7 tips to develop your employees as brand ambassadors

Your employees are often your company’s best storytellers.

The question is: What kinds of stories do they have that are worth telling?

Here are tips and strategies you can use to motivate your staffers to be
positively vocal about your brand:

1. Start small with the stars you already have.

Talent consultant
Lars Schmidt
warns that starting an employee activation initiative with your HR
department or upper management can backfire. “Employees may be skeptical if
HR or leadership pushes them to act,” he says. “If they see their peers
participating, they’ll be more compelled to follow suit, and your
initiatives can grow organically and authentically.”

Identify the employees who are already advocates on social media, and start
small with them. Once you’ve trained them to use their media social
profiles or their dedicated branded profiles, you have your internal
leaders who can spearhead a larger program.



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2. Make it about personal branding.

The best way to spark brand advocacy within your organization isn’t by
offering a financial or physical reward; it’s about personal incentive.

Employee activation should be about empowering your employees to be the
best professional version of themselves. Equipping employees to become
industry-specific influencers can lift their respective careers, which also
benefits your business, as they are your organization’s digital (and
real-world) representatives.

Approach brand advocacy as advantageous for both company and employee, and
you’ll generate sustainable interest.

3. Teach your employees to fish.

Have a support system in place from the beginning. You don’t have to start
out with a social media training academy like
Dell
or
Adobe. However, at least have established guidelines, tips and best practices,
and identify social media experts within your organization who can coach
their colleagues. This will set the foundation for a successful program.

Strive to consistently create educational content. Use webinars, how-to
videos, training sessions or short monthly meetings to reinforce what’s
acceptable to share. Also, take time to show employees how to hone their
expert voice on various social media platforms.


4. Make social media sharing convenient by providing curated content.

Your employees are more likely to be active ambassadors when you make it
easy for them. As part of your employee activation program, share a steady
supply of curated content. Include relevant blog posts, videos, industry
news and case studies. Then, encourage your advocates to comment on the
curated content with their personal take.

5. Encourage participation through incentives.

You won’t maintain a sustainable, meaningful employee advocacy program on
incentives alone, but perks or swag can certainly keep people interested.
Try weekly contests or giveaways. This type of motivation is more about
keeping your employees engaged, informed and interested, so make your
contests fun and compelling.

6. Use technology in your favor.

Yes, there’s an app for employee activation. In fact, there are several,
including plenty of machine learning algorithms and
AI-inspired platforms. Here are seven resources to consider:

  • Dynamic Signal
    is a useful resource to foster employee sharing. The company’s platform
    includes the ability to send out real-time notifications and
    personalized invites. You can also create quizzes, surveys and
    interactive content to keep your workers engaged.
  • Elevate
    is a LinkedIn resource geared toward sharing curated content. It’s a
    built-in feature that’s easy to use.
  • EveryoneSocial
    is the employee advocacy platform favored by Dell and Adobe. This tool
    makes it simple for employees to share content on their social
    networks.
  • Influitive
    is an advocacy platform used by companies such as Quickbase and
    MongoDB. The tool’s AdvocateHub motivates
    advocates to share content, reviews and testimonials online.
  • DrumUp
    lets you create custom posts and curate content. It also comes with a
    point system to recognize social media stars and analytics to track
    activity. DrumUp uses machine learning and
    natural-language processing
    to generate relevant content with the curation function.

  • Hootsuite’s Amplify

    and Bambu from Sprout Social are
    also popular advocacy platforms.

7. Use your advocates wisely.

Your employees’ social media profiles are potential publicity gold mines,
but be judicious regarding how much you ask of your internal advocates.

First, you don’t want to make your ambassadors feel pressured to spend too
much time on social media sharing. For them, it should be simple, natural
and easy—not just another task to knock off the list. If you ask for too
much, you’ll have fewer people interested in joining your voluntary
initiative.

Second, and perhaps more important, too much social media sharing will
dilute the value and authenticity of employee content. If your employees’
networks are being inundated by similar posts, people are going to start
ignoring the content. At some point, it will start seeming like bland brand
marketing content rather than authentic insights.

Employee activation can boost trust, engagement and reputation. Leads that
are generated from employee social media sharing convert
seven times more often
than other leads. It can increase sales and establish your brand as a more
trustworthy organization. Employee advocacy can even help you attract
premium hires to help your business succeed.

Overlooking your employees’ potential can be a fatal error. You’re missing
the chance to rake in more leads and burnish your company’s reputation
online. You are also missing the opportunity to help your employees grow
professionally.

If you haven’t already, start crafting a plan to empower and train your
workers to become authentic social media advocates.

Michael Brenner
is CEO of

Marketing Insider Group
. A version of this post first appeared on the

Marketing Insider blog
.

(Image via)

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