As a consumer, who do you trust more – a brand talking about itself, or employees and customers talking about a brand? Obviously, people trust the opinion of others more than messages from a brand. This concept of word-of-mouth marketing is nothing new, but the way we approach it and utilize others talking about a brand has grown and expanded to social media and other voices.

There are a variety of ways to approach third party endorsements; online reviews, customer testimonials, even an engaged social media community. But today I want to talk about one, often overlooked group of people that can have a massive impact on your brand perception from a few different angles, your employees.

Your employees are so much more than the people that come to work every day. These are the people with the most information about your company and with that comes a lot of trust in what they say and how they feel about the company.

A study done by the MSL group compared the reach of social media messages when they are shared by an employee versus by the brand account. Employee messages have a reach that is 561% greater than brand messages and employee messages are 24 times more likely to be reshared than brand messages. If you as a brand spend any time on Facebook or most other social media platforms as a brand, this is no surprise. People on social media would much rather interact with a person, and your employees are the perfect voice to represent you. When your employees interact with the brand page, it opens the door for others to engage and interact as well.

They Know Your Brand

Your employees are the experts and people see them as experts. Not only does an employee engaging with a brand on social media increase awareness, they can serve as experts with valuable advice. For example, one of our clients is an HVAC company. Their employees and families of employees are very engaged on social media. Monitoring the page, the posts shared by an employee from the brand page is much more likely to open a conversation than the original brand post. Even if the blog or update doesn’t have much to do with the individual, giving a face to the content that people can connect with does a lot more than the brand logo.

They Represent You

One of our favorite ways to engage employees and build social communities is by posting about the employees themselves. Humanizing the brand and connecting those engaged with the social brand page connects brand to audience on a much deeper level. Featuring the people in social posts helps the community see the other side of the business.

While they are great assets, employee advocates aren’t for everyone. Not all that long ago many companies and organizations had strict rules for social media usage and interaction with brands. This is still true for some employers but with a little training and monitoring these issues don’t measure up to the added benefit. There are plenty of examples of employees posting inappropriate, damaging or confidential information via social media. To avoid these situations, social media policies provide a great service for protecting the brand, outlining unacceptable behavior and disciplinary action.

Media Training

A simple training course with clearly defined expectations can go a long way in managing employee social interaction. Your employees don’t HAVE to interact with your brand, but if they choose to, outline a few simple expectations. The last thing you want to do is for the engagement superficial or fake, but it is important to outline what is acceptable and what is unacceptable.

Your employees are a powerful, trustworthy voice to your brand. Utilizing the people that make your company what it is goes so far in a crowded social media space. People connect to people, so encourage your employees to get active on social and share their knowledge.

Social Media Starter Kit

Roundpeg is an Indianapolis content marketing firm.