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  • Leslie Horna

How to Find Brand Ambassadors

Empower employees to help generate awareness and engagement for your company

Whether you're a startup, government agency, or enterprise-level company, you want to find cost-effective ways to expand your company's presence and reach. Why not look inside your organization? Your employees have a strong understanding of the brand's identity, capabilities, and culture, making them a great resource to share that information with potential customers. Employees are becoming a more important stakeholder to companies as a means to build trust with consumers, job seekers, and customers.

There are a variety of ways to engage employees in ways that are meaningful and authentic to them and support the company's goals. Here we break down a few ways to engage employees to serve as brand ambassadors:

• Community: There may be projects or issues that require collaboration and you may decide to create a committee to provide advice or planning assistance. Each committee is comprised of employees from various departments, different levels within the organization, and skillsets. This builds community within your organization as people work together to achieve a common goal, getting to know one another better in the process.

• Social Media: Invite employees to a lunch and learn about how to build their personal brand while also learning social media best practices and trends. When you show examples of how the company’s social media applies these winning tactics, it can serve as an education to employees who may not be familiar with your social channels. In the training, you can also ask employees for their help with sharing company content. The more informed and involved employees are in what’s going on at work, productivity, happiness and job satisfaction can increase.

To encourage employees, start by thanking those who comment, share or like content on company social media channels. Companies can also send congratulatory messages to employees on their hire anniversaries and birthdays. Once you initiate conversation, it will be easier to ask employees to share content within their spheres of influence.

When employees share, post, like, and comment on company content, it broadens your reach and increases engagement. Not only will the brand benefit, but employees are often more satisfied with their work the more engaged and productive they are at work.

• Storytelling: Invite employees to guest post on the company blog, spotlight interviews with employees from various company departments and roles, and encourage employees to submit news tips via a submission form on the company Intranet. Sharing stories about customer successes, what it's like to work there, and insider tips on company expertise/products provides an authentic look at your organization.

• Perks: What’s work without the perks? If you want to entice employees to serve as brand ambassadors, incentivize positive behavior. This could mean expanding employee benefits such as professional development opportunities,

career support counseling, and mentorship, increased compensation, gym memberships, working remotely, complimentary lunches, and beyond. Maybe budgets are tight and you’re not able to make a financial investment to reward employees. Recognize and praise employee contributions by thanking and honoring efforts in an email message, on the company intranet, a certificate of participation, or other creative expressions of gratitude.

• Feedback: Good ideas come from everywhere. Employees may have an idea, a unique solution, or a departmental challenge they’d like to share. Frequently poll and survey employees to collect insight that can help you improve the customer or employee experience. By engaging employees in the strategic thinking and creative development involved with solving real company problems, employees take pride in being a part of the solution.

Culture: Every new company marketing and communications campaign or promotion should be rolled out internally before it goes out to the public. This rewards employees with “insider info,” while also ensuring everyone in the company has and knows the information in order to respond to inquiries from its target audience. Use these occasions as celebrations. Empower and reward employees who positively contribute to sharing and promoting company content. The more fun, interactive, and gratifying you make it, the more frequently employees are likely to take part. When employees choose to share work-related content on their personal social media channels - versus being required by a company policy - it's more authentic. Consumers and employees are drawn to authentic brands!

• Schwag: People love free things! Putting the company logo on plaque is not quite the same as having an employee design artwork for a company t-shirt and then producing those shirts, one for each employee. Consider what items would be useful and treasured by your employees so that the item doesn't end up in the trash or the gesture be misinterpreted (think: I went to XXX and all I got you was this lousy t-shirt). Be sure the message and artwork for the giveaways have the audience in mind so that employees will understand and embrace it. Company schwag is great for employees who are out in the community a lot, such as sales or service visits, events, community meetings, trade shows, conferences, and presentations. The more people that see your logo and message helps expand your reach.

Convert your employees into brand ambassadors with a few simple changes to company programs, policies, trainings, and recognition processes. From creating community and culture, to social media, schwag and perks, there are many other ways to empower employees to be brand advocates. Formalizing the opportunity will help you identify and elevate some of your biggest fans. For help revamping your internal communications, community outreach, and marketing, schedule a complimentary consultation today with C. Change Consulting.

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