Identifying and recruiting brand ambassadors is a great way to grow awareness for your company, especially if social influencers or celebrities are part of your marketing plan and budget.
But you don’t have to partner with the famous and influential on Instagram to recruit effective brand ambassadors. Brand building should begin on your home turf. If you looked around your workplace right now, you’d find that there is a whole army of potential brand ambassadors at all levels of your organization.
Reputation management starts internally because your employees have a stake in your company’s success and they play an important role in bringing your brand to life. Here are five steps to turn your employees into brand builders who eat, sleep and grow awareness of your company’s reputation.
Establish an internal brand identity
Your internal communications should have personality and emulate your external brand identity. Does the tone of internal content mirror your marketing materials and external communications, or is it more serious and straightforward? If you are known for being light and quirky with your customers, your internal communications should have a similar voice when appropriate.
Practice an employee-first communications policy
Do you communicate important news with employees or external stakeholders first? For too many companies the answer is customers or external audiences. However, your employees should hear most information before outsiders. Sometimes there may be a legal or regulatory reason for communicating with the public first, but informing employees as soon as possible is the best policy.
Employees who feel informed and in-the-know are more likely to act as brand ambassadors and proactively engage with friends, family and customers when there is news to share. They are more apt to correct misinformation and can help protect your reputation when your company faces a crisis. Be sure to practice an employee-first policy when it comes to communicating important information.
Give them a variety (of content)
Most companies provide external audiences an assortment of content types to consume, from articles to videos and infographics. Internal audiences are sometimes fed a more limited content diet, but employees crave variety too.
Whether you are rolling out a new product or strategic plan, sharing information with a suite of content helps develop excitement internally and ensures your key messages are absorbed. It also allows employees to take in information that matches their learning style or interests.
For example, demand for shorter videos are on the rise, partly because social platforms are pushing it, but also because it’s a format that has traction with many people. While it may require an investment and time commitment, including video in your internal communications mix can be an ideal way to communicate complex ideas and lead to greater engagement.
Go for employee engagement
According to a Dale Carnegie study, companies with engaged employees outperform others by more than 200 percent. Engagement also develops a sense of brand ownership and responsibility among employees. Emotionally committed employees are more likely to talk positively about your brand with customers and the people they know. If your company does not have an employee engagement program in place, consider establishing one.
Ask your employees to share on social
A MSLGroup study found that branded social media content shared by employees had 561 percent more reach than the same posts published via branded accounts. Making employees aware of social media content and asking them to share it, can have a substantial impact on your online awareness. While your employees may not be recognized social media influencers, they have their own network of friends and followers. Asking them to actively participate in your company’s social media success can amplify your brand’s reach.