A lot is written about the use of social media at work. This is about how you can leverage your employees’ social media presence to build your brand. Your strongest advocates are likely working for you already.
Assume each of your employees has 500 connections combined on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. They represent a powerful marketing channel for you to exploit. So what do you need to consider making this happen?
People trust people they know more than they trust brands. This is a complication for marketing efforts aiming to develop your brand. According to Wharton @ Work, 84% of global consumers now trust friends and family as the most reliable source of information for new products. This new reality is the root cause why you should consider part of your employees as active brand ambassadors.
You take your brand into new areas to adapt to the new marketing reality created by the digital economy. Your ability to reach customers through social and mobile channels becomes essential. Your core business might survive with analog brand building. But your new digital business needs digital brand building efforts.
Often are you trying to reinforce your brand in closed groups where tribal efforts are make sense. Your employees are likely to have a foothold already into the tribes that matter. They can spear head your brand building efforts into those tribes.
The reality of the digital economy is your customers will do a lot of research before they reach out to a sales person the first time. As a reference point, the average American pool buyer read 115 pages of information before he contact a sales person. It is in this window your social mobile branding efforts should make an impact. Latent values to aim for is to secure buyers recognize you early as a player in the market. It is better they read your content rather than someone else. Your content in this phase is more about helping them in finding answers to their problems. Sales come in a later stage.
A campaign to activate your employees as brand advocates involves:
- Educating your employees on how they can and should contribute to the brand building in social channels.
- Establish guidelines for social media channels. Which you target and how your employees recognize themselves as a part of your company.
- Provide content optimized for social media channels your employees can use, and feed them with new content.
- Simplify their postings with tools where the content you have created is available
- Establish a brand ambassador program where your employees get recognition for their contributions.
- Leverage Mini-Mentoring. Young professionals mentor your senior leaders to get the program off the ground.
- Establish clear metrics for your initiative. Involved employees. Followers per employee. Actions per member. Engagements per posting. Monetary value of program etc.
Good questions to ask you before kicking off a program are
- How many employees could we activate? – An idea of the number gives you an idea of the value of the program.
- Which content can be re-purposed to fit the employee ambassador program? – Just relaying existing marketing material designed for outbound marketing is not enough.
- Which senior executives are important to activate early? – Your employees will follow your leaders. and without Executive participation it will remain a grass roots efforts only with slow growth.
Great reading on this subject is:
- Three steps for transforming employees into brand ambassadors [ARTICLE] – by William Arruda at Forbes
- Social Media: Moving from danger to brand building opportunity [ARTICLE] – by Jeanne Meister at Forbes
- Empower your employees to become brand ambassadors [BLOG] by Jon Michail
- Youtility: Why smart marketing is about help not hype [BOOK] – by Jay Baer