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social media how toAre you looking for brand ambassadors?

Have you considered recruiting your employees to help?

When you empower your employees to talk about your company on social media, they’ll share a human perspective people naturally gravitate to.

In this article you’ll discover how to set up a successful employee brand ambassador program to enhance your social media marketing.

#1: Assign a Community Leader

The first step is to designate a captain, someone who is able to take the reins. However, don’t think of this person as someone who will bark orders. Instead, choose a person who can guide a group of people who already know the ropes.

create an employee brand ambassador program

Discover how to create an employee brand ambassador program for social media.

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Your community leader will:

  • Provide a common voice and/or vision for the team
  • Coach employees on responsible social media strategies
  • Oversee and approve social media content
  • Collaborate with co-workers to come up with new methods, stories and ideas for campaigns
  • Lead the measurement and analysis of social media efforts
leader image shutter stock 241537384

Your team leader will provide direction and support. Image: Shutterstock.

You’ll want to be sure your community leader is also capable of handling crisis situations. Your company will undoubtedly stumble into a social media mistake at some point, and you’ll need a leader who can think fast on his or her feet.

We’re all aware how small things become magnified online – no matter how silly they seem to be. Starbucks’ latest controversy about their holiday cups is a great example.

The coffee chain didn’t withdraw their original design. Rather, they made a statement in their official blog and stuck by it.

#2: Communicate Your Vision

The second step is to impart a single vision to everyone based on your company’s mission – why your business exists.

Starbucks’ vision is to “inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” The coffee chain embodies this concept in everything they do, including how they encourage employees to showcase inspiring ideas through social media.

starbucks partner instagram

Starbucks lets the public view their partner social media channels.

Thanks to their official pages on Facebook and Instagram, which are open to public view, Starbucks employees can quickly exchange ideas even if they’re oceans apart.

Adapting the tactic for your business will make your employees feel empowered, and at the same time encourage them to promote your company in their own circles.

#3: Share Your Expectations

No campaign can be successful without guidelines. Although you encourage active participation and uniqueness, your employees still need a set of rules so content remains consistent.

Adobe does a great job of educating employees to act as brand ambassadors through their Social Shift program. Here’s an image from a short presentation, which shows how they divide their strategy into different courses.

adobe social training slide

Adobe’s curriculum is meant to empower and enable employees to be active on social media on behalf of the company.

During their training, employees are made aware of certain rules of engagement and protocols so their social media posts are consistent with the company’s vision. To get a good example of how these guidelines work, take a look at the Adobe stream on Twitter.

You can make your rules as detailed or as simple as you want, but you should ensure everyone agrees to them before they post.

Here’s a glimpse of how #AdobeLife tweets reflect a productive, fun and enriching work experience.

According to Talent Cove, 78% of workers who feel recognized are more motivated to perform their tasks.

Head of Adobe Employment Branding Natalie Kessler and her team like to reward employees with the best social media posts using #AdobeLife. Every week, they choose from compiled photos and messages online and then highlight them in Adobe offices. This shows employees how important their efforts are to the company.

If you want to boost productivity and amp up your social media presence, make sure youre providing the right rewards for your brand ambassadors. You can arrange a small party or even offer giveaways or exclusive items. What’s important is that you give recognition due for effort.

#4: Make Materials Readily Available

Similar to a real storage unit, your social media warehouse should contain collected ideas, articles, photos and other content employees can use in social media posts.

When you use a tool like Trello to house everything your team might need online, there’s no need for anyone to wait on something for a post. Employees simply choose from a vast pool of cool, unique ideas from your warehouse.

trello board example

Make sure your employees can access everything they’ll need to post about your company in the best light.

WordPress support firm WP Curve uses Trello not only for managing their projects, but also for their editorial needs.

When dozens of employees are involved, your community leader will thank you for having a single tool that makes managing social media content fun and easy.

#5: Reap the Rewards

What does a successful employee brand ambassador post look like?

When Adobe Digital Imaging Principal Product Manager Lex van den Berghe wrote about a Lightroom team member’s trip to the Mekong river, his inspirational post was syndicated to Adobe’s main blog, as well as other platforms like Pinterest.

adobe employee story on pinterest

Employees who post about their work life on social media can create positive visibility for your company.

This helped the story gain momentum on social media and put Adobe in a positive light as a company that supports their employees’ dreams.

What About You?

It’s no longer a question of whether to let employees on board in your social media marketing. Rather, the question is whether you have a plan in place to focus their efforts. With a bit of preparation and some teamwork, you can create a successful outcome.

What do you think? Are you bringing your employees on board as brand ambassadors? What is your goal? What types of content do you expect? How will you reward participation? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Team leader photo from Shutterstock.
how to create an employee brand ambassador program

Tips for creating an employee brand ambassador program for social media.

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  • Thank you for presenting the post very interesting to read, A great site to visit. Please visit me Glucoberry

  • Excellent. Another great post on social media and I love the idea of appointing a brand ambassador – thank you so much Al Gomez 🙂

    DevDigital

  • Saiga Tatsumi
  • Would have loved to share this on my SM channels, but the share buttons were not to be found. Great content so I’ll cut and paste, but it’s a lot more work when you have multiple channels and businesses you’re posting content for. 🙂

  • Sorry to read about that, Brenda. But thank you so much for stopping and giving us a read! 🙂

  • LisaDJenkins

    Hi Brenda,
    I’m sorry to hear you were having trouble with sharing this. Our share bar floats to the right of our content or at the bottom of our content, depending on the device you’re using. We’ve not heard of this happening before and I’m interested in making sure it’s not a recurring issue. Can you email me (Lisa@SocialMediaExaminer.com) and tell me a bit more about about how you were reading this article?

  • Thank you both for your responsiveness. I just checked the article again and this time, the share links showed up. Shared with my work and personal FB pages, and will use it in a new blog post about this subject.

  • Thank you. When is inappropriate for a business to ask employees to be brand ambassadors? It’s great when you believe in your company and it’s a great place to work. But what happens when your company asks and it’s not something you believe in or the company itself isn’t one you’d want to endorse to your social media network? Not all employees are happy in their jobs, but it’s a job so they do it until they can find something better. Not all companies are great, so asking your employees to stake their credibility on your promotional ventures isn’t always a great idea. On the flip side, not all employees are peaches either and their social media space might not be one you’d want your brand associated with (i.e. dirty jokes, curse words, intense racial or political posts, soft porn, your company’s fluffy bunny post, repeat). Would you recommend a confidential survey before you started a brand ambassador program to assess your employee brand engagement (if your company is big enough)? How would you get around the confidentiality issues of checking the social spaces of your employees to ensure it’s a good match with your brand image?

    Finally, how do you deal with an employee who doesn’t want to be a brand ambassador for your business? Whether it’s because they don’t want to mix business with personal, or whether it goes to the deeper issue of believing in your brand enough to endorse it, there may be instances where the employer is gung ho on the idea and the employees aren’t. How do you deal with the disconnect without harming the employee/employer relationship?

    Thanks! ~B

  • Thanks. The issue seems to be resolved now.

  • Challenging questions here.

    Let me begin with the employer side of things. For small companies, it’s easier to get almost everybody on the same boat because everybody knows everyone. If there’s already a positive connection between employees and the management, there should be less friction to deal with and asking them to promote the brand on their social media profiles is a cinch.

    However, I would still practice caution because there are a few employees who seem to forget the lines between what is TMI and what is supposed to be branded content. Before I asked my own staff to become brand ambassadors for my small business venture, I knew all of them and have observed their social media profiles. As in the article, I assigned someone to be the head social media manager to monitor and measure content from the rest of the staff in the program. That way, everything is consistent with what the brand stands for.

    For bigger companies, this is going to be a challenge due to volume. I recommend a screening, interview, and training program specifically for this. Not everyone can be qualified as a brand ambassador – no matter how active in social media. The company needs to have agreed set standards for this, based on their business goals.

    On the employee side of things, it would be best to talk to your supervisor or manager if you’re not comfortable being a brand ambassador. Awkward as this sounds, it’s better to be open about it now than regret it down the line. Another option is to create a separate account from your personal profile.

    One of my employees do this and it’s rather effective. The account acts much like a personal one, except that it has a more professional tone. This is the platform she uses to promote the brand as she doesn’t want to mix her personal social media info with work-related stuff. As an employer, I find this method resourceful.

    Getting employees to be brand ambassadors is often a tricky and messy challenge. But if approached with caution and passion, it should push the company forward to meet its goals. I hope I helped in some way, Brenda 🙂

  • Thank you very much for being responsive. I hadn’t thought of opening a bridge SM profile as an alternate solution although I can see that being an effective. I personally have personal and professional SM accounts because I deal in this space for my clients, and it’s an easy fix once you get used to it.

    I like the idea of setting one person in the office as the head brand ambassador as well, since that gives you as the owner/boss a layer of protection as well on the HR front. I can see this being an issue if an employee has to be reprimanded or fired for any number of reasons and that personal/professional wall has been breached.

    This is a good work around for both sides to allow the interaction without it being a forced or resentful process. The benefits of it would be worth the hassle, but not if it puts the employee/employer relationship in jeopardy. That level of respect for each person’s personal/professional boundaries is one all managers would have to weigh before beginning a brand ambassador program.

    Thank you, and yes, it was a help. And a nice discussion to begin the day. 🙂