The best social media campaigns look natural and organic because they are natural and organic. While they may have been developed by a team of sales and marketing strategists, they’re carried out by the humble employees who truly love their brand. It’s these employees who act as representatives for the brand on social and serve as the unofficial public voice and online presence for their company.
But in order to harness these brand advocates to drive successful social media campaigns, you have to first create an effective employee ambassador program. The purpose of an employee ambassador program is to tap into the power of engaged employees to foster relationships with customers and boost brand awareness online. Here are the 3 keys to building an effective employee ambassador program:
1. Find the Right Ambassadors
There’s no point in forcing people to participate in an employee ambassador program. You want to find and select those who are already engaged and passionate about their organization. It also isn’t wise to appoint ambassadors if they aren’t really social media savvy or don’t have the desire to tout their love of the brand on social networks. But there are the select few who genuinely love the company and aren’t shy about sharing that love on social.
You don’t need every employee to be an ambassador, you simply need to identify your most engaged employees, the ones who have real passion and enthusiasm for the company. Once you’ve identified this special group of active employees, leverage their social media know-how and brand love to boost awareness and reach for the company.
2. Offer Training and Education
Bringing on the right volunteers is just the first step. You’ve identified them, but you can’t just set them loose in the social media world and expect them to intrinsically know what to do or how to do it. You need to offer training and education to get all of your employees on the same social page.
You can offer classes or meetings to discuss what’s appropriate to share on social, how best to share it, and what not to share. Also, implementing a social media policy will ensure that your employee ambassadors will know the best practices set in place by management. Employee conduct and expectations should also be outlined in this policy to prevent any embarrassing social mishaps or blunders.
3. Provide the Right Tools
You must give your employee ambassadors the right tools if you want them to succeed in both representing your company effectively and nurturing relationships with customers. The very best tool you can put in place is an Employee Advocacy Platform, which gives your ambassadors a central hub from which to create, share, and manage all social messages and campaigns.
With an Employee Advocacy Platform, your ambassadors can drive authentic engagement with your company on social by creating or sharing branded content with their trusted networks of friends and family. You can also gamify and reward your most active participants, which will increase the frequency and quality of content created and shared by your advocates on social. Having a consolidated platform will ensure that your employee ambassadors can easily promote brand-safe content. Ideally, you want your employees to be able to readily access this content, so finding a platform with strong mobile capabilities is key. You want to make advocacy as simple and convenient as possible, so employees don’t view it as yet another task to complete.
So once you’ve got an effective employee ambassador program in place, how do you drive successful social media campaigns that are natural and organic? Well, since your employee ambassadors are representing your brand on social, they’re responsible for sharing news, updates, and other brand-related content. Armed with the right training and tools, your ambassadors will interact quite naturally on social by:
Unifying their messaging. No matter what the content is or where it’s being shared, it needs to align with the brand’s central identity. Since employee ambassadors represent the brand online and echo the voice and tone of the company, they’re also responsible for maintaining consistency in the messaging across social networks. This consistency is especially effective for building brand presence and creating a memorable personality online.
When ambassadors have been educated and given the proper training, it should be a breeze for them to maintain consistency in their social sharing. They’ll be so used to acting as the voice of the company, it will become second nature to naturally echo the brand’s personality, values, and messaging.
Adapting. While maintaining a consistent voice is essential, “total consistency is an unachievable ideal,” according to Jose Martinez Salmeron of Smashing Magazine. A brand that is too stringent in how it presents itself could actually harm its reputation and how it’s received by the public. The best brands give themselves permission to be surprising, have fun, and will adapt to the changing needs of their customers.
Brands aren’t static – in fact, they’re always changing and evolving with the times. Just look at Apple and how they’ve evolved their logo and messaging. Brands today can’t stay stuck in the 1980s if they expect to sell to the 21st century customer. Give your employees access to brand-safe content and then trust them to add their input, and still stay within the guidelines of the social media policy.
Being fun and engaging. The best social media campaigns are also fun and prompt interaction with fans and followers. A good example is the Daily Twist campaign Oreo had last year where the company shared a new image every day that combined picture of an Oreo with a current event. Oreo saw its fan engagement grow 110% during this campaign – see how successful a social media campaign can be when a company shares fun and engaging content?
Taking advantage of social selling opportunities. Finally, a good social media campaign not only fosters relationships with current customers, it also builds opportunities with potential customers. By engaging people with interesting and fun content, a brand can bill itself as approachable and attractive – a company that people want to do business with.
Allowing employee ambassadors to do some of the selling for you is not just a smart marketing/sales tool, it’s also a great humanizing tactic for your brand. Leveraging your employees to put a personal touch on your brand on social enables customers to feel comfortable interacting and engaging with your company.
By putting the keys to an effective employee ambassador program in place, your company can drive successful social media campaigns. And the best social media campaigns are natural, promote the company, and build relationships with current and future customers. At the end of the day, isn’t that what all companies want from social media?