Built In Brand Advocates: Gaining Followers Through Employee Socials

Business.com / Social Media / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Your employees can be your most loyal brand advocates. Here's how to tap into the power of internal promotion.

When you think of developing brand advocates, customers immediately come to mind.

However, you have legions of brand advocates that you may not have unleashed because you hadn’t looked at them this way.

That’s right: your employees. 

Just imagine how they can build up your brand through their own social media posts that illustrate why and how the company is a trustworthy, socially responsible employer.

Related Article: It's About The People: The "Stakeholder Approach" to Building Better Brands

Leverage a Powerful Internal Tool

Available research also substantiates the fact that employee brand advocates can make a significant difference in terms of positively influencing your target audience:

  • A Forbes article referenced the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer, a trust and credibility survey, which found that company employees have more credibility than executives.
  • The Social Media Examiner cited a number of companies that have achieved results from having brand advocates. For example, it cited Adobe, which found that this company had the most employees sharing content about Adobe on Twitter than any other tech brand in the world, including one brand ambassador who generated more revenue than the company’s official Photoshop Twitter account.
  • Another Social Media Examiner article listed companies like Zappos, which encourages its employees to take to social media and share content as brand advocates.
  • An EMC SlideShare presentation noted how it leverages its employees as brand advocates, citing the statistic that employees often have ten times the followers as company branded social media accounts.

Start with Employee Socials

While there are many opportunities to provide employees with social content that they can use on their personal social media profiles, one place to start is with employee socials and company events. These events often are hosted with the idea of rewards and recognition opportunities, illustrating the company’s commitment to certain values that are then reflected in its brand image.

For example, some examples of employee socials include:

  • Awards luncheons, dinners, or banquets
  • Company picnics
  • Holiday parties
  • Outdoor activities and adventures, including golf tournaments, go-kart racing, and other team-building events
  • Retreats
  • Auctions and fundraisers

All of these employee social events share a common thread that illustrates a company that enjoys playing together as much as working as a team. It also shows collaboration, teamwork, and social responsibility, especially if the events are geared toward any type of charitable component.

Those customers or prospects that see the visual content on employee social media pages will engage with the happy staff that appear to genuinely like the company they work for. After all, they are posting pictures and videos because they want their social circles to know that their employer cares about them. This can translate into the idea that the company would also most likely be concerned about their customers.

Related Article: How to Build Brand Advocacy in 5 Simple Steps

Tips to Maximize Results

Like all social media activity related to the company, there are some tips to use in order to maximize results and ensure that the right messages are being transmitted:

  • Keep the messaging consistent about these employee social events and how they reflect your brand attributes.
  • Determine the best social media channels for your intended results. If you know your customer base are avid users of Instagram, then this is the perfect channel to showcase visual content from your employee events.
  • Ensure that your employees know these messages as well as how, where, and when they should use them through regular social media training and a clear company policy as well as examples of what is considered appropriate content for posting. For example, you would not want to post inappropriate pictures that show excessive drinking or anything else that appears to be questionable behavior.
  • Measure the reaction to these social media posts to gauge engagement and the ability to influence through the use of employees as brand ambassadors. Many of the social media platforms offer their own analytics tools or you can incorporate others like Google Analytics or those offered by Hootsuite.

Sites like the Society for Human Resource Management offers examples and further advice on crafting a social media policy that provides your employees with the freedom to become these brand ambassadors while offering a framework for what is considered acceptable for your company’s brand. In this way, you can leverage the benefits of turning them into brand ambassadors while still ensuring that you maintain a certain image across these platforms.

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