In the search for Influencers to market your brand, you’ve probably considered a broad selection of social media personalities to work with. Chances are, though, you’re missing an incredible opportunity much closer to home. We’ve already discussed the power of building brand advocates within your company, but there is even broader potential if you encourage your employees to become Influencers in industry circles.
You might be wondering why you’d encourage your employees to build a name for themselves under your company’s banner. After all, if your employees successfully build bigger followings, it might give them the respect and connections they need to walk away, taking their incredible talent with them, right? It’s a common fear, but it’s a fear that misses the bigger picture.
There’s no doubt that an employee’s social media activities can reflect on you. Often, the negative impact gets a lot of media attention: an employee is fired because they posted something controversial that creates a social media firestorm, and their employer takes the collateral damage. However, the converse is also true: an employee who successfully builds an online reputation as an expert in your industry can demonstrate your brand’s commitment to hiring knowledgeable, passionate employees who contribute to the industry at large.
By the same token, employees who are active on social media can help build valuable industry connections that benefit your brand. Whether it’s new clients, lucrative partnerships or improved relationships with vendors, there are many ways that an influential employee can help your own business grow.
Of course, the right approach is needed in ensuring that your employee’s actions as an Influencer benefit and elevate your brand. You’ll need to make sure that the employee fully understands their impact as an Influencer, and how their actions – even those done on their own time and in their own name – can reflect on your business. You’ll also need to set clear guidelines on what they can or can’t say as a representative of your brand. More and more companies are adopting official social media policies to ensure that employees don’t jeopardize the company’s reputation through their social media actions, a measure that we highly recommend for all businesses.
Don’t be afraid to let your employees thrive on social media. Even if their social media success ultimately results in them moving on to new opportunities, the benefit of their passion and expertise can bring great dividends for your own reputation. Besides, if your company fosters an atmosphere of personal and professional success, chances are your employees won’t want to leave simply because they can.