There’s a common (and expensive) practice in content marketing that may be unnecessary: paying hordes of influencers and brand ambassadors to promote your product or service. Marketing guru Michael Brenner, recently recognised by Forbes as a top CMO influencer, suggests that when you do this, you may be overlooking your greatest marketing resource: your own employees.
The subtle art of empowering employees to become enthusiastic promoters of your brand comes in many forms, Brenner suggests. Here are a few that he’s seen put into action to great effect.
Send employees to industry conventions
They’ll not only learn, network and grow at events like this, but they’ll also return with a week’s worth of content that you can deftly weave into your content marketing strategy. It’s best to send two employees wherever possible: one can network, while the other can take photos and notes to create great content. To give everyone a heads up, Tweet and share on Facebook a few days before the event and encourage your attending employees to do likewise. Then live blog on your website during the event and go live on Facebook between sessions.
Involve employees in making customer-facing podcasts
Audio visual content done well engages audiences and employee-creators alike. Monthly webinars that put your employees centre stage are a great way of showcasing their expertise and building your brand. Employees involved in creating such webinars need to know in advance what their goal is (e.g. customer retention, customer acquisition). Depending on the size of your firm, try inviting different departments to come up with their own ideas for webinar topics next month. Occasional webinars dedicated to panel discussions with industry experts with knowledge of your product are also well worth the preparation and effort.
Keep your employees happy
As Brenner puts it: “Happy employees are the best brand advocates, sales agents, and customer service reps. Happy employees are good for business. Reward them, recognize milestones, celebrate professional as well as personal achievements, and give them perks above and beyond industry standards.”
Ensure that your HR team actively records employees’ personal milestones, and send them personalised well-wishing emails on days that are important to them. Then celebrate their achievements on social media and the company blog.
Recognise and reward ambassador employees
Motivated and hardworking employees may not stay like that if they’re not seen to be appreciated. When endeavours are ignored, people tend to look for pastures new or simply get cynical and dispirited. A simple “good job” comment in public can work wonders, but so can affirmative quarterly reviews (annual reviews are too distantly spaced). And financial incentives can boost social recognition – and performance – substantially.