From a corporate perspective, the benefits of having your employees help build your corporate brand is very clear. Advantages of employee advocacy in social media include a wider reach (larger potential audience), better social media engagement, and overall increase in ROI. However, there are equally important benefits to helping your employees build their own personal brands.
Your employees might have social media profiles, but this is not the same as a deliberately created personal brand. According to Wikipedia, “Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands”. This practice helps your employees build their visibility and connections in the industry, helping establish them as online leaders in their field.
Here are three reasons you should be helping your employees with their personal branding:
- Increased ROI for social media engagement efforts: Employees with larger personal brands mean a bigger impact (and ROI) for your employee advocacy efforts in social media. Having a bigger reputation on social media helps establish your employees thought leaders and trusted subject matter experts.
- Improved hiring process: Having employees with strong personal brands raises your company’s profile as an employer. Social media engagement is not just limited to engaging with potential clients, your staff can also engage with potential employees. This can lower hiring and recruitment costs and increase the caliber of candidates applying for your open positions.
- Increased employee retention: Helping your employees with personal branding helps them grow within their own careers. The effort you spend helping your employees grow their brands on social media increases employee engagement at work – a proven factor in employee productivity and retention.
Assisting employees with building their personal brands is a touchy topic for far too many companies. The idea of making individual employees more visible on social channels can bring stress to the lives of both marketing and HR managers – after all, more visibility means a greater chance they will be recruited away. However, the results are well worth the risk, and your employee engagement efforts on social media are the perfect stepping stone to help employees develop a social footprint and start building their brand—which further builds up your company.
The benefits for employee advocacy in social media are clear for corporations, but how can you convince your employees of the value of building their own personal brands?
They might need less convincing than you think. After all, 50% of employees are already talking about their company online. The key is to focus on career growth and show your employees how employee engagement is about them and not just about the company.
Assisting your employees to build industry connections and raise their profile allows them to do a better job in their roles within your company. At the same time, personal branding also helps improve their ability to find jobs outside of your company.
There is a risk to this. You’re making it easier for your employees to find work in other positions if they are not happy where they are. However, by investing this effort in your employee’s growth, you increase their happiness where they are. Programs to engage your employees in social media are both external facing (employees interacting with clients) and internal (employees interacting within the company). Investing effort in your employees by giving them the chance and ability to develop their own personal brand gives them a voice online, while creating greater purpose and job satisfaction.
Once you have convinced your employees as to the value of their personal brands, the next steps for you at the corporate level are easy. Most of the actions you need to take with employee engagement in social media are the same ones you need to build their personal brands.
- Proper profile setup: configure your profiles on social channels with proper photos, descriptions and links.
- Provide guidance and guidelines on what can be shared online and how it can be shared: employees are not comfortable doing anything online if they fear it will cost them their jobs.
- Provide the conversation starters: employees cannot just be mouthpieces for the marketing department; they need conversation starters related to industry issues and not just company products and services.
Building your employee personal brands are like planting a crop. The individual brands take time to grow, but you set yourself up to reap a fantastic harvest for your company when those individual brands are able to support the online social media engagement efforts of your organization.
Curious to see how you can get started? The eBook below provides great tips for transforming your employees into brand ambassadors.