How to turn your employees into brand ambassadors ?

Happy employee

“Employee branding, in simple terms, means what an employee projects not only about himself but about the organisation’s culture to the outer world.”

The objectives of employee branding are manifold. For some, it means the expansion of employee empowerment. For others, it could be applied to improve employee loyalty. Yet, in contrast, employee branding is currently also being operationalized with the aim of improving the reputation of the company in the market.

Which one of these objectives has the upper hand is not the question you should ask yourself. It’s not a question of where and when. Therefore, in this article we will emphasise and focus on why and how you should turn your employees into brand ambassadors.

Why turn your employees into brand ambassadors?

With two billion social media users, worldwide, employee branding adopting social media practices constitutes both a risk and a growing opportunity for any kind of business.

While an increasing number of enterprises encourage and entice their customers to recommend their brand on social media, they seem to forget that employees themselves also represent an invaluable source of information for potential customers as well as possible job candidates.

In fact, some companies have already realised that social media platforms should be the preferred online environments for employees to represent the company’s brand image. Unfortunately, employees are often less engaged than is desired.

Reasons why employees might be less engaged than expected?

An in-depth investigation, analysing 354 respondents across various European multinational companies, has revealed that the average employee is 39 years old. This means big corporate companies don’t reach digital natives yet.

The research also explores the use of social media in the workplace. The boundary between the personal and professional sphere is perceived differently depending on cultural differences.

For example, German employers are more willing and open to mixing private and professional information, which ultimately makes social media use more efficient.

However, there are other primary factors explaining employee disengagement on social media, these are listed below:

  • The organisation’s lack of understanding of social media strategy
  • Ignorance regarding employees’ social media activity
  • Employee discomfort about social media use at work (maintenance of a rigid distinction between personal and private spheres)
  • Social media policy confusion (1/3 of the interviewed employees is unaware if a social media policy is established into their organisation)
  • The scarcity of employee incentives

How to encourage employees to brand on social media?

Some companies adopt the notion of “corporate branding” to give a unique external view of the organisation. Especially within the luxury domain where brand image drives corporate strategy, stakeholders are called to action with the aim of generating positive interactions on social media.

Despite the seemingly successful adoption of corporate branding measures, “employee branding” utilises a different approach. It allows employees to express themselves through an internalisation of the brand promise.

Employee branding allows the articulation of differing employee views regarding the organisation. These are articulated by a so-called constructive interaction method on social media invoked by employees who endorse the brand.

Employee branding is an effective strategy to spread the brand image in a natural way to potential employees as well as to existing or potential customers. There are four main facets to this:

  1. Remove psychological barriers:

Digital natives can remove the psychological barriers that seniors will adhere to regarding social media use at work. Young digital collaborators will also be more willing to build the collective digital culture of your company.

  1. Outline transparent boundaries of employees’ social media usage:

Allowing employees to use social media to enhance the brand’s image should not result in uncontrolled social media behaviour. Employees should feel partially responsible for the company’s success. This will invoke a willingness to post content related to your company.

Social media guidelines should be clear and well defined to moderate social media use.

  1. Foster brand engagement:

This facet can be subdivided into various categories, including employee identification with your brand, emotional, rational and psychological contracts as well as consideration of your brand community.

  1. Reward employee branding:

Recognise employee support, follow their online actions, show gratefulness and listen to their feedback. Avoid private life intrusion at all cost and respect the personal nature of every individual employee expression while implementing a material bonus-plan.

Thanks a bunch for reading. Tune in for more. That’s it from me, Camille Laine at World of Digits signing off.

The Take-Away:
    There are several quintessential concepts we have discussed and touched upon in this article. These can be summed up as follows:

  • Recognition: Employees want to be recognised. This means that you as their employer should explicitly value employee brand ambassadors on social media.
  • Encouragement: Younger employees can be asked to share their skills with more senior employees. This reinforces and invokes intergenerational collaboration.
  • Training: Employees should be made aware of the importance of your social media presence and incentivized for enhancing yours as an employer.

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