It’s no secret that word of mouth marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing you can come by. Satisfied customers sharing their positive experiences will always be viewed as the most genuine message consumers can receive. It’s for this reason almost exclusively that influencer marketing has taken the world by storm. But what about your team?
When your team is highly engaged, productive, and happy at work, they’re more likely to seek out products and services from your company, but they’re also more likely to tell those positive stories to their friends, family, and professional networks. By shifting your focus to recognize team members as your very own, built-in influencers, you can further grow your business by leveraging your team’s strongest suits.
Your employees are connected to ten times more people than your brand, and companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%. Can you afford not to be focused on engagement?
Perhaps you’ve noticed the new trend of companies referring to employees as “owners.” In 2016, nearly 10,000 companies in the United States of America had become substantially or wholly employee-owned. This switch has been credited with decreasing employee turnover, increasing company growth, and boosting satisfaction among employees.
While it’s not necessary to offer stock options to employees to reap the benefits of ownership mindset, it is up to leaders to create positive change and a culture of empowerment by recognizing, fostering, and nurturing internal brand ambassadors.
What is a brand ambassador?
A brand ambassador is someone who speaks highly of your business. Today, most people associate brand ambassadors with highly paid celebrities acting as the face of a brand. But, brand ambassadors have traditionally been individuals who are hired by companies to help entrench the brand into the community by leveraging already established networks and market the brand through word-of-mouth tactics.
Since we’re not looking to hire someone as a specific brand ambassador, it’s time to identify your potential brand ambassadors.
Who are your internal brand ambassadors?
To identify potential internal brand ambassadors, look for team members who:
- Ask questions aimed at discovering new ways they could be more effective or helpful
- Talk about the brand and may engage with internal branding experts or managers to ensure they’re on the right path
- Share their thoughts and ideas on how the company could improve
- Think about your company and/or their role even while they’re not at work
- Arrive at work each day inspired to do their work and share their thoughts
- Advocate for the organization online such as by sharing content related to your brand initiatives on their personal social networks
Now that you know who to look for, it’s important to understand how to encourage these qualities in your team on a large scale. As you identify the employees already demonstrating their enthusiasm, curiosity, and engagement, it’s important to support them to help them flourish.
Start with proper on-boarding
From the moment you make a new hire, all efforts should be made to welcome your new team member and engage with them – from the time the offer letter is sent to the time s/he walks through the door on their first day.
- Make a good first impression
- Make an excited introduction to the team
- Create a buddy system so new hires have support through the early days
- Get feedback
- Ask about their professional goals
Keep your team in the loop
Your employees can only be as engaged as you let them. For this reason, keeping your team close to the action and ensure they’re informed about the business, how it’s doing, and the ways their work ladders up to the strategic priorities and goals of the organization. One of the simplest ways to do this is to clearly communicate your vision.
How employees can be your best marketing
A study on employee activism revealed that, on average, 50% of employees share photos and videos on social media about their work, and a third of them do this with no encouragement from their employer. If your employees are already singing your company’s praises, how can you leverage their networks without being heavy-handed?
The answer is pretty simple: Provide them with the tools and resources that make it easier to promote your brand. Create a Brand Bible, if you will, that clearly explains the vision, mission, and history of your organization. Give your team training on the company’s “elevator pitch”. Make brand promotion part of your corporate culture.
Engaged employees are more likely to refer talent to your organization when openings arise, meaning Human Resources gains access to better talent pools with fewer resources spent. Simply leveraging an employee referral program can help you attract – and retain – the best possible talent!
At the end of the day, the effort to support your team will always be worth it
Fifty years ago, the expectation of working at one company until retirement wasn’t unrealistic but in today’s world, the likelihood of spending one’s career with a single company is low. But that doesn’t mean companies should sit back and watch as people come and go.
By engaging your employees and creating opportunities for them to flourish through Brand Ambassador programs, you can extend the longevity of your employee’s careers within your company along with the enjoyment they get from working with you. Although happy customers will always be your greatest brand ambassadors, happy employees will rapidly close that gap.