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How to Transform Your Employees into Brand Ambassadors

Posted by Grant Robertson-Adams | Oct 1, 2021

The normal place that you might go when considering who could be your brand ambassadors would be your customers. After all, they’re the ones who engage with your brand the most right? That’s where traditional thinking is wrong, it’s not just your customers who can be brand ambassadors but your employees too.

Training Employees to Become Brand Ambassadors

When you take time to think about it, training your employees to become brand ambassadors only makes sense. They know your product and services inside out (and certainly better than your customers do), they understand your routes to market, they understand your audience, and they talk in your brand voice. If anything your employees are the more natural choice to act as brand ambassadors.

That all said, many employees simply don’t like to talk about work outside of their working hours. Nor should they feel they have to, after all they’re only paid for the time they are asked to work. Turning your employees into brand ambassadors is a process that has to be beneficial to all parties involved and, absolutely, shouldn’t be seen as an extension to their working life.

So how can you change that standpoint and begin to get employees engaged with your brand and acting as ambassadors?

  • Change the perspective: create a culture within your business and company that is exciting and conversation worthy. Create an environment where employees are genuinely excited about the work they’re doing and they’ll only naturally talk about it outside within their own networks.
  • Make sure employees are engaged: create opportunities for employees to be engaged with your brand beyond their usual work requirements.
  • Train them to be ambassadors: actually teach your employees how to act and become brand ambassadors.

The normal place that you might go when considering who could be your brand ambassadors would be your customers. After all, they’re the ones who engage with your brand the most right? That’s where traditional thinking is wrong, it’s not just your customers who can be brand ambassadors but your employees too.

Why Employees Make the Best Brand Ambassadors

When employees become a part of your team they will, in some way, talk about your brand. They are already ambassadors in this way. The best of this situation is when employees are keen to do this in their own way, this should be a relatively natural process so that they don’t feel like they are acting as salespeople outside of work. Companies can certainly facilitate this process, but absolutely can’t make it a mandatory part of work, simply because prospective customers will spot this tactic a mile off.

One of the best ways to find out how an employee is representing your brand is to just have a conversation with them. This not only builds a sense of engagement between the two of you but also with the brand as a whole.

Seeing as you’re asking your employees to represent and advocate for your company, they are right to expect you to represent and advocate for them. This means listening to their feedback, implementing changes based on their thoughts and feelings, and genuinely valuing their presence within the business. The same goes for scaling businesses with expanding teams. Rather than looking to hire someone who will simply fill a gap, look for someone who can become a member of the team, and someone who speaks and acts the company’s values.

One of the best reasons to encourage the employee brand ambassador environment is the fact that people will trust their opinion more. If they are happy in their work, they believe in your product or service, and actually want to share it with people because they feel engaged with it, this comes across as a genuine opinion. As part of your word of mouth marketing strategy, you can’t get any better than that.

Why Advocacy Within the Company is Important

It isn’t only the fact that employee brand ambassadors are genuine, they also help the business in more tangible ways. Their input not only reduces costs in the marketing department but also can increase conversions. A study found that when employees mention a brand, service or product on their personal social media with a call to action, conversion rates are 7 times higher than when compared to the social media accounts of the brand itself.

Another added advantage is that, generally speaking, if employees are keen to participate in a brand ambassador program they are far more likely to stay with the company long term. Keeping staff retention high is a massive saving to the business and cuts down recruitment and training costs over a long period of time.

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How to Turn Employees into Brand Ambassadors

There are a few tools and elements that you can use within your business that will encourage and turn employees into brand ambassadors:

Training

Your business can offer actual advocacy training which shows employees how to show the business in the best light. This doesn’t mean producing a script. More so it means sharing the company values, the ethos that it projects and the type of people the business wants to be. By being explicit with these details employees will better understand how to project them.

Make It a Choice

Ambassadorship and brand advocacy only work when offered as a choice. This also works for those who have chosen to be brand advocates. They are using their personal time and so should be allowed to express themselves in the way they best see fit without the constraints of company voice.

Give tools and resources

Being a brand ambassador shouldn’t be a burden where the employees have to create their own resources and spend more of their time. Instead, make the process easy for them by providing tools to share the brand. You might create videos, presentations, marketing materials, and everything in between, allow employees of all levels access to these so they can use them on an ad hoc basis and informally.

Offer Incentives

People are far more likely to take part in an ambassador program if they are incentivized to do so. There are myriad rewards that you could choose to offer your employees for acting as brand ambassadors or sending referrals to the company, but ensure that these rewards are consistent with other employees and that there is a structure in place. This allows other employees to see what they could achieve through becoming an ambassador and also stops there being any conflict between participants. A simple way to achieve this is by making use of software such as GrowSurf where everything related to the program is kept in one easily accessible place.

Key Takeaways

Brand ambassadors are a major tool in your marketing repertoire, employee brand ambassadors are an incredibly important part of them. Create an environment where employees don’t feel obligated to but feel that they want to speak fondly about your brand and you’re well on your way to recruiting them.

  • No ambassador program should be compulsory
  • Consider incentives to increase participation in the scheme

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