Simple Tips on Transforming Employees Into Powerful Brand Advocates

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A key part of the marketing process is getting the word out about your brand, and your best brand advocate is your staff. What’s the best way to encourage employees to talk up your companyTo find out, we asked members of YEC this question:

Q. Getting employees to help with company branding can be a huge boost for your business, so what is the best way to encourage employee participation without being demanding?

1. Take an organic approach

Create a culture where your business is not just a place to earn a paycheck, but a place where you grow, help the community, make friends, and have fun. By hosting a company charitable event, hosting a monthly employee contest, or serving hot chocolate on cold Fridays during the winter, you are giving employees natural opportunities to share what your business is about. —Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

2. Invest in branded apparel

One easy way to encourage employees to participate in branding is to invest in branded apparel. Our company gets branded T-shirts made every year to hand out at our company retreats. Make sure you’re investing in quality apparel so your employees will want to wear their shirts outside of work. You could also do pens, notepads, laptop stickers or covers, etc. —John Turner, SeedProd

3. Focus on being organic

Employees may feel their companies are being very intrusive to ask for shout-outs on social media. I know when people go home, they don’t want to think about work, so you should focus on being organic. For example, if you have a Halloween party and there’s a funny scene of people in costumes working at their desks, photos will wind up on your social media and you won’t even have to ask. —Derek Broman, Discount Enterprises LLC (DEGuns)

4. Set aside team-building time

Set aside team-building time to have employees help you detail out your brand. Come prepared with questions and ask individuals for their opinions and insights. “Whiteboard” responses, and build upon each other’s thoughts. Explain that each team member’s input and opinions are a vital component to your company’s brand and vital to the growth plan. —Stephen Beach, Craft Impact Marketing

5. Treat employees like customers

Treat your employees like your customers and you’ll never go wrong. Think about it. Would you be demanding of your customers? Would you want them to be dissatisfied with your service or product? Obviously not on both these fronts, so if you’re providing access to the products or services that you promote, then inevitably a satisfied employee (customer) will promote it. —Zev Herman, Superior Lighting

6. Just send a simple email

Getting the word out in a simple company-wide email is a good way to allow people to feel that their contributions are appreciated but not forced. Openly calling people out to take action will do the opposite. —Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting

7. Invite them to conferences and events

Conferences and networking events are naturally great opportunities for branding and interacting face-to-face, so to get employees more involved with branding, invite them along. These events will give them time to practice networking and they’ll learn how to get your company brand out there, plus they can further their education and have a fun outing to attend. It’s a win-win for everyone. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

8. Lead by example

Enthusiasm is contagious, so set the example by posting on your own social media. Enthusiastic employees will follow your lead and see the logic in helping the brand, i.e., the business. Stick to professional platforms like LinkedIn, and when you post, tag your employees. It will set the tone. If you are feeling really adventurous, check out the Twitter page of John Legere, the CEO of T-Mobile—he definitely leads from the front. —Codie Sanchez, Codie Ventures LLC

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9. Appeal to their expertise and vanity

Have you ever been quoted as an expert, or featured on social media or in a news publication? It’s an awesome feeling! Now do the same thing with your employees and see what they might say about your company and the products it offers. Then make some nice visuals and content around this same input. You might be surprised at how much they go out of their way to share such a publication with others. —Zac Johnson,

10. Invest in company culture

You need to play the long-term game and get the company culture right. By engaging with your employees, involving them in decision-making, and ensuring a cohesive team, you will have a team willing to promote your brand without even asking. Enthusiastic and passionate employees are the best brand ambassadors you could ever ask for. —Ismael Wrixen, FE International

11. Give them your products for free

If you have physical products that you sell and you want your employees to help market them on social media, you can give them products for free, just like you would an influencer. This will help your employees become more familiar with your products and then you can ask them to use a specific hashtag to help promote the hashtag and products. —Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

12. Set the expectation

When I bring on a new hire, I let them know right away what my values are as a CEO, how my employees and I act on those values, and my expectations for their energy and attitude in working toward accomplishing our goals. By letting them know this during their interviews, I’ve seen a distinct focus on and even excitement about our company values and culture from long-term employees. —Stanley Meytin, True Film Production

13. Always make it a win-win

Have your employees reach out to the clients they are closest with and have helped the most for video testimonials. This will boost your company’s brand and the employee’s name as well. It allows for new customers to ask for this employee directly, so it’s not just good for you, it’s good for them too. Making something a win-win is the best way to approach any business scenario. —Jared Weitz, United Capital Source

RELATED: 5 Ways to Turn Your Customers Into Brand Ambassadors

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