Why You Should Embrace Helping Your Employees build their brand? (not to mention your company’s!)
Many brands avoid empowering their employees in social media because they do not want to dis-intermediate the marketing team from customers, or they do not want employees creating brand assets that the brand does not own. Some brands fear that employees in social media could damage brand reputation or violate regulations and create liability for the brand. Some brands just do not know how to begin.
Regardless of how a brand feels about its employees in social media, nearly every brand today has employees who are active in social media and employees who talk about their brand in social media. Those employees engage in social media for a wide range of reasons. In many cases, employees get into social media because their partners and customers demand it.
While almost every brand today can find employees using social media to discuss their products, services, working conditions, and so on, the brands that achieve the most value deploy corporate resources to empower their employees in social media.
Simply asking employees to parrot brand-generated messages through their personal social media may help the brand to gain small amounts of reach or engagement, but it is not a sustainable strategy for engaging audiences and developing relationships online. It is easy to do, so a lot of brands do it; however, that approach fails to respect the relationships between employees and their audiences, so it does nothing to help employees create a differentiated and effective presence online. At the program level, design your training and support in 3 stages: Prepare, Manage and Reinforce. From an Individual level, program participants will advance along a continuium at their own rate and pace based on what they commit to. More details can be found in The Most Powerful Brand on Earth
In general, the greatest potential value of socially empowered employees can be achieved only when the brand aligns employee activities in social media with brand goals. And you should do so across the organization.
As stated by Danna Vetter, Vice President of Consumer Marketing Strategy at ARAMARK: “Each of our businessesthat are active on social has different strategies to meet their business needs. So the metrics we use to determine success vary by strategy. We expect employees to set goals and objectives to meet their business’ needs, just like they would in any marketing campaign. Our job is to give them the opportunity to be successful and provide them the tools that allow them to be.”
Brands that build the competitive advantages of socially engaged employees quickly encounter a host of internal and external challenges, including potential conflict between brand goals and the employees’ personal goals for their own professional reputations. Often, those two sets of goals may not align completely, and it takes some effort for the brand to keep it all working together.