Cultivate a company culture where employees are social ambassadors

In 2017 millennials are meant to overtake baby boomers in terms of spending, both personal and via the companies they are beginning to control the purse strings of. This generation, more than any previous generation, is looking online and to social media for help with buying decisions. It is therefore vital for companies wanting to appeal to this buyer that they have entered the realm of social media with their message as well.

2016 was the year of social influence marketing

Last year saw social media influencers take off in a big way. All brands from Airbnb to Emirates were paying celebrities for social media endorsements. Famously, Kim Kardashian was seen snapchatting Airbnb locations. The problem with this is people could see right through the marketing, and no one booked a holiday with Airbnb believing they were buying into the Kardashian lifestyle.

Some big social influence campaigns were surprisingly unsuccessful, not to mention their incredible costs. This year it’s time to consider a tool that is already on your payroll and well positioned to do the same job: Your employees.

In 2017 employees will be the most credible source of information

Employees are already strategically positioned all over social media, each with a community of potential customers around them. This isn’t just a game of numbers though, employees are said to be a more trusted source of information than messages directly from a brand. 41% of us believe employees are the most credible source of information regarding business.

This year social influence marketing must go undercover, downscale, and back to the basic principles of social influence: Similarity, trust, liking, reciprocity, authority, consistency.

How to make employees social media ambassadors

1. Educate employees with an abundance of brand and product knowledge, and educate them on the history of the company, and what the brands stands for. Employees will then be equipped with the context to go out and deliver on the brand’s promise. They will have the knowledge, facts and information to market brand and product benefits with authority to their friends.

2. Formally train employees in their role on social media. Let them know what they can do to help: Resharing company photos, posts and tweets. Updating followers on company news. Employees are in a position to deliver a more personalised message and deeper storytelling to their followers. However, promoting on social media must never be obligatory and must always be because an employee wants to.

3. How can you make an employee want to? They must feel they are part of the brand and be personally invested. Employees are personally invested when they are happy and engaged at work, and are allowed to be their authentic selves. This means hiring people whose personality and values align with that of the company culture and role. This means appreciating their unique strengths and letting them adapt the role in a way that works for them. Employees that are able to deliver their brand in a personalised way will then internalise the company values more.

4. Consistently delight them. Employees who are happier at work and feel cared about by their work will give back. You do not have to motivate employees with high salaries and material perks, opportunities for personal development and showing appreciation work well. Also getting the basics right – having a product and service so great employees don’t need to be encouraged to tell friends about it. Consistently give them reasons to want to talk about how great your company is.

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