Employee Advocacy: How to Turn Your Employees Into Ambassadors of Your Brand
While having a huge marketing budget is great, it may surprise you to learn that one of the most effective ways to market your brand is by leveraging a resource you already have – your employees.
According to a survey by Smarp, the average employee has 420 Facebook friends, 400 LinkedIn contacts, and 360 Twitter followers. Now imagine if each of your employees were advocates for your brand and spoke positively about you on their social networks. Collectively, that’s a lot of social media users gaining awareness of your brand from a credible source.
With 92% of consumers trusting recommendations from family and friends, employee advocacy has proven to be an effective way for companies to boost brand reach, improve awareness, and help them build a positive online reputation. When you have employee advocates, you’ll have a stronger online presence and be able to attract more talent and retain existing ones.
Here’s how you can turn employees into brand ambassadors:
1- Empower Your Employees to Use Social Media
Create a culture that is supportive of social media activity. However, while you should encourage your employees to use social media, there should also be guidelines on what they can share. It can be a simple list of dos and don’ts. It can be presented in a way that doesn’t feel restrictive so as not to ruin the fun. It’s important for employees to know that not just anyone can respond to negative comments on social media; that is a job for a dedicated social media manager. They can, however, share company content or share their own, as long as it doesn’t place the brand in a bad light or expose any company secrets.
2- Create Easy-to-Share Content
Your social media team should be creating content that employees can easily share on their accounts. These can be blog articles, videos, photos, and other news. Remind them to use hashtags in their posts and motivate their colleagues to share content too.
3- Recognize Employee Advocates
Some organizations have employee advocate programs that not only invites people to be brand advocates but also rewards them. Give your most active brand ambassadors the recognition they deserve with incentives such gift cards, cash, or even something as simple as the choice to work from home one day out of the week or an extra hour for lunch. When other employees see the rewards of advocacy, they’ll be motivated to join the fun.
4- Provide Training
It’s easy to assume that everyone these days is social media savvy. However, not everyone is. Your social media team can provide training to employees to help empower them to use their social media and share content or create their own. Content doesn’t have to mean writing a blog article or producing a video. Content could be as simple as a tweet with a dedicated hashtag, a live Facebook video during a company event, or a status promoting the brand’s latest offerings.
When turning your employees into brand advocates, remember to provide your employees with guidance. The key is to keep employees engaged so that they remain loyal and continue to be happy to advocate your brand. Employee advocacy should never feel forced or be expected of them.