Who knows your organization better than the people who work inside it each and every day? Employees have the unique position of being internal stakeholders, knowing the ins and outs of the organization. Their perspective brings an authenticity and value to marketing that can’t otherwise be replicated. With that said, it is important that employees believe in marketing the organization and the messages that are being shared. Here are some tips for engaging employees as marketers and brand ambassadors.
Put parameters in place
Engaging employees as brand ambassadors can bring an unrivaled authenticity to an organization’s marketing. That said, with more people engaged in telling a story, it is critical to have parameters in place for maintaining brand consistency. When putting parameters in place, take a careful look at knowledge gaps, common misconceptions and other barriers to maintaining brand consistency, and take steps to proactively address these challenges.
Sample parameters to keep in mind? Policies for engaging with clients on social media, guidelines for profile imagery and any associated disclaimer language required.
Engage employees in creating the process and the content
What activities does your company or cause already have in place that can serve as content generation opportunities? Do your employees volunteer in the community, mentor young professionals or collaborate in team brainstorming sessions on a regular basis? Can they offer a behind-the-scenes look at research and development, product testing, program development, etc.? When you empower employees to become content generators, they feel a deeper level of investment in the process and can become key drivers for achieving marketing success.
Seed the program’s success
One person can truly make a difference. When launching an employee engagement or employee ambassador initiative, take the time to identify a small group of stakeholders who can help get the program off of the ground. It is far less intimidating to join a conversation that has already been started than to be the one starting the conversation. These employees can also provide positive peer influence in helping to engage more employees as ambassadors moving forward.
Capture employees’ voices
Over the years, we’ve seen organizations cultivate groups of employee ambassadors to tell their stories as part of milestone anniversary celebrations, monthly employee spotlights run in internal newsletters and weekly employee Q&As populate social media. While one approach isn’t necessarily better than the other, the common thread among these approaches is what makes them excel – making it personal. People relate to other people and this authentic content is a great way to showcase commitment, dedication, longevity and innovation without bragging.
Make it easy
How can you deliver content to employees in a share-ready format? Whether you post content on your intranet or deploy email updates with pre-formatted content on a consistent basis, it is important to make sharing easy. A short electronic survey can help to assess what types of content employees are willing to share and through which channels. This information helps to ensure you are delivering the right information to the right audiences and putting resources behind generating and sharing content that is most likely to have the broadest reach.
Engaging employees as ambassadors can help expose a company’s or cause’s content to new stakeholders. It can also bring authentic first-hand perspectives and voices into the marketing mix that make content both more relatable and engaging. As you set out to engage your employees in marketing your organization, put parameters in place to ensure brand consistency, cultivate a small group of stakeholders to help drive forward the success of the initiative and keep a watchful eye on opportunities to capture authentic content “in action” to help outside audiences relate to your organization.