Your Everywhere Asset: Employees

As much as we can invest in great advertising, pin-point perfect sponsorships, fancy Web sites and engaging content, nothing is more important than the employees that make up a brand. Everyone from the cleaning staff to the CEO is responsible for the image of an organization.

It’s no secret that brands’ control over messages is loose at best, and consumers have taken control. Consumers aren’t alone. Employees have taken control as well, whether they realize it or not and whether you've allowed it or not.

Employee Actions Reflect On You

It’s surprising how often employees don’t realize how their actions tie back to your company. They may tweet something about the brand or simply have you as their employer on their Facebook profile. Whether they proclaim that they work for you from a loudspeaker or say it with a whisper, once they connect themselves to the brand, their actions are connected as well.

Your Employees are Your Weapon

The path toward viewing employees as a liability in the social space is an easy one to go down, but the more efficient, more logical route is to view them as your greatest asset. Who knows the brand better than anyone? Who is armed with the most information? Your employees.

Mobilize Them

Depending upon your company, the degree to which you mobilize your employees will differ, but there are three key things you can provide them to protect both them and your company:

  • Rules and Guidelines. Let your employees know what is permissible and what isn’t and the consequences for violating these rules. This does not mean sending out a mass e-mail or posting it on an intranet site. Communicate it to your current employees clearly and loudly, and make it part of your initial hiring and training process.
  • Remind them of the Implications. Social media is public, and sometimes this is forgotten. Remind your employees that their actions are viewable for all to see. What they say, do and share in the online space is available for their peers to view as well as you, their employer. If your brand has engaged in monitoring in the past, you may be well aware of the surprising (not in a good way) things employees will say if this isn't broght to their attention.
  • Empower Them. When your company is aligned strategically, has a monitoring plan in place and is ready to engage, empower your employees. Ensure they are fully educated on the rules of the space, your brand and your industry, as well as your objectives. Unite them to join you in your mission (if they choose to) and leverage their power to engage with your consumers.

Collectively, employees can be where you aren’t—everywhere. Mobilizing them generates a collective effort of brand experts and category influencers driven by strategy. They have the power to identify and leverage opportunities, correct misperceptions and ultimately, become an extension of your efforts, leading to greater efficiency and success.