Having a strong personal brand has become so important in business and marketing now.
In fact, it’s on the university curriculum; Tyra Banks is taking on a professor role at the prestigious Stanford Graduate School of Business on a course entitled 'Project You: Building & Extending Your Personal Brand'.
Businesses can use employees’ personal branding - something I'll be speaking about at Bynder's conference next month - to their advantage to source new customers and new staff.
If employees actively use their LinkedIn profile, they can share your company’s stories and authentically champion your brand, developing their own network whilst building awareness in return.
Each brand is different but whatever product or service a company is offering, employees are always the best ambassadors. They help to make your brand human.
People focused marketing works; a recent LinkedIn study supports this, showing that a company’s culture is the most important factor in attracting young talent to the business.
"In order to gain employee advocacy your company needs to be worthy of it"
With over 450 million people on LinkedIn globally, it’s highly beneficial for brands to lean on the worldwide networks of their employees. If your employees can share their projects, successes and pictures of ‘behind the scenes’ office events, brands can show off their company culture and build awareness.
For example, employees can publish a status update that truthfully portrays your company as a fun place to work or write long-copy about things that motivate or inspire them. Ziggo, Google and KLM share frequent updates, visuals and blogs on LinkedIn. By doing this they are keeping their followers, employees and potential new talent up to speed with all that is going on in the company.
GoPro is a fantastic example where the global community of users is the brand.
Although these people aren’t employees, it’s a similar principle in terms of engagement. GoPro users bring the experiences the camera offers to life and advocate the product daily with the videos they share on social media. The most authentic brands will be the most successful at engaging their stakeholders and companies should aim for this in their employee advocacy strategy.
In order to gain employee advocacy your company needs to be worthy of it. Is it a positive place to work? Does the culture represent what your company stands for?
When everyone in the workforce becomes an advocate of sales and marketing messages, companies have an exponentially wider and deeper impact. Employee advocacy is not easy to master, but it starts with fostering the right environment and then training others on how to share it.
Forrester found that employees who are optimistic about the company's technology and trained on how to use it effectively are much more likely to be company advocates and influencers within their private networks.
Show what’s in it for individuals who share company content? If it helps the company, it’s likely to make their job easier because they will engage more new customers or drive recruitment.
Overall, companies are more purpose-led than ever now. Employees want to be part of that experience by being able to share this with the outside world.
By creating clear brand guidelines and encouraging employees to share content that promotes their place of work in a fashion that is on brand, employee advocacy can be a hugely successful part of a marketing strategy.