A brand’s reputation is everything – it drives customer acquisition and retention. It bolsters revenue and expands market share. And while establishing a positive digital reputation is hard, maintaining that reputation in today’s social media age can be even harder. A brand’s reputation can be tarnished by a single tweet, post, or review left by a disgruntled customer or an unfair critic. So what can your company do to protect itself from negative exposure online? By understanding the #1 way to keep your brand safe:
Implement an Employee Advocacy Program
Because your employees are your biggest advocates, they can be on the front lines to protect your brand. By giving your employees the power to make responsible decisions about how they represent your brand online, you’re entrusting them with a stake in your company’s success. Through encouragement and guidance, you can utilize your employees to foster relationships with customers in a way that’s more personal and genuine.
And while it’s one thing to say you’ll empower your employees, it’s another to actually find a way for your employees to advocate on your behalf. How can you utilize your employees to dispel negative sentiment, expand your company’s reach, and build positive brand perception? By implementing an employee advocacy program! Here are a few ways to implement an effective employee advocacy program:
IDENTIFY YOUR CHEERLEADERS. Building employee engagement starts with identifying your company’s most active employees. This might be the whole company, or it might just be a few dozen employees. But identifying the most passionate individuals and utilizing them to act as the voice of your company means you can create an authentic and unified digital front when interacting with customers on social.
Your biggest cheerleaders will be the brand advocates responsible for sharing company news, promotional offers, or customer wins with their social networks. They’ll be the ones that are genuinely excited to post and tweet about product releases and upcoming events. They’ll also be eager to respond to customers’ comments and questions, so that every social interaction is responded to quickly and appropriately. Your advocates will share on social because they will genuinely be excited to share.
CREATE A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY. Your employee advocacy program needs a thoughtful and detailed social media strategy to keep everything and everyone on track. This might include a task list of which employee will respond to comments on a specific social media channel. It might also include a schedule of content that will be created, published, and shared. And it should definitely include a social media policy that outlines a set of guidelines for how employees should behave online when representing their company.
Now, this doesn’t mean you’re discouraging your employees’ individuality or creativity on social. Rather, setting up conduct boundaries and expectations allows them the freedom to share with their social networks in a natural, honest way. They can communicate on behalf of your company while still maintaining their own relationships on social media. This is an awesome way to leverage your employees to set your company’s online reputation apart from all the robotic, “all-business” social interactions out there.
GAMIFY AND REWARD YOUR EMPLOYEES. Whether it’s through re-tweeting, posting comments on Facebook, or connecting with influencers on LinkedIn, your employees solidify your brand and help you connect with potential customers. They have the ability to reach untapped reserves of leads through their social networks. Doesn’t that sound like a legitimate reason to incentivize and reward your employees for sharing?
First, recognize your most active brand advocates. They’re easy to spot because they’re the ones who are eagerly sharing brand-related content on social. Once you’ve identified them, it’s time to let the games begin! Create a leaderboard for employees to spark healthy competition and drive further engagement. Offer awards for participation and prizes for your top-sharing employees. Rewarding your employees for a job well done not only motivates employees and shows how much you appreciate there efforts.
UTILIZE AN EMPLOYEE ADVOCACY PLATFORM. By leveraging your employees on social, you gain an advantage over competitors that have yet to recognize their employees as powerful brand advocates. Your employees are doing great at representing your company’s voice and following the tenets of your social media policy. But how do you make sure they’re finding and sharing the best content with their social networks?
By utilizing an employee advocacy platform like VoiceStorm, you can create a central hub where employees can curate and aggregate content, incentivize and gamify sharing, and analyze and measure your advocacy initiatives. The intrinsic beauty of an employee advocacy platform like VoiceStorm is that it makes life simpler and better. When you’re not stressed about things like micro-managing your employees’ social interaction or scouring the web for quality content to share, you can focus your efforts on leveraging and empowering your employees to expand your brand’s reach.
Implementing an employee advocacy program is the best way to protect your brand’s reputation. It allows you to control the way your brand is managed online and enables you to boost your brand’s reputation and trustworthiness factor. It also empowers your employees, making them more invested in your company’s success and boosting productivity and morale. It’s a win-win situation!