Leadership

How to Turn Employees into Brand Ambassadors

What your workers say and post about your company can be just as impactful as your paid marketing efforts. Four tips for making the most of their influence

Written by Darren Gibbons

A lot of time and effort goes into building a strong corporate brand. Great advertising, strong public relations outreach, active social media management and a dedicated customer service plan all go into developing a brand.

But there’s no better contributor to brand building than having an engaged workforce who are enthusiastic ambassadors for your company. Your employees might not realize it, but they are actively promoting or devaluing your company’s values, missions and goals every single time they share information in public, whether that be through personal contact or on social media.

To safeguard and build your brand, you need to realize that employees have an impact beyond their traditional job roles and ensure they are contributing as positive ambassadors. Reputation and positive brand image can’t be faked, especially when it comes to interactions between your employees and customers or the public.

Here’s how you can create a passionate workforce that proudly represents your company.

1. Set an example

Open communication and transparency from you will go a long way to building similar traits in employees. Studies have shown that effective communication and openness about company goals, performance, and the contribution of individual successes to the business as a whole all make workers bullish on their company’s future.

2. Develop a positive working environment

Well-branded companies understand the utility of an employee recognition program. But it’s not about monetary or in-kind rewards. You need to create an environment in which your workers feel enriched and positive. Internal communication platforms like intranets allow employees to connect with one another, share their stories, celebrate successes, and feel part of a community. The more that an employee sense that they are part of something, not just working for someone, the more likely they are to embrace the company’s values and vision.

3. Empower them on social media

The Internet is a critical driver of public opinion for every single company. While a strong corporate social presence is important, your employees hold more power than you think. One study conducted by the MSLGROUP found that social media posts by employees reached 561% further than company posts, and that companies with engaged employees performed 202% better than those without. Create a social media policy that ensures employees have a strong understanding of your company goals and vision and then let them loose. Watch how quickly your brand gains a positive reputation through a groundswell of social support.

4. Educate your ambassadors

Keeping employees up to date with current corporate initiatives, successes, goals and news will ensure the information they’re putting out into the world is accurate. To make sharing content easy for employees, consider sending out a weekly publication via email or a social intranet. This could include company news, memes, articles, press releases, videos, and other shareable content. Highlight the opportunities employees will enjoy as brand ambassadors, not only in terms of improving the company’s trajectory but also by enriching their career history and building their own personal brands.

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Creating and cultivating brand ambassadors is a smart way to use the human resources already at your disposal. Put the effort into cultivating these employee-ambassadors, and your company will reap major rewards.

Darren Gibbons is the co-creator of ThoughtFarmer, a social intranet software provider founded in 2006 and based in Vancouver.

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Have you turned your employees into brand ambassadors? How? Let us know by commenting below.

Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com