Building brand ambassadors
Social media is a window into your business and, increasingly, the first place potential customers and employees may encounter it. The majority of your employees will be active on social channels, with extensive networks of friends, connections and followers, and an extension of your brand with an influential role to play in the way your business is represented
Employee social advocacy – getting your employees involved in your social media efforts by sharing your content – is one of the most powerful ways to build your brand. Why? It combines the authenticity and trust value of word-of-mouth marketing with social media’s reach.
- A business’ employees have around 10 times more social connections than all their corporate channels combined (Social Chorus)
- People are more likely to engage with individuals than brands (Brandwatch)
- Getting just one person to share your message results in far more click-through activity than if your company were to add another 100 followers (GaggleAMP)
What are the steps to encouraging your employees to be brand ambassadors?
Get buy-in from both management & employees
Ensure employees feel engaged and appreciated at work. It’s simple logic that people who are unhappy at their place of work won’t recommend it to others, whether as customers or future employees (in fact they’re likely do the exact opposite).
People need to be engaged not only with the concept of being ambassadors, but with their roles and the business in general. When people enjoy going to work, feel respected and are proud of their achievements, they’ll be more inclined to contribute to the success of the business.
Make it part of your culture. Emphasise that social advocacy is a key part of your brand presence and how individuals’ support and involvement is important. Senior management can reinforce this by acknowledging the influence advocacy has on driving the business forward.
Publish high quality content
You should be aiming to create content that’s so fabulous, insightful and inspiring that people would want to share with their connections even if they didn’t work for your company.
You could use a social listening tool to identify the type of content that employees like to share (what’s already working) and take this into account when content planning. This exercise would also help you to identify your most socially active champions.
Make it easy to share
There are lots of little things you can do to keep sharing content front-of-mind:
- Include social sharing buttons and a link to your blog on all company email footers
- Add shortcuts to toolbars as standard
- Embed your social feed to your website’s home page
- Notify all staff whenever your business publishes a new piece of content or even a new blog post
- Regularly share social engagement metrics in at-a-glance format, demonstrating the impact and benefits of sharing
If your employees aren’t your biggest fans, you’ve got bigger problems than social media
Marketing consultant, Jay Baer
Encourage involvement & collaboration
Give the whole team some ownership your brand’s marketing activity by encouraging suggestions and input for social campaigns, blog posts and other content and allowing them to be involved in
its development. Perhaps set up a forum on your intranet where employees can discuss ideas for content and social.
This is a win-win strategy, as you’ll have a much wider pool of skills, knowledge and experience to draw upon, adding depth and fresh perspectives to your content.
It’s a two-way street
Highlight employees’ personal achievements and content published outside of work where appropriate – be reciprocal, and encourage peer-to-peer recognition and praise.
Manage the community, but don’t put barriers in the way
Your content/social team needs to:
- Act as a point of contact for the employee advocacy scheme
- Work with employees to develop content ideas and submissions (including quality control and applying brand guidelines, where appropriate)
- Communicate internally; remind employees why their involvement is important and encourage participation
If you don’t have a social media policy, you should at least establish guidelines for sharing brand content, preferably with more do’s than don’ts. Clarify what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable ways of representing your brand, but don’t inhibit employees from using their own voice and ways of sharing – or you’ll be missing the whole point of social advocacy.
We’re mad about social media at Click – find out more about our social media marketing services.