incentives
As stated above, you can help your employees get started by providing simple social media guidelines and tips. But be careful not to state strict rules: your employees need to be encouraged to share their experiences, opinions and interesting company news, not threatened by the “guardian” corporate eye that makes them scared about possible mistakes they could make. Trust your employees’ own judgment. To get a head start, offer incentives, like small corporate gifts or public acknowledgment, for the most active social media ambassadors to show your support.
3) Make it easy: offer example articles, titles, hashtags and channels
Not all your employees are too familiar with social media, or even if they are, they might be hesitant to get started and begin posting about your brand. Share the most important company updates and news with them and suggest readily written titles, posts and tweets that they can just copy if they want to. This way they will become familiar with the kind of content to share and the right tone of voice to use. Also, coming up with a company hashtag to use will help the employees tag their posts in a correct way.
4) Celebrate the good results
Once your employee advocacy program has started and is performing well, keep up the encouragement by publicly acknowledging the best ambassadors, sharing statistics about the results of the shared company news and by celebrating important milestones, by throwing a company party of by making a donation to charity.
Employee advocacy works two ways – it communicates your corporate culture to the outside, while strengthening it in the inside.
It’s never too late to start! Engage your employees and encourage them to use social media, you might be surprised about the results.