When it comes to social media, a brand authenticity and transparency is what users look for and value. The days of broadcasting sales messages died a long time ago, users want to know what’s going on behind the scenes of a brand and engage with the brand on a human-to-human level.
This is why its important to utilize the most important social media strategy available to you, your colleagues. Especially at a local level, a company employee sharing information or endorsing a product on a personal level shows that they have confidence in what the brand has to offer.
In order to achieve this level of brand advocacy from within, there are a number of challenges that need to be overcome, but there isn’t anything that’s impossible to overcome. One of which is that a brand’s social media presence is not the sole responsibility of the social media manager or marketing team – it’s the responsibility of all the brand’s employees.
Social brand value is the extent to which people willingly share a brand’s content, or information about the brand, as part of their regular social output.
Here, the brand influence is passed from the company to the person. It’s important to gain social presence through other people talking about your brand, I would even go one step further and say this natural chatter about your brand is more valuable than any advertorial or sales focused pitch.
Getting this sort of employee brand advocacy however comes from the following:
Encourage Activity & Social Media Use During Work Hours
Within limits, encouraging your employees to use social media at work can reap huge benefits. This is a huge step to take as a lot of companies see this sort of empowerment as a big risk because it could be a distraction, and there is always the risk that employees could share something inappropriate.
But restricting your employees in this way shows a lack of trust, obviously have policies in place that penalize excessive use – but this trust is something that needs to be invested. You can then subtly encourage them to use social media channels that are important to the brand.
They may even begin interacting with industry influencers on a more human level than what the brand could achieve. This is not only good to build relationships with the influencers, but these interactions could also inspire your employees.
Create A Team Of Brand Ambassadors
You might have a number of employees already sharing your brand’s message without any encouragement, but it’s still vital that you build a team of brand ambassadors. This doesn’t have to be a formal arrangement at first, but the team needs to understand some key ground rules with the things they can and can’t say – in line with the official brand account. Seek out employees who are already behind the brand’s message, and try to assemble a team with variety – for example, if you’re a sports shoe reseller, try and assemble a team with someone passionate about basketball and someone passionate about soccer – this way their passions and expertise will filter through into their brand passion and reach totally different audiences.
When putting this team together, you also need to look out for key traits found only in engaged employees. You only get engaged employees when a business is open and has a ‘one team’ policy. There are a number of companies that don’t feel the need or see the point in sharing their vision, goals and mission with all employees – it’s not relevant to them all is it? Wrong. This inclusion is essential to developing a strong social brand.
These traits are:
• Employees who already ‘believe’ in the organization and in the mantra
• Have the desire to make ‘things’ better for customers
• Understand the role they play in the wider business picture
• Are respectful and helpful to other colleagues
Praise Your Team On Their Successes
Creating a great team of ambassadors is one thing, but to keep them motivated is another. They need to feel that their efforts are being recognized and that they’re appreciated by the business.
If a tweet they share goes viral or an image they Pin gets repinned to hundreds of boards, find the team member responsible and praise them.
You need to use your analytics to your advantage and look for spikes in web traffic from the social channel.