Social Seeder recently organized a webinar entitled “Every employee is a recruiter and marketer”. How can an employee play these two additional roles effortlessly, without being burdened with additional tasks? Most importantly why should you, as a brand, care to make this happen?
The office of the past VS today’s office
Let us take a step back in the — not so distant — past, when the 9 to 5 job was the beginning and the end of one’s professional life. Resembling industrial-age factories, the office space of the past was designed for maximum productivity and minimum communication and interaction among employees. There was also no interaction between the professional and the private spheres of a person’s life. Once the shift was over, employees would go home and they would come back to the office the next morning. However, this is no longer the case.
Today’s office resembles a living room, some of the office spaces might even be even more comfortable and beautifully decorated than a living room, encouraging collaboration and communication. In addition, already before the arrival of the Coronavirus but especially since the beginning of 2020, more and more people are working remotely. As a result, work is not only restricted to the workplace anymore. It can be present at home, as employees take work with them via their electronic devices, such as their laptops or smartphones.
Given that professional and personal life are now intertwined, your work had better be something that you really believe in.
Companies need to stand out more than ever
Work is no longer only associated with income only. A company’s values, culture, and contribution to society are becoming increasingly important for employees — especially for the younger workforce. This is very relevant in the war for talent. Companies need to stand out from their competition, not only for their consumers but also as potential employers. If, as an employer, you don’t attract the right talent or if you don’t retain the existing talent, you are going to face difficult challenges ahead. For this reason, companies need to brand themselves as an employer more than ever. How to achieve that?
Aligning internal with external communication
Until now, there was a stand-alone internal communication department, whose messages were produced and received only within the four walls of a company. On the other hand, the external (or marketing communication) department was responsible for crafting messages to attract the brand’s external audience: customers and prospects, fans and followers, other stakeholders. These external messages would cultivate an image for the organization, which was not necessarily the same as the one reflected in its internal communications. As a result, employees could observe differences between the image that a company would project to the public and the image of the company that they, as employees, would experience firsthand. Similar to the office space, however, the flow of communication has also changed.
Authenticity creates relevance
Data from more than 200 companies working with Social Seeder indicates that nowadays internal and external communications are getting more and more aligned with the company values. Organizations realized that with social media if a company is pretending to be something that they are not, this will be sooner or later exposed. On top of that, what a brand communicates needs to be relevant to its audience.
The more authentic your brand communication style is, the more you will connect with your audience.
Corporate posts about COVID-19 in April 2020 had an engagement uplift of 84%, compared to average engagement for company posts. This is because they communicated about a subject that everyone was — and to this day still is — facing, and therefore was relevant. Obviously, brands need to talk about their core business and products, but they have to do so in an authentic way that audiences can relate to. Since 92% trust recommendations from family and friends, it is important for companies to remember that the most trustworthy recommendations are those given by their own employees to their own networks. People buy from people, not from companies. This is the reason why being authentic and transparent to your employees, means that they will carry out your culture and share your message.
The lack of employee interaction with brand content
Only 1% of all employees in a large company share their employer’s content proactively. This does not mean that only 1% of a company’s workforce is engaged. It simply shows that only a few people will go the extra mile to share their company’s communications. This can be due to a variety of reasons:
- They don’t know how to share brand content with their networks. Not everyone is tech-savvy, and if there is no plan put in place to educate the workforce, people are not able to do it.
- They are afraid to share the content because it is too commercial and they do not want to be seen as such by their networks.
- They don’t have the time. Employees are busy with their day-to-day work, and asking them to share content is one more task on top of their already full plates, and so on.
This means that companies are missing out on the impact of their most powerful advocates, their employees. The good news is, there is one way they can turn this situation around: by creating an employee ambassador program.
Why an employee ambassador program?
Companies create an employee ambassador program for three main reasons:
- To create marketing buzz. The advantage of ambassador marketing is that it relies on those already close to your brand. By leveraging your ambassadors’ network, you are extending your reach among their trusted circles, a desirable demographic.
- To convert more through social selling and see their sales increase with less ad spending.
- To work on their employee engagement, the happiness of their workforce. In this fast-changing business world, retaining top talent has become a critical challenge for a lot of organizations.
It is also important to remember that, as a brand, getting your message across, means that you have to be first and foremost true to yourself. This means that you have to ensure that the messages that you want to get out resonate with those you want to target. This is why your company culture will play a major role in the creation and growth of your employee ambassador program.
The importance of company culture
What is company culture? Our definition of company culture is the overlap between a company’s story and what its employees are passionate about and stand for. At the early stages of setting up your ambassador program, you learn about the basic overlap: what your company wants to say and what its people really stand for and want. As your program evolves, you will learn how to expand this basic overlap, and that is also how your ambassadorship will grow. If you are concerned about who your ambassadors are and how to find them, don’t be. It’s easier to discover them than you may think.
Still not convinced? Empowering your employees with internal communication relevant to their networks can strengthen your workforce engagement, your employer brand, and your social selling at the same time. This can only happen though if you put the work in correctly designing and implementing your ambassador program, and you need to stay authentic.