5 Steps to Creating Social Media Brand Ambassadors Throughout Your Organization
There are strong reasons why social media figures prominently in practically all marketing plans today. Research published by Hootsuite in January 2020 shows that 3.8 billion people, or 49% of the population of the world, use social media. You can be sure that the adoption in your specific market segment is even higher. The annual growth in the number of social media users is also significant at over 9%.
This is why it’s important for each business to have a social media presence and strategy. I am sure you already have social media channels for your own business and brands. You possibly have a specialist or a team and a process to post content on social media and engage with your audience.
So why am I asking you to create social media brand ambassadors throughout your organization? I am going to answer that question with another question. Who do you think is the best custodian of your brand on social media?
Is it your corporate marketing team, or your CEO? If you own the business, could it be you? I really hope that you don’t believe it’s an intern, but I won’t be surprised if you do.
I’ll explain what I am getting at by discussing the official LinkedIn page of slack the world’s fastest-growing business app.
Corporate social media handles will always have the right branding elements, align with all guidelines, and be totally ‘correct’. And I am not saying that this is bad. But is the corporate handle the best face for your brand on social media?
Let’s look at another face of Slack, which is the founder, Stewart Butterfield.
The post that you see here is probably not very “correct”. It takes a snide swipe at Microsoft teams. So what we see in the post is that there is a news report that Microsoft Teams has gone down just when the entire world is moving to work from home. A slack user has shared this news and said that he’s glad his company chose Slack. Stewart Butterfield has shared this appreciation and repeated the line ‘you get what you pay for’ which is a derogatory reference to Microsoft Teams.
The post has generated 106 engagements.
This one post conveys that Slack is a game-changer, is challenging Microsoft Teams, and is geared up to handle the new work from home culture.
When a person communicates something it tends to have more flavor. And of course, there is nothing more powerful in the world than the connection between one person and another. When we read a Facebook post or a tweet, we instinctively know when an individual is communicating from the heart, and this elicits a different response from us than if it is just from marketing machinery.
What can brand ambassadors achieve on social media
Research shows the tangible benefits of social CEOs like Stewart Butterfield include higher employee engagement, better sales, and the ability to attract talent. But it’s not only CEOs who can be effective social media brand ambassadors, I believe practically every colleague has the potential to become one.
These brand ambassadors can create an interesting buzz around your brand. It’s interesting to hear from people about new technologies that are being researched, or new products in development. And there is a difference in flavor. When this is announced by the company’s social channel, it has to be very specific, possibly can be shared only after it has been completed. But an individual can give us a sense of getting a ‘sneak peek’ behind the scenes, which makes it more interesting.
Brand ambassadors become proof of the values and personality of the brand. When you say that your brand is all about caring for people or protecting the environment, a brand ambassador makes it more real.
Brand ambassadors can communicate the goals that they are pursuing passionately and attract others who share that passion or interest. Business leaders can also manage crises by using social media effectively, directly communicating with stakeholders, and addressing their concerns or laying rumours at rest.
It’s no wonder that some of the most successful and busiest CEOs in the world make the time and effort to post on social media. Not just once in a while, in fact, they are prolific. And of course, there are many other regular working people who are helping to build the brands that they represent by leveraging channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram etc.
Your five-step program to create social media brand ambassadors
I was recently asked to present this on a webinar hosted by Blink Strategic Solutions, so you can listen to the complete session.
How can you amplify brand-building efforts and grow your business by creating more social media brand ambassadors throughout the organization? Here are the steps.
- Create a program In order to make the magic of social media brand ambassadors happen, and help our colleagues to overcome the challenges that are holding them back, we need to design a program.
- Recruit your ambassadors Start speaking to a few colleagues. Encourage those who are natural communicators. Don’t try to force people who are uncomfortable with the idea. It would be nice for you to have the CEO to coach and create a brand ambassador. But do see the potential in all other colleagues as well. Someone in field sales could share interesting anecdotes, experiences, and even photographs of users. A colleague from customer support could use social media to directly address common questions or concerns. Start your program with just a small number of colleagues. Let the number grow in a natural manner.
- Create alignment amongst your army of brand ambassadors Now we come to the crux of your brand ambassador program. Communicate the brand’s vision, mission, and values to all potential ambassadors. Plan some time to talk to them in-depth. Consider your brand voice and show them how to to use this.
- Amplify corporate messaging I always feel a little sad when I see corporate marketing teams put in a lot of effort to create social media content, but other team members ignore it. I mean that they don’t engage at all. Some of them don’t follow corporate social channels, while some do follow but hardly ever share the content from there. The networks of our colleagues on different social channels can be very relevant for our branding messages. For example, a business development manager is likely to have connected on LinkedIn with current prospects, customers, lost customers. All these people may not be following the corporate social media handles. So if the corporate social media handle publishes a lovely post, say a recent achievement of the company – it will get a very relevant viewership if the Business Development Manager shares it. So when you create your brand ambassadors program, try to sensitize more colleagues about the importance of sharing the content published by the corporate marketing social media managers. Also, ask these social media managers to follow your brand ambassadors. In this way, the messages amplify further.
- Teach skills Finally, help colleagues with practical aspects, such as how to use hashtags, tag colleagues, connect with influencers, use images, and video. Allow ideas to flow creatively, and encourage contributions.
I work with corporate teams to create social media brand ambassador and these programs always tend to be extremely lively and transformational. Many managers are amazed to learn the power of social media to help them achieve their work objectives. Do share your stories and experiences with me as well.