It would be stating the obvious to say the benefits of employee engagement are real. #NuffSaid. But, let those engaged employees loose on an online audience and you'll get digital jazz.... Ok, maybe this isn't Tron but the impact of a passionate employee will speak louder (and further) than that of a polished brand-centric voice – everyday of the week! Why? Because as humans we like to buy from other humans. As consumers we want to see the people behind all the products and services we know and love — this is often the most effective marketing!
Let’s face it, there’s no arguing that the attitudes and philosophies which your employees possesses will undoubtedly touch your marketplace in one way or another. Whether that’s online social media conversations or an offline backyard BBQ. As a result, it’s more important than ever for both your business and brand to foster higher employee engagement, which results in more meaningful and productive brand conversations.
At You & Co, we’re passionate about this because everyone has a voice including your brand, whether it be online or offline. So how do we ensure that this voice is harmonious, consistent and productive to the business?
Say 👎 to excessive governing and 👍 to equipping and empowering your employees. The best thing your business can do is to give your team the know how and tools, so that they’re confident and capable. We’ve compiled the six essential steps to start out.
Essentials of employee brand advocacy
1. Establish your story
Uniting your team behind the same story of growth, long term goals and big wins on the horizon is extremely motivating — it encourages everyone to get on board and shapes the direction of your business. Make sure to involve your employees with your brand decisions. It’s important to actually understand what it is the business is trying to achieve, and that the Modus Operandi relates or at least connects with each and every individual.
2. Include everyone
From the very back of house to the very front — you never know who will be you’re most passionate and talented brand ambassadors.
For example, at Y&C we’ve talked about creating a regular friday instagram feature where each of us take turns in showing what a friday looks like to us. Your business or company could also do this so that people have the chance to contribute to the social content from their own perspective/department/desk.
Provide opportunities for everyone to get involved, whether that’s featuring a different employee across your socials and blog every month, or encouraging your team to join local community events like social sports.
3. Provide social training
Having a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter account doesn’t automatically qualify an employee as an engaged and competent brand advocate. Invest time and resources to upskilling your team — there are some skills that will be invaluable regardless of what their title is. Consider hosting a workshop or opportunity to get familiar with each platform and empower your employees through knowing.
How many hashtags are best practice? What’s the best time to post on social media? These are some questions you can help you team answer and implement on an individual basis.
4. Create great content
To eliminate the chances of off brand or inappropriate content, make the effort to generate and create content the reader can use. Building out an backlog of high quality evergreen content provides a resource not only for potential customers but also for current employees. In doing so, you’re saving them time and eliminating inconsistencies from making the public frontline.
5. Recognise the wins
Certain employees will perform better than others, perhaps because they’re more engaged or because they’re more active across the digital space. A key way to keep those social thought leaders motivated is to recognise the wins — praise and acknowledge when your all stars are doing a killer job.
6. Cultivate your environment
Staff or employee attitudes are always a reflection of how they feel about their workplace? How does your team feel about flexible working hours for new parents, alternative working hours for freelancers or telecommuting employees? It won't directly create content or engagement but it will be reflected in the overall attitude towards an employer and which carries over to both online and offline socialising. As leaders within your business, it’s crucial to shape the culture as well as the direction. Is the environment you’re creating cultivating engaged and motivated employees?
7. Clarify brand guidelines
As much as we’d always prefer not to talk about do’s and don’t’s, it’s important to clarify and establish up front what is acceptable and what isn’t — invest time in building out a clear brand communications guide. It’s better to be proactive and forewarn than have to mediate or discuss a breach post-incident. Establishing your most important goals and principles as a brand, business and team will help prevent the majority of incidents — because no one wants to be the bad cap.
At the end of the day, the heart of your business is the people behind it. Encouraging social brand advocacy encompasses investing in your team, equipping them with knowledge and encouraging them to grow. You want the best out of your team, just as you want your team to want the best for the business! How are you creating brand advocates?
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