While marketing and communications are critical to drive awareness of your company, don't overlook another important and available resource: your team. Cultivating employees as brand ambassadors is an effective and economical strategy to drive positive impressions, build trust and amplify corporate values with broader networks.
When employees advocate for your brand, their actions and words drive brand visibility, sales, talent acquisition and more. Plus, fostering a work environment that employees proudly represent improves their sense of belonging and overall job satisfaction, which is good for talent retention and productivity -- and sparks further positive brand representation.
Through in-person and remote meetings, events and elsewhere, employees have the potential to reach key stakeholders. Moreover, employee statements are generally perceived as more authentic and trustworthy than company-sponsored messaging alone. Talking about your company with pride and clarity impacts brand awareness and trust.
LinkedIn is a critical place where employee brand ambassadors can increase company visibility, especially through content engagement. In addition to enhancing corporate credibility and reputation with complete and current profiles, research shows that when employees interact with company-relevant content, their individual networks take notice. This leads to more LinkedIn company page and job posting views as well as acquisition of new followers.
Social selling is cost-effective and impactful. No campaign bids are required (like with sponsored ads) to tap into the power of employees’ organic conversations and social media engagement. Again, LinkedIn is important here; 75% of B2B buyers use social media for purchasing decisions and salespeople who regularly engage with company content are 45% more likely to exceed quotas.
With job vacancies at record highs, leveraging employee advocacy to attract and retain talent is essential to remain competitive. Employees who display enthusiasm and pride for their company signal to prospective talent that it’s a good place to pursue a position. Team member advocacy also boosts workplace morale, signaling to colleagues that the company is a good place to stay. Research shows that companies with employees who are socially engaged are 58% more likely to attract top talent and 20% more likely to retain them.
Don’t assume team members know how to champion the company effectively on their own. Offer basic training or bring in an expert to cover the essentials, including guidance on best practices to drive visibility on LinkedIn and other social platforms critical to your business. Distribute branded banner images for LinkedIn profiles and ensure all staff follow your company page.
Provide video presentation guidance and branded virtual background images for anyone who leads or participates in video meetings. Employers often miss this opportunity and assume their staff already know how to make optimal impressions by video. Don’t leave this up to chance for brand ambassadors – you're relying on them to be the people who make the best brand impressions in everything they do.
A simple, yet high-impact action is to have your marketing department notify brand ambassadors when posting major announcements on LinkedIn so they can easily engage with posts. Also ensure they're made aware of any upcoming events hosted or sponsored by your company, or that feature employees as speakers, and encourage them to attend, amplify through social media posts.
As staff become brand ambassadors, prepare them for conversations with simple talking points on key brand messages. Also facilitate communication across divisions, departments and cross-functional groups so everyone is prepared to speak confidently on the topics and ensure important announcements are communicated in a timely manner. If launching new products or services, provide brand ambassadors with clear information to facilitate product promotion with their contacts.
Branded mugs, baseball hats or t-shirts are great items to help teams display and endorse their company affiliation. Wearing or using a branded item shows company pride and can provide fodder for a conversation starter. Staff also appreciate receiving useful, fun and high-quality items, which build positive brand association.
Employees of all ranks look to senior leaders for cues on a variety of workplace expectations, so those higher up the organizational should lead by example as primary brand ambassadors. Make sure to get buy-in from the start on the importance of brand advocacy and take the time to train leadership in best practices, both as part of initial onboarding and continuing professional development.
All companies can benefit from employee brand advocacy. It builds awareness, credibility and interest. Plus, the culture of positive employee engagement drives job satisfaction, productivity and retention.
Your people are your brand. Help them to help you market it effectively – it's well worth it.