A good idea?
On the face of it, getting employees to work as brand advocates on social media seems like a brilliant idea. You run a great company, of course, and all your staff are 100% behind your product and they are just queuing up to let their friends, family and Twitter followers know what a great business you have.
Employees as Brand Advocates on Social Media
More of us than ever connect on social media and it’s generally thought of as one of the most powerful marketing tools out there. Choose the right employee to promote your product or service and you have ready access to a whole new audience. They can post updates about your business and convince their friends to tell their friends how great you are.
But what happens if they post something you didn’t want the public to see? Or you get on the wrong side of your employee and they write a derogatory remark about your business on their Facebook page?
The biggest thing to consider when using employees as brand advocates is about how much control there is and whether you as an employer have the right to moderate what an employee posts.
In the end, it’s not just about selecting certain employees and letting them have free reign with your business. As with any marketing initiative you need to have a strategy in place and you need to have some way of assessing its impact. You have to supply the right tools, you have to be flexible in your approach and you need to provide the level of inspiration your employee needs to be confident in extoling the virtues of your business.
Get that right and you may well have an important marketing tool.
The truth is, in our normal lives, work is already one of the biggest talking points of the day. We go home, tell our nearest and dearest about what has happened at the office. We can be enthused and positive or we can be stressed out and negative. The same thing happens on social media but, more often to a much wider audience.
One of the major pitfalls that companies often encounter is when they use a blanket approach and ask all employees to act as brand advocates. It’s much better to pick and choose the staff that you feel are more suited to the task than hoping that everyone will ‘join in the fun’. Another problem is sustainability – will employees keep marketing your company or will they tail off after a brief period of enthusiasm.
The companies that have succeeded using employees as advocates have been the ones that do not have a restrictive strategy and have, in essence, crowdsourced their policy directly from their staff. They encourage them to post photos and mention events such as office parties, opting for more dos than don’ts in their corporate social media policy.
They understand that it is all about engaging staff but that the success of advocacy depends on a number of different factors. The primary one of these is trust and only organisations that have the backing of their employees should be attempting to utilize their potential as advocates. The other major contributing factor to employee advocacy success is providing the right feedback and support they need to do it properly.
There are a number of pros and cons for businesses in choosing employees as brand advocates and the initiative needs to be thought through carefully. If done correctly, however, it can boost your business visibility online and help improve sales as well as staff engagement in the running of your company.