As one of our top trends to watch in 2013, it’s no doubt that employee branding is an up-and-coming (if not already established) strategy in most online content marketing programs. For many brands, adding an employee branding initiative to their arsenal of content marketing tactics requires a few changes and openness to areas that traditional marketing strategies generally avoid — transparency, authenticity and trust – but the risk is well worth the reward.
What exactly is employee branding? There are many definitions floating around the interwebs, but we like to think of employee branding as using the positive connection between a company and their employees to extend a favorable brand image and experience to customers and users. In short, employee branding is all about your employees being your best brand champions. After all, who better to promote your company, product or service online than those who know it best – your employees!
As a brand’s image is no longer reliant on or about marketing messages and taglines, but rather the genuine experience they deliver, it is important to put employee experience in the spotlight. In fact, a January study by LinkedIn and TNS Employee Insights reports that enthusiastic and engaged employees are potentially a brand’s best asset — hidden gems waiting to be discovered! The study also shows employees have a direct impact on customer perception of a brand’s image as well as customer experience, advocacy and retention. For this reason alone, smart brands are taking advantage of their internal spokespersons by building engaged communities from inside out.
With so many different initiatives on your brand’s content marketing to-do list — content production, social outreach, content optimization, voice and audience development, etc. – it can be difficult to prioritize, but employee branding should not be put on the back burner. Businesses that aim to increase corporate transparency and their commitment to real-time communications through fostering an engaged company culture field a competitive edge that resonates with customers – an advantage that only employee branding can bring to the table.
While incorporating employee branding into your content marketing strategy is a must, it’s also important to keep your company out of the tabloids by first establishing guidelines highlighting a few simple do’s and don’ts for social sharing. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Ask your employees to share and re-Tweet anything that’s posted by admins of your company’s social media profiles (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) as well as comment / interact with your content.
- Encourage employees to share positive experiences with your products, company culture, and other aspects of your brand.
- Ask employees to comment on whatever is posted on the official brand page profiles.
- Encourage shout-outs to teammates (“Loving the energy in the @inboundwriter office space today!”).
- Have employees publicly discuss confidential company information or “pre-announce” what the company is working on that hasn’t been cleared by your PR department.
- Let employees talk negatively about competitors on behalf of your company.
- Avoid structure when it comes to responding to questions about your brand or business — if asking employees to participate make sure that they know the company’s stance and are not stepping on each other’s toes.
For more tips on how to include employees in your content marketing strategy and create an engaged internal community check out our blog post “Community Driven Content 101” and be sure to share your employee branding tips with us on our social networks — Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+.
Image Source: ceprn.com