Whether you like it or not, your employees talk – over dinner, down the pub, at the gym, at the school gates – that collective word of mouth can have a huge impact on your company reputation and bottom line. Here's 5 ways to encourage employees to shout out.
When marketing budgets are tight, and you don’t have huge resources like Google or Facebook, why not look into your own team and to your employees for the secret sauce for that competitive advantage.
It’s an area companies often overlook, but your employees know your business better than anyone and by harnessing that powder you can create powerful brand ambassadors who will sing your praises and ultimately boost sales – after all, who would you choose to believe? An anonymous online review or a friend who works at a particular company and raves about them?
Technology provides a much wider forum in which to make noise. Remember, most of your employees will have hundreds of contacts that they can reach out to each day on social media. So, rather than leaving it to chance and merely hoping they say nice things about your business, here's what you could be doing.
Advantages of employee ambassadors
Employee ambassadors will promote your brand, product and services to their networks, both on and offline. And they potentially have far more marketing reach than you do.
According to research from Nielsen, 83% of respondents said they trust recommendations from friends and family. With figures showing employees have an average of over 1090 social media connections, you can see how your advertising reach can grow exponentially through them.
Employee ambassadors are likely to achieve greater conversion rates from the social content they share. The research supports this with recorded conversion rates sitting at seven times higher. Not only does their interaction boost leads, but it also raises the quality of the leads – and as the stats above reveal, people are far more likely to trust a recommendation from those they know than from someone they don’t.
In addition, employee ambassadors will increase your reach when it comes to recruiting top talent. If they are consistently talking about your business and what a great place it is to work, you’re far more likely to attract people who are keen to engage with your business and accept a job offer.
Turning your employees into ambassadors takes time but it is achievable if you give them right structure and support. Here are five things you can do to turn your staff into your best advocates.
Be transparent in your leadership
When people ask who you are and what you do, try to keep everyone on the same page. Despite the fact that you'll probably explain your business differently to your employees, it is important that staff share your vision of what your company is. As a leader it is vital you communicate the vision that you want to push forward to everyone from the top down.
Management needs to be open and transparent and any message about your company vision and ethos needs to be consistent in all communication.
Invest in your employees
It sounds simple really – if your employees feel valued and looked after, they are far more likely to say nice things about your business. If they feel hard done by, then expect increased negativity.
According to the CIPD, HR’s professional body, 53% of workers “always” or “often” feel engaged in their day-to-day work. The effect on engagement is clear with 55% saying they are willing to work harder than necessary for their employer.
If you want your staff to be your employee ambassadors, you need to let them contribute to your overall content strategy. Ask them to write for your company’s blog, create podcasts and videos and design social media posts. If employees are in the spotlight and feel proud of something they have created they are much more likely to share it with family and friends.
Not only are they helping to build your brand but they’re also building their own personal brand which can be great for career development and future opportunities.
Create great content and make it easy to share
Content is king and what you and your employees share must be relevant and compelling. Don’t just create content for content’s sake.
You can send out press releases and official company stuff but often humanising the content works far better with videos, which allow people to see behind the scenes or the human side of your business. Infographics are a great visual way to get a point across quickly and succinctly.
Creating content employees can share such as a weekly newsletter or specific updates will also help boost your marketing.
It’s important to ensure that whatever they are sharing reflects well upon your brand. You can create a guide defining what is and isn’t okay to share with sample tweets, hashtags and posts.
Determine what can/can’t be shared publicly and if there is particular language you would or wouldn’t like them to use, make it clear. The last thing you want is for an employee to share sensitive information or something that could potentially damage your business.