Today’s guest post comes from fellow Chicago transplant Patrick Rooney here to share with you guys about the importance of unleashing your employees as Brand Ambassadors. Make sure you check out his company QUEsocial who I’ve written about previously.
Let’s face it, employees are using social media in their every day work, whether it’s sanctioned by their company or not. Recruiters use it to find candidates, sales people use it to find prospects, marketing uses it increase awareness, and even product development uses it to crowd source ideas.
Marketing has long been using tools to manage it’s social media activities and campaigns, but beyond that companies continue to struggle to harness all of that great individual effort in a way that benefits the company. This is an important point because after marketing, recruiters are arguably the face of the company, and an extension of the brand itself. Increasingly, they shape how prospects view the company, and with the “war for talent” only getting hotter, the employer brand is emerging as a strategic imperative rather than a “nice to have.”
Companies like Marriot, Pepsi, Nokia and many others, both large and small, are increasingly realizing the great opportunity they have of tapping into individual employee’s social media activity and harnessing it to the benefit of the organization. There is a great recent white paper from LinkedIn on “Why Your Employment Brand Matters” and a very insightful presentation by TNS and LinkedIn provides some good stats on the value and urgency of employee brand ambassadors. After all, what company wouldn’t want its employees carrying the brand message to their social networks, and effectively extending the brand reach by an exponential factor?
What makes the employee ambassador proposition so appealing is that employee networks are engaged, and can be cultivated through individual interaction. This is a bit different than, and accretive to, social marketing in that employee networks are far more engaged on a daily basis over time than brand social properties. Meaning there is far more opportunity to insert the brand’s message into active and organic discussions between two humans on a higher frequency basis.
Our work with the Sodexo North American recruiting team highlights the impact employee brand ambassadors can have. In only two months after adopting the QUEsocial platform, their employee engagement doubled, content sharing increased nearly 200%, employees were trained on best practices, web traffic increased by healthy double-digit numbers, and they were able to track and measure business wins. All of this resulted from harnessing and focusing the social media activity each individual recruiter was already doing.
Activating employees as ambassadors seems like a natural for almost any company, large or small. The challenge becomes how to manage it, how to ensure all of that social media activity is aligned with the brand, and how to channel it into measurable benefits for the company.
Six Issues to Address for Employee Ambassador Programs:
- Alignment with corporate/employer brand. Ensuring the content being shared and the messages being communicated are aligned with the corporate brand, as well as with the employer brand.
- Consistency. Maintaining adoption and use, and keeping employees motivated to be active and effective brand ambassadors.
- Impact and Measurability. Converting social activity into measurable business outcomes.Time. Making it easy and efficient for employees to be effective ambassadors without distracting them from their every day responsibilities.
- Risk/Compliance. For companies that are in regulated industries (financial service, health care, etc.) or that have conservative cultures, ensuring employees maintain both corporate and regulatory policy.
- Best practices. Providing training to equip employees with the skills and knowledge necessary to be an effective ambassador, but also to convert their social activity into business wins.
Is every company ready to activate its employees as ambassadors? Probably not. But the genie is out of the bottle, and employees use social media in their jobs every day. There’s no going back, and it only benefits the company to harness all of the social media activity that’s already happening and turn it into a powerful and measurable business tool.
What is your experience with activating employee advocates? I’d love to hear from you!
Photo Credit: ProMerit
About the Author:
Patrick Rooney is CEO of QUEsocial, the game-changing internal platform that operationalizes social media across the organization to activate employees as brand ambassadors while converting their social activity into measurable business wins. He is a recognized thought leader and innovator in integrated marketing and social media. He frequently speaks on trends and business applications of social media, and has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, B2B Magazine, Chicago Tribune, and AdAge, among others.
Prior to creating QUEsocial, Patrick was co-founder and Executive Vice President of Zócalo Group, an award-winning word of mouth and social media marketing agency (part of Omnicom Group). In addition to leading innovation, insights and analytics, Patrick was the architect of the agency’s Fan engagement platform, as well as ZocaloNet, an industry-leading influencer CRM solution. Patrick holds a BA in Political Science and an MBA from San Jose State University and lives in Chicago with his beautiful wife and two incredible children. Connect with @QUEsocial on Twitter.