Word of mouth is by far one of the best forms of advertising. People trust other people, more than their own gut instinct, in some cases. This is why on-site customer reviews, as well as reviews on sites like Yelp, are crucial to a growing business. If you’re looking for your brand to enter more casual conversations, then you’ve come to the right place. You’re primed to convert mere employees into brand ambassadors.
Brand ambassadors are a popular term in today’s marketing world. Essentially, these are individuals that represent a brand and can help persuade others to like your brand too. If you’re a food company, this can look like ambassadors handing out samples at a local grocery store. If your brand is at a conference, this can look like ambassadors representing your booth.
You may be thinking that you don’t have the extra money to hire additional people.
Fortunately, your existing employees are the perfect candidates to be brand ambassadors! They already know so much about the company and understand the company’s goals. They likely also know about the product line and can help sell. Keep reading for three ways your employees can become brand ambassadors.
1. Make inclusion a priority.
First and foremost, you want your employees to feel welcome and love where they work. You want them to show up each day knowing they are part of an inclusive team. You want them to feel like they are working toward a common goal. To facilitate inclusion, you want to ensure all employees are treated equally despite any differences.
For new employees, it can be a great welcoming gesture to give them branded swag. This can be as simple as giving them a well-made custom t shirt. Not only does it make them feel welcomed, but it also further supports your brand ambassador efforts. There is nothing better than a “walking billboard” for advertising. And your employees are the ones who will be most proud to wear the company’s logo.
2. Engage with your employees.
As a leader or manager, it can be easy to utilize a top-down approach. You and the executive leadership team make all the decisions. You then pass along this information to your employees for them to execute.
While it may be an efficient strategy, it’s not necessarily the best one. Hearing from your employees and listening to their ideas and feedback is vital for a thriving business.
Engaging with your employees is also a great way to get them invested in your company. The more an employee feels like their opinions are heard and validated, the more likely they will continue to feel supported. They will talk about company culture to their friends, spreading the word about it. This in turn will have them become brand ambassadors for your company.
3. Create a referral program.
Your employees know the best people in the industry. From past educational and workplace experiences, they know which of their friends or co-workers would make stellar employees.
Creating a referral program is an easy way to bring in great talent while also having your employees act as brand ambassadors. Not to mention, your human resources recruiting team will be happy to know which candidates are worth their time pursuing.
To create a referral program, you’ll want to work out how current employees can get credit for referrals they make. This may look like getting a mini bonus if one of their referrals is hired. It may also look like getting a week of paid vacation or extra time off added to their cue. There are plenty of software tools that can help set up the process, so it’s easy for both employees and your recruiters.
4. Encourage sharing on social.
Lastly, the key to getting your employees to be brand ambassadors is to make it easy for them. The harder it is for them to shout from the rooftops about the company, the less likely they will do it.
If you have a very strict posting policy or discourage employees from mentioning your company, you should reconsider that choice.
In today’s digital world, this looks like encouraging social sharing about your brand. After all, social media is how everyone hears about new brands and begins to form associations with them. It’s the place where personal and professional collide, especially on platforms such as LinkedIn.
In order for your employees to share, they need to feel personally connected to the content. You will want to have regular content made available, specifically about your brand. This can include posts about major milestones and achievements, team collaboration moments, and other news. Let your employees know when this new content is live, and encourage them to post to their social channels.
Your employees can make the very best brand ambassadors. The trick is facilitating a workplace environment that encourages and rewards ambassador-like behaviors.
But at the same time, remember not everyone will be the most ecstatic cheerleader for your business, and that’s alright. You will likely have talented employees that don’t feel personally tied to the business for one reason or another. They could also just be introverts or less interested in social media use.
Don’t let that fact detract from your business propelling ahead with other eager, enthusiastic employees by your side.