As the Marketing Therapist and CEO of a web marketing firm, I am often asked by other business leaders, “How do I get my employees to act as brand ambassadors on behalf of my/our company?”
The answer? If you want employees to act as brand ambassadors on behalf of your company, prepare to invest in experienced, professional support to educate and guide them. While social media policies are essential to have in place, policies alone will not get employees on board to take action.
Our Web Marketing Therapy team has helped companies educate and empower employees to become confident, capable, and powerful brand ambassadors for decades. While every strategy differs, one thing is the same – having a clear vision then breaking things down into actionable steps and providing clarity, vision, expectations, accountability, and support so you have sustainable processes and systems.
Here are tips for business leaders who want their employees to act as brand ambassadors.
SET A GOOD EXAMPLE
When it comes to social media, be an example for your employees. Success starts with you. If you – or a trusted colleague – is posting on your company’s social media accounts, make sure the content is:
- Positive, informative, timely, relevant; but never derogatory of another person or another company.
- Something that you would be proud to share with your mom, your mentor, or your child (i.e., it’s not something that would embarrass you).
- Consistent. Fun fact, more leaders hire help to manage their personal brands. While you might have a private Facebook and low Instagram profile, even having someone help you with LinkedIn can ensure you are posting regularly.
HAVE A SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY IN PLACE
When onboarding employees, having a social media policy sets the tone from day one. You need to manage expectations. A social media policy is a code of conduct that an employee agrees to as long as they are employed by your company. Components of a social media policy include:
- The purpose of the policy – which is to protect the company’s brand and legal interests.
- Who the policy applies to – for instance, in my company, the policy applies to everyone from me to full and part-time employees to any freelancers we may hire.
- How they represent themselves in their personal social media accounts. While you cannot control everything, you can remind them that their actions on social media – even in their personal time – can impact the reputation of the company.
- How they represent the company.
- An outline of security, legal, and privacy guidelines about social media including details about how to stay out of trouble online, such as not sharing proprietary or confidential company information, posting photos with illegal conduct, etc.,
A social media policy is necessary, but it’s not the end-all. And do make sure legal reviews it. If you want your employees to be brand ambassadors, make sure you read the next steps.
PROVIDE A CLEAR VISION AND SUPPORT
You cannot expect employees to go it alone when it comes to posting about your company on social media. Maybe you have an internal marketing team that can help employees with their social media posts. Realistically, most internal marketing teams don’t have the extra time and tools for the intensity of this support. If this is the case, outsource a marketing firm to help you create social media policies and provide education and support to your employees, so that you can focus on what you do best – leading your company.
If there are specific social media platforms that you would like all your employees to be on, request that the marketing firm help you with this. For example, we have helped other companies’ employees set up and/or optimize LinkedIn accounts for all their employees. We provide a LinkedIn optimization template that can be used as a guide for current and future employees. Having employees on LinkedIn with professional-looking accounts can be a reflection of the quality of the individuals that are employed by the company. LinkedIn is also an ideal place for employees to promote the company (wink-wink).
DON’T JUST FILL THE AIR
Remind your employees that being a brand ambassador is not just about posting any content that comes to mind, especially when it’s on behalf of a company. It’s a matter of style and substance. A solid social media post will voice value, and values. This is where a social media marketing firm can make a big difference. If needed, request that the firm create idiot-proof content that employees can copy and paste to their LinkedIn and/or other social media accounts. You may even request that they create a posting schedule for employees to follow. For the legal marketing work we do, we’ve set up technology solutions that make posting and approving content as simple as our team writing them, putting them into the technology platform, then emailing the attorney or legal team where they can click yes, then it automatically posts at the time we specify. Yes, these kinds of tech solutions exist!
Investing in your employees as brand ambassadors is a long-term asset, for even after some of your employees move on to other companies, their curated social media content promoting your company will live on indefinitely.
For more valuable tips from company leaders about how to help brands turn employees into company advocates, read this Forbes article.