A while back, our team authored a blog about the role of brand ambassadors (also called brand evangelists). This topic has been one of our most trending blogs ever since and sparked a lot of emails from our readers, wanting to know more about this topic. So this week, we thought we’d delve a little deeper and discuss how your employees can become powerful assets for your brand.
Whether you have hundreds of employees or just a couple of interns, your workers interact with many people beyond your brand’s area of influence. What are they saying about your business? What are they saying about you on their social media networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter? Even if they want to say positive things about your brand, it’s quite possible they don’t know how to say it or if they’re saying it right. Now is the time to transform your employees into passionate brand ambassadors.
Your traditional PR methods have a finite reach and limited effectiveness. It’s difficult for some people to connect with brands, no matter what the size of the company, because they are viewed as impersonal. By enlisting brand evangelists within your organization, you can allow that personal connection to manifest. A passionate brand ambassador will attract new demographics, increase your brand exposure and build greater trust with current customers.
The reason why some organizations are resistant to employees spreading their message is control. You’re giving up that tightly wound PR message when you transform employees into brand ambassadors. Things won’t always be perfect, and that’ll give some managers sweaty palms and twitchy eyes. However, that lack of control is also the beauty behind having employee evangelists. These workers are speaking to their circles of influence in their own words, not yours. Their message comes across as genuine and credible, which means their opinions are trusted and valued more than the usual corporate spin.
So while you can’t control the messenger, there are ways to influence the message. It all starts with open, honest communication with your employees. Cut the self-promotion crap with your employees, they’ll sniff it out right away and you’ll lose their respect. Level with them. Tell them the way it really is. Speak from the heart. They’ll appreciate it and have a deeper respect for you and the company.
Remember… “Forget the spin. Communicate from Within”
Create a culture where management is accessible and approachable. Ensure that workers are treated with respect and are recognized for their hard work. When you earn your employee's respect and gain their trust, they’ll be more passionate about the brand. And they’ll spread that enthusiasm to others within their area of influence.
Here are some ways to bolster communications with your employees, and at the same time create passionate brand ambassadors:
Identify Employees Who Already Have a Personal Blog
Offer company ‘scoops’ to these individuals for posting on their blogs before the news is sent to the mainstream media. Your information will have a better chance of going viral, plus your employees will feel valued that you trusted them with the news before others.
Reward Your Top Brand Ambassadors
Do you have one or two employee evangelists that tirelessly and sincerely promote your brand? Do you want more? Set up a rewards program. It could be as simple as acknowledgment in the company newsletter or a company perk. It could also be a prize like cash or gift cards. Recognition and rewards are powerful motivators for any employee.
Have an Internal Product or Service Fair
Does every employee fully understand your brand? Take a few hours out of one day to have some fun and demonstrate all the uses for your product and some little-known facts. Supply some pizza and soft drinks and make it an event. Have knowledgeable personnel on hand to answer any questions. The object is not to put a spin on the brand, but to educate your employees about the goods or services your company offers. You might be surprised to learn that some of your employees haven't fully grasped the value behind your products. Once they fully ‘get’ what you do and what the company stands for, they’ll be ready to become a passionate brand ambassador.
Have Analytics and "Listeners" in Place
It’s important to know if each brand ambassador is helping (or hurting) your brand. Make sure your company has some sort of way to monitor your brand and measure the results of the items being syndicated. Without proper metrics and listeners in place, you’ll never know if all the hard work is actually paying off and how to duplicate those successes in the future - additionally, having these items in place will allow you to most effectively see what information could be harming your relationship with your core client/customer base.
Make Good Use of Video
Video is a powerful internet tool that can engage some website viewers that only glance at the text. Create a YouTube channel. Make short videos showing your employees at work and let the companies’ culture shine through. Get your employees involved in the process. Let people be creative. You may be surprised at how much fun everyone has and how creative your staff can be. The more fun the videos are, the more your employees will want to share them on their social media networks.
Whether you want to believe it or not, your brand is no longer in just your marketing team’s hands. Today’s employees are technically astute, culturally diverse, and well connected within social media circles. If mistreated and ignored, they have the power to tarnish your brand, perhaps even destroy it. If they feel valued and respected, they have the ability to take your company to new heights in a short period of time. So above all, treat your employees well, communicate with them regularly and follow the above steps to transform them into passionate brand ambassadors. It’s a win-win situation for you and your employees.
Are your employees passionate brand ambassadors? If not do you think they can be? What strategies are you utilizing to make sure your employees are saying positive things about your brand? Let us know what you think. We want to hear from you! Visit this post on our Fan Page and share your comments! Thanks for reading!