Leveraging Your Employees As Brand Ambassadors
Most of us have worked for a “terrible” company before. How do you like that for a sweeping generalization? But seriously, if you think back, you have probably worked for a company that didn’t value you. They didn’t have your interest in mind and most likely didn’t go out of their way to give you the tools and training you needed to become the best you.
And non-coincidentally, that company is probably not very successful. I say that with confidence because statistically speaking, high-performing companies spend more money on employee development. Good companies value both the direct and indirect returns on investment that come from time and money spent on their own people. The best companies take it another step further turning their employees into brand ambassadors and evangelizers.
A study revealed that the average cost of employee training and development per employee was just over $1100 per year with tech firms averaging closer to $1800 per year. This adds up to an annual $150 billion expense across the United States! With these insanely high expenses, there must be a solid ROI for building up these brand ambassadors, right? Absolutely, there is.
The following are four major benefits:
- More Business
Brand ambassadors are constantly talking about their company. They look for opportunities to share their company’s accomplishments. Regardless of their position within the company, brand ambassadors basically become corporate publicists.
This kind of interaction can bring you more business in primarily two ways: through referrals and SEO.
Salesforce reported that while customer and employee referrals may be the most difficult sales opportunities to generate, they are by far the opportunities with the highest close rate of any other sales channel with a close rate of 3.6%. Here at Foxtail Marketing, we have had numerous clients come from leads generated by employees through their personal social media and word-of-mouth channels and they are still some of our strong clients today.
From an SEO perspective, employees speaking up online about your brand does wonders! In 2014, Google announced that social media metrics are NOT official ranking factors in its ranking algorithm. That said, Google’s primary goal is to deliver search engine users the most relevant content it can. So to say that a blog post with 500 social shares does not affect that blog post’s page ranking would be preposterous. We call these social interactions on search engines “social signals”.
As employees share their company’s blog content or mention the company on Twitter, the company’s influence can grow, and consequently, their SEO ranking can also grow.
Click here for more information on how Social Media & SEO interact.
- Better Current Employees
I can easily say that I put in my poorest-quality work when I worked for a company that devalued me. Some bosses are tempted to put down employees in order to maintain their hierarchical status. Some think this kind of “motivate-through-intimidation” leadership yields better results, when in fact it’s the complete opposite
A brand ambassador must trust their company and be trusted by their company. Giving employees training, development, and trust—even to point of encouraging them to build their own personal brands—will give them the proper motivation to go above and beyond in their work. They will be accountable to their own desires for perfection for the good of the company. Sounds a little dramatic, but it’s true.
In fact, according to one study, a company that invests $1500 per employee in their personal training and development will experience 24% higher profit margins. That should be well worth it to any company.
- Better Future Employees
A company is only as good as its employees—which puts a lot of pressure on recruiters, HR reps and anyone else in charge of hiring.
An astounding 80% of applicants’ decisions to apply to a company are informed by sources outside of the organization. This includes referrals from peer-to-peer, word-of-mouth, news sources, social media, and sites like Glassdoor. So finding the right talent may be more about what others are saying than what your company is publishing.
Engaging your employees in those key referring conversations could ensure prospective employees understand your company culture and expectations. They may also be influenced by the fact that your employees are encouraged to develop and grow (see above section). Your employees will brag to others about their great experiences and prospective employees will want the same for themselves.
Of all the applicants we get at Foxtail Marketing, those who already know someone within the company are notably the best candidates. They already understand our company and want in.
- Better Company Valuation
From an investing perspective, a company’s value isn’t solely based on proof of sales or assets. A company’s perceived value is much important than its actual monetary value.
In fact, 30% of an investor’s decision to buy into a business is based on the leadership and personnel of the company. Investors will put their money forward when company leaders show how well they build competence, commitment, and contribution of their people.
By building up strong brand ambassadors in their employees, company leaders can prove to investors—one of their most important audiences—that they are worth investing in.
Benefits Over Costs
The benefits greatly outweigh the costs when it comes to encouraging your employees to learn new skills, build their own personal brands and become brand ambassadors for your company. More business, better employees and a higher perceived value are just some of these benefits.