Red umbrella in a field

Are the best social influencers right under your nose?

Anna Halliday tackles the tricky topic of brand ambassadors in the digital space — and discovers that the best candidates may be in your very own office.

In a world of social influencers and brand ‘advocates’, what is the best resource for selling your company or brand? Pretty simple really – it’s your people.

But how do you make your office a ‘social’ workplace and still manage to produce any work? Here are some guidelines to help make in-house staff advocacy achievable.

Cultivate Brand Advocates

Your staff members are your tribe, your army, your crew. They know what makes working for you so great and can be a trusted and authentic voice to help sell your message. Added bonus? By encouraging staff to share their experiences, you’re demonstrating that their opinions are valued.

What can you do?

  • Recognise the trailblazers. Shout outs, reposts and general applause for awesome contributors can go a long way towards staff satisfaction.
  • Introduce staff incentives as reward for this staff participation. Everyone loves a bit of an ego stroke.
  • Listen to your staff. The good, the bad and the funny. It can make you a better coworker, boss and company in general.

The trust factor

If you have a happy workplace, surely your staff will post happy social posts about it, right? While this is true in theory, there’s always the risk of a staff member unintentionally damaging the company brand by posting a client’s work, ideas or something unprofessional from your own office.

Trust needs to be built in any relationship and that is no different between company and staff.

What can you do?

  • Be clear with staff about what work is confidential and what you’re happy to share publically. You don’t want any staff spoiling any surprises for new clients before you’re ready to publically announce something.
  • Make staff aware that they may be monitored on public accounts and that they will be held accountable for any inappropriate posts. Not in a creepy uncle commenting on all your Facebook posts kind of way though…

Get your paperwork in order

It is completely reasonable to ask staff to sign a social media policy and setting crystal clear guidelines for all parties. It will help both your company, as well as the individual, from any awkward situations.

This doesn’t mean you have to be a too serious about it all. There are a number of companies that actually empower their staff to share their experiences on social media. Just be sure that everyone understands where the line is drawn and what the ramifications will be for stepping over it.

What can you do?

  • Create a written social media policy so the rules are in black and white. Explain that this is not a way of ‘controlling’ what they say; it is simply a code of conduct similar to what applies inside the office… just in the digital space. (Here are a few examples of companies doing social media policies right).
  • Create guidelines for when staff want to post opinionated content in public. They should state that the opinion is their own and does not reflect the company in any way.
  • Be fun and empower your staff. The last thing you want is for them to feel too scared to post ANYTHING about your company.
  • Make it clear what is inappropriate or as well as the ramifications for breaking the social policy.

So does a social workplace really work? It does if you work with your staff to shape it. These staff members work for you because they love your company and enjoy what they do each day – and that’s the most influential and authentic promotion your brand could ask for.

So invest some trust, authority and a touch of encouragement in your staff to help boost the greatness of your company image. You are an impeccable judge of character after all.

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Anna Halliday tackles the tricky topic of brand ambassadors in the digital space — and discovers that the best candidates may be in your very own office.

Anna Halliday
Digital Campaign Team Lead