In this digital age of chronic information ODs and super-aggressive marketing, customers are often left reeling. Where do they look, what do they buy, how do they choose? There’s just too much going on and everything is literally shoved in their faces, through various channels and outlets. In such a scenario, how can you make your product stand out?
Well, I think it can be as easy as giving your brand a simple human touch. Thanks to social media, your employees are literally your best brand advocates. Come as they do with their multiple social connections, they can be your company’s viral gateways to success! Take for example the case of MasterCard which made headlines for enlisting all of its employees (7,500 of ’em) as social media brand advocates.
The heavyweight firm loosened its posting guidelines and created “social media playbooks” to teach workers how to use a variety of social media platforms.
So, are your employees your best social media marketers? Absolutely. Here\’s why you should you encourage employee advocacy efforts…
Well, for starters, this is a great way to empower your employees and build your brand through their stories. All they need are the right tools, guidelines and support to present your stories in an authentic manner. Giving your employees this freedom will help you build a passionate bunch of ambassadors. Also, involving all your staff in social media will change the way different departments interact.
Marketing Made Easy
In case of a PR crisis, for example, giving your employees the permission to broadcast messages will help you reach a wider audience. What’s more, they’ll get a balanced perspective of the issue. And also, this way, your entire employee base will be marketing your brand… not just the marketing team. Imagine the reach then!
Recruiting talent is a huge pain. Well, here’s another great way to empower your HR team- look no farther than social recruiting. Employee advocates are social recruiters in themselves! When your employees share job opportunities with their contacts, it will help you hire quality talent in half the time.
Better Brand Awareness
If your employees mention the office even casually in their posts, it will give your brand amazing exposure. The news will, directly or indirectly, reach a large audience and give your brand a boost.
You have the opportunity to tap into a diverse consumer base, through employees who are already on your payroll! \’Nuff said!
Your Customers Will Trust Information From Their Networks
Customers are likelier to trust someone on their network than a rank stranger who they know is merely trying to promote a product. When your employees act as your social media ambassadors, they will make an impression on people who get their motivations. Besides, your employees are your best bets because they’re the guys who WANT your company to succeed. Their salaries depend on it!
So, how do you create an army of social media brand ambassadors?
Earn their trust, encourage
Nothing can be done overnight. You need to first earn the trust of your own employees so that they are encouraged to support your company. If your own employees don’t use your products, why should anyone else? Also, consider rewarding those who talk about your company extensively on social media channels.
Cultivate core values
Next, identify the core values of your company, and cultivate them in your staff. Give employees free rein to work on customer relationships on social media platforms… give them a sense of ownership. And, finally, make sharing easy. How? Send out a daily newsletter with shareable links, for starters.
Give them guidelines
Employees need to be trained and made to understand that they will be held accountable if they post something that damages your reputation. Make sure you have a social media policy in place, with clear guidelines.
But, the thumb rules is… don’t force it on anyone! It defeats the purpose. Don’t be worried though: it has been found that over 50% of employees want to share news/info about their company anyway.
But, this approach comes with its set of pitfalls too…
It may appear a little too forced and staged. And people might wonder if employees were indeed forced to post. Second, not everyone wants their social networking pages to look like an advertisement for your company. Finally, even an employee with the best intentions can end up ruining things if his/her other posts are highly inappropriate.