Due to the rise of the social media landscape, employee-driven advocacy programs, also known as ambassador programs have become one of the favoured ways to increase brand awareness and extend marketing reach. Employees are your secret employer branding upper hand that when well-played has the potential to boost your employer brand. Firstly, employees’ social posts can generate 8 times more engagement than through your brand funnel and your own company channels, and secondly, now more than ever, word of mouth and trust plays an important role in your overall brand reputation. People value recommendations from peers and family members over all sorts of advertisements so you need to start tapping into your most powerful brand advocates; your brand influencers – your people.
Employees are your company’s authentic voices and trusted allies who have their own connections that reach approximately 10x your own brand’s network. An ambassador program is a systematic approach for companies to harness the full potential of their employees’ voices on social media and offline, to reflect their genuine employee experience of your organizational culture, build a strong employer brand, and attract and retain top candidates.
People trust people
Nurturing your employee brand advocates can create brand awareness, drive sales, increase the quality of applicants, and increase employee retention. It is a unique opportunity to build loyalty and nurture your relationship with both employees and customers.
From the perspective of employees, advocacy initiatives can increase their personal and professional value in numerous ways, regardless of the industry. Firstly, it helps them increase their networks, and build a social media presence as well as a personal brand that spans outside the online world.
Secondly, it helps them increase their cross-organization and field-specific knowledge, and position themselves as experts in their field. This could result in being asked to speak at conferences, industry events, university gigs, etc. It also may result in creating friendships with coworkers and building a stronger sense of belonging to their organization.
The benefits are too good to turn a blind eye to employee advocacy programs. However, it is not as simple as telling your employees to become advocates and share content on their social media. It needs not only strategic planning, creating policies and guidelines, appointing a community manager, building a community, and also incentivizing. It also needs an internal grassroots drive and motivation that stems from the employees and leadership themselves.
It is all about finding the right channel and format for the right people. Some like having hands-on in culture and community building, and others might act as mentors for graduate students or speak at conferences. Some might prefer writing blogs or creating videos, while others might like the buzz that social media generate. All in all, regardless of the channels and formats, your employees need structure, encouragement, and time to become active advocates.
While your employees are your best allies when it comes to representing your employer brand, Finders Seekers is your ally in building the strategy to harvest and nurture your employees’ voices. We present you with an easy structure for how to build an internal ambassador program:
How to build an ambassador program step by step
Pre-assignment: Getting the right people involved. It is important that you get management, people operations, and marketing onboard. Getting the key stakeholders at an early stage will help you get the strategic planning rolling right on time and on budget.
Step 1: Define your WHY, WHAT, and HOW. A well-defined strategy saves time, energy, and money. Make sure your strategy is aligned with your mission, vision, values, and overall business goals. Define clear KPIs.
Step 2: Define policies and guidelines to clarify the tone, intentions, and language that is expected from your ambassadors.
Step 4: Create a buzz. In the beginning, it is important to engage frequently with your ambassadors. You need to create interest and keep the momentum going from within. The first 6 months are crucial.
Step 3: Appoint a community manager from inside your organization. The community manager is responsible for creating, executing, and managing the ambassador program activities so your company can maximize its visibility potential, it is the guiding light of your program.
Step 5: Launch a pilot campaign. The launch is what sets the gears in full motion. It needs to be well planned to directly engage your community and keep it invested from the start. For better success, the management should be advocating for the program.
Post-assignment: Engage your community and be consistent. Consistency is your key to success! By continuously bringing value to your community, they will simultaneously increase yours.
Bear in mind that without proper nurturing, your employee advocacy program can easily die out. To successfully achieve your goals, track your progress, assess your KPIs, adjust your strategy and create a continuation and sustainability plan with milestones to keep the engagement and the momentum going.
Seems straightforward, right?
At Finders Seekers, we have extensive experience in creating and implementing ambassador programs. Send a message to Karelle on LinkedIn or reach out to us and start playing your employer branding upper hand to win the talent game!
Your people are your best asset, make it count!