Every business needs to promote itself. But if you don’t have the budget to work with influencers or pay for ads just yet, you can ask employees to be your own brand ambassadors.
Even if they aren’t in the marketing department, every employee is a built-in marketer for your business. What employees say to other people about your business (especially when you aren’t listening) can have a real effect on brand perception and your bottom line. They have influence over the people in their lives, as well as the customers who see their stories in your feed.
It’s so valuable to involve your employees in marketing initiatives, but how can you convince them to join in on the fun without making it mandatory? Follow these eight tips to get your employees excited and involved in company marketing initiatives.
1. Get the Basics Right First
All of the other tips on this list assume that your team is happy, well-compensated and effectively managed. You can’t market yourself out of a toxic culture. If morale is already low, you’re going to have an uphill battle with engaging employees.
Take an honest look at your organization. Are you in a good place, or is there work you need to do? Focus on real issues first, because marketing initiatives are only possible if you have a healthy culture in the first place.
2. Incentivize Participation
If you force employees to post about the company on their personal social media, it’s a recipe for resentment. You definitely don’t want to force it down your team’s throats or punish them for not participating.
The best way to encourage engagement is to reward participation. When you reward positive behavior, you encourage employees to keep engaging with your marketing initiatives. Offer fun incentives like PTO, brand swag or bonuses to pique your team’s interest.
3. Ask Employees to Like, Share and Comment
Again, you can’t make this mandatory, but you can ask employees to like, share and comment on your social media or blog posts. An influx of comments from your team can encourage customers to engage with your content, which can really get the ball rolling with customer engagement.
4. Invite Employees to Create Marketing Content
Your marketing team works hard to create awesome content, but if you want to give every employee a seat at the table, invite them to create marketing content for you. That includes writing blogs or filming a short video for YouTube.
With this approach, you ask your team to become the content creators. It gives employees a stake in the marketing initiative and gives them something to be proud of. They’re much more likely to comment, share and engage with something they made!
However, make sure you share marketing guidelines with every employee. You don’t want them to share sensitive information or say something inappropriate. Give every employee access to short but helpful marketing guidelines to stay on-brand.
5. Ask Employees for Their Opinions
Employees feel more engaged when they have input on a project. If you want employees to engage with your marketing initiatives, ask for their feedback on a campaign before it goes live.
After all, your employees engage with customers on a daily basis. It’s a great idea to run marketing collateral past sales, product, IT and finance to see if you’re missing anything. This usually leads to more creative and effective campaigns, so it’s a win-win!
6. Host an Activation Party
What’s more engaging than a party? Throw an internal activation party to get your employees excited about the new marketing initiative.
Make it fun! Hire a DJ, serve snacks and give away free swag to celebrate the launch with your team. During the event, you can also share the campaign details, tools and even fun props with your team. This way, everyone gets the same information in a fun, exciting format that encourages participation.
7. Recognize Their Hard Work
A few employee shoutouts on social media can do wonders for employee engagement! Celebrate your team’s certifications, anniversaries and other accomplishments on the company’s social media.
8. Create Custom Hashtags
Employees need to focus on their full-time jobs, so you need to make engagement as simple as possible. Hashtags make it way easier for employees to brag about your brand on social media.
Create custom hashtags just for internal use and share them with your employees. Make sure it’s short, snappy and easy to remember so they’ll use it every time they feel inspired to share something about your brand.
The Bottom Line
Marketing might be all about serving your customers, but some of your biggest brand advocates are actually right under your nose. With the right approach, you can transform every employee into a dedicated ambassador for your biz. Follow these eight tips to engage all employees — inside and outside of the marketing department — in your marketing initiatives to get more results.