In today’s rapidly-changing digital world, the question every small-to-medium business (SMB) should be trying to answer is, “How do I build trust at-scale?”. Building trust through storytelling and providing value is the underlying foundation for the success of content marketing, social media marketing and, more recently, influencer marketing. Although your SMB can succeed at building trust by leveraging outside resources, the businesses that truly understand today’s consumers are building trust by leveraging those already on the payroll—their employees. Many consumers, particularly millennials, may not trust a brand, logo or marketing message, but they do trust a company’s employees, because they represent people just like them.
Below are four ways to help you empower your employees as your brand advocates.
- Make Sharing Simple: Chances are, your employees (especially the millennials) are already active on social media—and many are already talking about your business. These employees would gladly share company content if they were provided with the right tools and links to allow them to quickly share content by clicking a link or a button.
- Collaborate with Employees: To encourage your employees to share your messages and marketing, you must first show them you care about their stories. The best way to do this is by including them in the content. Doing things like posting “employee spotlights” or blog posts that include tips and tricks from your team not only builds trust with your staff, but also gives them extra motivation to share the content.
- Celebrate and Amplify: While employees want to help the company as a whole, they also want to feel like they’re part of a team and know their contributions are recognized and appreciated. One easy way to encourage employee participation is to publicly acknowledge those who are willing to share on social platforms. This recognition can take various forms. You might hold a friendly company-wide (or departmental) competition and give the winner a gift card or free lunch. Or it can be as simple as the CEO or someone on the management team sharing the employee’s content on their LinkedIn page or highlighting them in internal communications to all employees.
- Establish Transparent Goals and Results: When it comes to leveraging employees’ participation on social media, it’s important to be transparent with your goals. Make sure your team knows why you want them to share content on their social platforms, and how you plan to measure success. After they post the content, let them know how their sharing impacted the company. Showing them how their participation helped the company will encourage your employees to post content more regularly.
All businesses, no matter the industry, are in the business of “trust.” There’s no better way to build that trust than by encouraging your greatest assets—your employees—to be a more public face of your company. But remember, building trust takes time. However, implementing these ideas will help you get started down the sometimes difficult path of building trust with your customers, while also cementing trust with your employees.
By Brian Fanzo, Founder and CEO, iSocialFanz, Member of Oracle’s SMB Experts Panel