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How to Turn Your Employees into Social Media Brand Ambassadors

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How to Turn Your Employees into Social Media Brand Ambassadors

As marketing budgets at companies both small and large remain tight, it’s more important than ever that organisations maximise the potential of their existing assets in order to effectively market and promote the business. The most powerful of these assets are undeniably the people who work for you. Organisations both large and small have long evangelised the capacity of their people to promote their brands.

Marketing departments have gotten very good at using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to digitally promote and evangelise their companies, however employee-powered social media engagement as a vehicle for workers to serve as brand ambassadors for their companies sadly hasn’t kept pace, thus far.

A good example of employees acting as ambassadors for their place of work is that of footballers, who frequently post updates on how much they enjoy playing for their club and thank fans for support, not to mention running Q&As and hosting competitions. Millions of fans engage with players via social media in this way and it has undoubtedly played a part in the large scale expansion of European clubs’ fanbases into American, Asian and African markets.

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It Doesn’t Always Go To Plan

Whilst social media is a wonderful tool for the promotion and amplification of corporate messages, it doesn’t always go to plan. Adria Richards posted a picture message on her Twitter feed of two fellow attendees at a recent PyCon conference that she overheard making supposedly crude, sexist jokes. The picture went viral and citing the fact that her personal profile was an extension of her corporate one and that the furore could bring the company into disrepute, she was fired, along with one of the men in the photo. The message is clear: words and images can have a serious impact.

But Then Again It Frequently Does

One company whose employees serve as brand ambassadors very effectively and efficiently is Nokia. For a start they have a team responsible specifically for devising social media strategies with workers at the forefront of the charge. One of the things that unifies Nokia and its employees is the fact that each and every one knows two key facts about the organisation (what it first manufactured before phones and when & where its billionth phone was sold). It is the knowledge of these simple facts that brings Nokia’s global workforce together.

Importantly, every Nokia employee is permitted to speak freely online. This instils in people a degree of responsibility that they feel obliged to adhere to, not to mention enabling the brand to be both visible and approachable on social media. All photos and videos on Nokia sites feature company employees, meaning that they are more likely to feel ownership over the brand and thus feel encouraged to promote it positively.

Making It Work for Your Organisation

The first step on the path to getting your staff talking positively about your brand is getting employees into the habit of engaging with the business online. One way to do this is to invest in a web based HR software system. It’s a simple, perhaps unrelated action, but it’s a subtle way of getting employees associating the company with all things digital.

Firstly, you’ll want to draw up a company social media policy. The policy should be clear, concise and distributed regularly via email and on your intranet system or cloud HR platform. This is also your opportunity to stipulate, by way of an entry into employee contracts, the necessity for promotion of the company via social media. Employees should be trained on the power it can have and be given the green light to ‘claim the brand’ in Twitter/LinkedIn bios and on Facebook walls.

Ensure that as many of your employees as possible connect with each other on applicable social media channels and get them talking to each other online, sharing successes and case studies amongst themselves. This way, the buzz surrounding your work will begin to build and it’ll only be a matter of time before a member of the team goes public with the work.

Following on from any good work, encourage those responsible to contribute to the company blog. This gives you a rich piece of content showcasing some good work carried out at the company that the writer of the blog will most likely want to share on their social profiles.

And lastly, ensure that effective and regular training is given on social media use and the benefits it can bring everyone. Your employees should feel encouraged and free to express themselves online from day one; however they should know to act responsibly and with sound judgement.

At the end of the day it’s all about the kind of company culture you promote. By ensuring that your workplace is a fun, exciting and productive place to be with good benefits and nurturing a team that communicates with each other effectively then you’re well on the way to turning that team into happy ambassadors for your brand.

I am the founder of Startup Today. I am the main writer and have put in many hours of work into creating this blog. If you want to find out more about me then lets get in contact.

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