You’re Failing Your Employee Brand Ambassadors If You Aren’t Doing This One Small Thing

You're Failing Your Employee Brand Ambassadors If You Aren't Doing This One Small Thing Man sitting in front of a sunny window with back to camera

Sprout Social found that 69 percent of social marketers use—or plan to use—employees as brand advocates, as many budgets shift away from traditional brand marketing to influencer marketing. The reason is simple: people are 16 times more likely to read a post from a friend than from a brand. And your employees, with their on-the-ground insight into your company culture and the type of work your company does, have an unmatched authenticity.

A common employee advocacy problem, however, is that too often employees are asked to be brand advocates (or proactively try to become one) without understanding their company’s reason for being on social, and the role that social media plays in meeting the business goals. This has numerous potential negative effects, and can eventually result in your team completely stopping sharing company news and amplifying your content on their social channels.

That’s why you need to define and document your brand’s social media vision to ensure that your employee brand ambassadors are clear on what you are trying to achieve on social media and how they can support those efforts.

Define Your Social Media Purpose

Before you create profiles on every possible social media platform and start posting, first ask a simple question: Why is my brand on this channel?

Brands can be on social media for a variety of reasons, and those reasons can (and should) vary in importance by channel. Three of the most common uses for brands on social include:

  • Recruitment—social media, given its highly visual nature, is a great place to showcase your company culture and highlight why you are an employer of choice. If you’re finding a lag in your talent pipeline, social media can help you find the best new additions to your team. As your team and talent needs grow, you can consider creating accounts solely focused on recruitment (like @InsideZappos), and custom hashtags that make it easier for potential employees to explore your recruitment content.


  • Content Amplification—at its core, social media is meant for distributing information and connecting people. As your company publishes content (videos, company news, thought leadership pieces, etc.), social media can be a great way to amplify that content to reach more people. What’s great with content amplification is it is one of the easiest channels through which to measure success. Just include a custom shortened link (through, Hootsuite, Buffer, etc.) so you can track the click-through rate.


  • Customer Advocacy—this purpose can be two-fold, either focusing on reacting to customer feedback on social, or proactively celebrating your customers’ successes and sharing updates on the partnership.
    • Reactive: Many customers expect social channels to be a primary way to communicate directly with your brand, and some platforms (like Twitter) can be a great place for this. Be careful though—if you have a dedicated account for customer service, your audience may have expectations that exceed your capabilities. One study found that 72 percent of people who complain on Twitter expect a response within an hour.
    • Proactive: Celebrating the successes of your customers is a great “thank you” to them, and can act as informal testimonials to attract new customers. That said, it’s important to ensure you always have written agreement from your customers to allow them to be used in case studies or for content. If you are finding it difficult to secure that permission, consider giving a 10 percent discount on your product or service at the start of your contract in trade. It’ll pay off in the long run.


Enable and Activate Your Brand Ambassadors

Once you’ve determined and documented your ideal social channels and your brand’s purpose on each, it’s time to activate your brand ambassadors.

Communicate with your team, whether it’s in an email or team meeting, about your social media goals, and point them to a written overview of your brand’s strategy for each channel, including what they can do to support your goals. With this knowledge, here are some ways that they can support the three key purposes we explored above:

  • Recruitment
    • Encourage employees to share “day-in-the-life” moments on social, using your branded hashtag. Dell employees use #IWorkforDell, and the company’s corporate accounts often retweet/share content from its employees.
    • Have social-ready job listings employees can share (and get a referral bonus on). Some companies create quick graphics that are easy for team members to share with their networks.
  • Customer Advocacy
    • Train employees on how to respond to customer praise or criticism on social, and ensure that they know the appropriate person to escalate any problematic social posts to.
    • Provide examples of how to disclose customer relationships when sharing customer news/calling out clients on social. Also, clearly disclose what projects or information is/is not OK to share for confidentiality reasons.
  • Content Amplification
    • Ask yourself these questions to create a guide for your ambassadors:
      • What channels/handles do you want employees to amplify? Do you want them to follow your executives?
      • When should an employee share a URL directly, versus just re-sharing or liking your social content?
      • What’s the policy on leaving comments on social?
      • Are there any hashtags you want them to use when amplifying content?

Unlock Your Social Media Potential

Of marketers that have sustained social media marketing tactics for two years, more than 50 percent reported improved sales. And, as companies invest more in social media marketing, you risk falling out of touch with your audience by not being active on social.

But, with your employees on your side and up to speed on your company’s social media guidelines, you can easily scale the success of your social media goals. Constantly encourage your team to post, and retweet or engage with content that you think models the ideal employee post.

As you continue to align your team with your company messaging and vision, you will see that employee-advocate-empowered social media isn’t too hard with the right guidelines in place.

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