How to turn your employees into brand ambassadors

May 17, 2018 - Warren Fowler

When looking for the most effective brand ambassadors, customers usually take top spot. There are few people that have such an impact on the success of a brand as the customers who comment on the quality. However, employees aren’t far behind on the ambassador rank list.

People will always listen to customers and their opinion of a brand, whether that be through reviews, forums or testimonials. When they listen to the employees, it’s like getting the inside scoop or a backstage pass into the inner workings of a brand.

For the average person, going to work is the most time-consuming activity of their week and they are bound to speak about their job. A new study found that over 50% of employees share videos and pictures about their jobs when encouraged to. The question any employer needs to ask is how to turn the free publicity into something that can benefit the company.

You want to avoid putting pressure on your employees to speak out about your company. Instead, you want to provide them with the tools to organically build your brand. You want your employees to take ownership of the brand and be proud to be associated with it.

Here are a few ways to ensure your employees become your biggest promoters.

Make your company vision crystal clear

Any successful business will tell you that a strong vision is essential. The vision tells employees how your values relate to your long-term goals. Your vision provides employees with the bigger picture of what you want to achieve. More than that, it gives them a roadmap of how you aim to achieve your long-term goals. If this vision is communicated clearly, your employees will be more invested and motivated to talk about it.

Take George Atkins of EduGeeksClub for example, he stated, “I’m super excited about the contribution I can make at EduGeeks. I know how hard it can be to write a dissertation and knowing that I can help someone else reach their goals is more than enough motivation for me to deliver quality papers.”

George is able to promote his company because he knows the heart of the company. He doesn’t have any doubt as to what the company wants to achieve and knowing that his work is valued and that it adds value to someone else’s life makes it that much easier to be excited about his contributions.

Company vision not aligned

From 'Performance Management: Putting Research into Action (2009) “Why Strategies and Behavior Disconnect: Percentage of Rater Agreement.”' The percentages represent the cumulative agreement of raters for each element and for the ones above that element. Learn more.

Get to know your employees

Knowing your target market does not define the success of your company, knowing your employees is just as important. Everyone wants to belong and feel wanted. Spending time with your employees and finding out what makes them tick will go a long way in securing their commitment to the team.

If you spend time with your employees and find out what excites them about their work, what their goals are and what they dislike, you will have a much better idea of how to motivate them. There are many ways in which to engage your employees, but to reach more people in less time, using an in-house social virtual platform will go a long way in getting connected with them.

Hosting regular team building or social events will also encourage your employees to speak about the company. I mean, who wouldn’t want to gloat about how awesome their boss is?

Transparency can be a great policy

No one likes to be left in the dark. You can ask any employee who has been kept out of the loop how unimportant they felt and also how thrown they were when a big revelation or reveal was made public. In short, it sucks.

When you promote transparency in your company, everyone knows exactly where they stand. Everyone has an opportunity to give valuable input. This builds trust and loyalty within a company and enables all potential brand ambassadors to tell the same story.

When you adopt a policy of transparency, there is very little room for speculation. Everyone is on the same page and any one of your employees, regardless of the level of work that they do, would be able to communicate where the company is going.

It might be a big leap in terms of tradition, but no one says you have to go at it all guns blazing. You can start with baby steps and share surface level information and gradually build up to sharing more sensitive information. Before you know it, you will have won over the trust of even the most sceptical employee.

Examples of externally transparent companies:

  • Buffer - open salaries
  • Whole Foods - GMO transparency
  • Zappos - tours and vendor access
  • Patagonia - supply chain transparency
  • SumAll - salary transparency
  • Moz - finance transparency
Moz expenses sheet

Example of transparency - Moz expenses made available through a blog post on their website.

Train your staff to use social tools

Well not entirely back. In this day and age, one would think that all employees are social-media savvy. The truth, however, is that most of your employees need guidance on how to navigate and market in the digital arena. Training your employees in digital marketing will go a long way in increasing your online presence.

Holding frequent or monthly social media workshops will encourage your employees and give them the confidence to engage the online community, especially where your customers like to spend their time. One of the simplest ways in which you can empower your employees is by training them to use Twitter effectively.

By teaching them to Tweet about little snippets of their day-to-day work will ease them into the social media world and if they are really good, they will be able to rack up a good following in very little time.

Use your own product

If you want to make people aware of your product, then there is no better way than for your own employees to use it. Nothings sells confidence in a product like employees that feel comfortable with using it.

Companies like VirtualSpeech have the ideal product to have their employees test out, create content and showcase it with confidence. Now, who needs to go to an expensive university when you can take virtual courses and expand your business skills. Virtual short courses enable you to immerse yourself in authentic situations and approach the real situation with confidence.

When creating content, your employees will know the product inside-out. They will have the extra incentive of putting their own handy work out there with pride.

Thank your employees for their work

People are often driven by praise. Since you were a baby, you were groomed to thrive on praise. You were even cheered on when you took your first step and uttered your first word. As an adult, nothing has changed, but the appreciation you feel when someone praises your work has a much more lasting effect.

You don’t have to be Oprah and give everyone a car. A simple thank you, or a personal note of appreciation is more than enough to show your employees that their work does not go unnoticed. This will have the effect of creating more dedicated employees who are more likely to become your brand ambassadors.

Here are some examples of thanking employees:

  • Send a hand written note (high impact)
  • Take them or the team out for dinner
  • Buying lunch for the team
  • Publicly thanking someone at a team meeting

Without a doubt, they will come to your defence in an argument and might even spontaneously speak about how their employer sees and acknowledges their worth. How the vision of the company isn’t just lip service, but lived out in the actions of senior management.

Your employees want to know that they are not just another cog in the machine, but that they play an important role in the growth and success of the company as a whole. No major company would be successful without the toil of the guys that work on the ground level. Sharing the numbers and pointing out individuals who made the numbers possible is probably one of the simplest ways in which you can rally your troops.

Make it special

When people look at Google’s offices, they yearn for an workplace environment as relaxed and productive. Let’s face it though. Not everyone has the luxury of having billions at their disposal.

Instead, do something simple that will make your employees speak about their place of work.

In the end, you want to encourage productivity, and the best way to do that is to create a relaxing environment. If you have the funds, splurge a bit on the furniture, but if that isn’t an option, go for something sustainable like unlimited free books on a Kindle like the folks at Buffer.

Short bio:

Warren’s lifestyle is full of hiking adventures. When he’s not busy with his guitar or enjoying the sunny day outside, he excels at blogging skills and leaps through social media. You can meet him on Twitter and Facebook.