At this point, we all know about brand ambassadors, right? Or at least we’ve all heard about “influencers” on social media being paid to endorse a brand of…well, anything. What about employer brand ambassadors? This is a largely unused marketing opportunity just waiting to be tapped into.
Before we get into our list of top tips for converting your employees into brand ambassadors for your recruitment marketing efforts, a quick dive into the idea behind the title, Brand Ambassador. This is, historically, a celebrity, sports figure, or another famous person who would tout a product in exchange for a fee. Remember all those celebrity endorsement ads from the last 30 years or so? Yep, those were brand ambassadors.
More recently, say through the ’00s and into the 10’s, there was a move to using company bigwigs for this purpose. Suddenly we were seeing CEOs, founders, and the like in TV spots talking up the company mission, etc.
In today’s world of word-of-mouth marketing and personal trust, it’s down to the real people, the folks creating the work culture who are being tapped to talk up the company among their followers, friends, and family. Not to mention referring to those very people for open positions.
The trick is, how to turn your army of happy co-workers into enthusiastic employer brand ambassadors?
1. Be sure your EB is up to the challenge
Remember, people are talking about you online, even if you’re not participating in the conversation. Before turning your army of evangelists loose on the online world, best check on your reputation as it stands. Job seekers are doing their research, mostly on social media and review sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn (as high as 75% according to some reports). When was the last time you or your team checked those sites?
Get a firm hold on your company brand on these sites, as well as checking for trending news about you on social media, before moving on to the next steps. That way, you won’t be working at cross-odds, with someone having to battle negative reports while others are touting how amazing your break room foosball tables are.
Once you have a handle on your reputation, it’s time to start recruiting those brand ambassadors. Do you have a product launch coming up? Be sure everyone knows all there is to know about the updates being released, or the newest feature set of your whizzbang, world-changing widget. That way they’ll be ready to toot their own horns about the part they played in bringing it to fruition.
Or maybe your company got some good press for a new eco-initiative being sponsored? Again, get the word out internally so everyone not only knows about the initiative itself but how awesome it is that they get to be a part of it.
Time for a hiring push? This is when the power of referrals comes in handy, as once you have your ambassadors up and running, you may not have to even post the openings externally. Just get them on the company intranet and let word-of-mouth take over. Remember to incentivize it somehow, maybe a spa day for the referring employee when an offer is accepted?
3. Encourage social media use
Yes, gone are the days when it should scare an organization that their employees were taking to Twitter in the middle of the workday. It’s time to embrace the fact that your workforce is talking to other people on these platforms, and turn it around to your advantage. Step one here is to be sure you’re involved in the conversation, using your corporate accounts to interject some brand voice into the discussion.
This will put a human face and voice to the company logo. It will also begin the process of further encouraging your people to share their experiences at work, both with friends online and in the office with management. Now that they see you participating in the discussion, they’ll feel more open about sharing issues they may be having.
It’s important to keep something of a handle on what’s being shared, however. Issue a set of guidelines, explaining that some of what goes on is protected company information that needs to not leave the office, but that everything else is fair game to help spread the EB.
4. Include your people in RM initiatives
People trust other people. Put that fact to use by including employees in your recruitment marketing efforts. Film testimonials to post to Youtube and office tours to use on Facebook. Consider giving the reins of the account over to them for a day. That way they can record a real “day in the life” and post it to Snapchat. Now not only do you have your regular brand voice out there, but you also have actual employees sharing what they love, in their own authentic voices, as well.
In today’s crowded, candidate controlled job market, having this sort of real, authentic voice on social media is crucial to cultivating the kind of brand people will not only trust but will draw them in, making them want to join you. And that’s the whole idea behind recruitment marketing, right?
5. Make it easy
Share information you want your people to know via multiple channels. Not everybody will respond to a blast email, join in on a companywide brown-bag webinar, or read the latest updates on the intranet. But chances are that nearly everyone will do one of those.
Share company updates on social, via the main accounts, then encourage folks to re-share them to their networks. This shows their friends that they trust what you have to say and that they should too. Include call-outs in company emails. Not just letting people know what information it’s OK to share, but actually giving them an easy quote makes it a surefire way to get the right word out.
Key points to remember
At the end of the day, the thing to keep in mind is that recruitment marketing is a long game. You’re not going to see results immediately. Your company reputation, if a bit tarnished when you do your initial research, won’t become stellar in 3 weeks. These tactics take time and work to bring results. But when they do, and when your brand ambassadors are out there talking you up and referring their friends, it’ll all be worth it.
About the Author: Tarina Pop, is Head of Recruitment Marketing at SmartDreamers , a platform that helps companies reach more, better candidates in record time by automating recruitment marketing activities to accelerate online talent acquisition. SmartDreamers was founded in 2014 and currently operates in Europe, the US and the APAC region.