Branding used to be just for businesses — a key part of a company’s strategy for building awareness and gaining increased market share.
More than an eye-catching logo or clever ad copy, a company’s brand also has the potential to show off its values, stand out from the competition, and create human connections with customers.
And businesses will continue to devote significant resources to building their brands. So they would be wise to invest in their employees’ personal brands if they really want to see amplified results.
Employee personal brands are becoming an essential part of a company’s reputation, and companies that invest in them reap huge benefits.
As more purchasing decisions are made online and from recommendations on social media, having employees that are trusted and respected will open up further opportunities for your organization.
We will explore the key advantages businesses receive from nurturing employee personal brands and how investing in them is a strong play for any brand management strategy.
Advantages of Employee Personal Branding
Personalized customer relationships
When a potential customer is thinking about buying your product, they are going to do their research. They will ask for referrals or search online or reach out for recommendations on social networks.
And social selling is a strategy that has really proven success. Sales reps using social media as part of their sales techniques outsell 78% of their peers. (Forbes)
By investing in your employees’ personal brands you are creating more opportunities to reach those audiences with someone they know, which leads to enhanced credibility, trust, and authenticity for your brand.
And the data shows that prioritizing authenticity makes business sense. 86% of consumers say that authenticity is a key factor when deciding what brands they like and support.
Your company’s products and services are humanized when stories and insights are shared from the people that build them. It shows the personal side of your company values.
If your employees are seen as knowledgeable and insightful about their job or industry, your brand gets a halo effect,which will strengthen your reputation as a business.
The more that customers see the inner workings of how business decisions get made and how companies are thinking about the future, the more they will feel safe about buying your products and services.
Safety and trust are key factors when buyers make decisions. 76% of individuals surveyed say that they’re more likely to trust content shared by “normal” people than content shared by brands.
Amplification from a personal brand strengthens customer relationships by making them more human, more closely connected, and more personalized.
Stronger employee skill-sets
Employees that are empowered to develop a personal brand will strengthen skills they can immediately apply to their role.
Storytelling, writing, public speaking, and organization are just some of the elements that are practiced when devoting time to a personal brand.
These skills can then be used to lead better meetings, collaborate more directly with other departments, and communicate successes to the organization.
And there are external benefits as well. Someone with a strong personal brand has more of a chance to be included in speaking engagements or included on industry panels and events, which is a great way to expose your brand to new audiences.
Through the course of developing a personal brand and sharing what makes them unique and valuable, they are setting themselves up for future career growth and expanding their networks.
Businesses can take advantage of this greater reach for their own brand messaging if they give their employees the tools they need to hone their personal brands.
And as an added bonus, the more that employees feel supported to learn and grow at a company, the more they will become engaged and devoted to business missions for the long-term. Win-win!
Strengthen your employer brand
What employees post and share about their workplace on social media is a big factor in building an authentic employer brand.
79% of job applicants use social media in their job search (Glassdoor) and positive ratings and reviews from employees are especially important.
Employer branding showcases your company’s identity and has a big impact on who will apply for open positions.
When making a decision on where to apply for a job, 84% of job seekers say the reputation of a company as an employer is important. (TalentNow)
Nurturing employees’ personal brands is in reality an effort in recruitment marketing. It builds a positive reputation and gives your talent pipeline insight into what an organization values in its hiring efforts.
75% of U.S. respondents believe that companies whose C-Suite executives and leadership team use social media to communicate about their core mission, brand values and purpose are more trustworthy. (Glassdoor)
The more that a businesses’ story gets told by its own employees, the more top talent will be interested in working there, which will save time and money in your recruiting process.
How to Support Employee Personal Brands
If you want to fully take advantage of the benefits of employee personal brands, it’s helpful to be strategic and provide resources to your teams. Here are some tips to get started.
1. Provide training and workshops on social and personal brand building
Help those that may be new to the concept of personal branding by offering best practices and courses on how to build profiles or grow social engagement.
Leadership courses that assess employee strengths are a great way to get people to think about the unique skills and experiences they bring to the table.
2. Utilize brand advocates and company thought leaders to lead the way
Sometimes it’s better to show, not tell! Give your teams examples of successful advocates so that they can learn from those who are already doing a great job promoting the brand or providing industry expertise on social media.
3. Show employees how it benefits them and their company
It’s easy for people to get excited about the opportunities that come from personal branding efforts when they can see what they personally get out of it. Share stories about career growth and promotions that came out of social networking.
4. Get the right tech and policies in place
Alleviate any fears about posting the wrong thing on social media by setting clear guidelines and letting employees know what information they are able to share.
Then make it easy to do so with platforms or tools that will help them feel comfortable sharing more about their workplace. For example, a good social media policy that is accessible helps everyone get on the same page.
5. Recognize and reward those that get involved
Highlight successes that any employees have from creating personal brands in internal communications and give rewards to those team players and leaders.
Knowing that it is important to the company and getting positive reinforcement will lead to more employee engagement and involvement.
6. Offer headshots and social media makeovers
Give your teams upgraded headshots to help them put their best foot forward and have a professional look for their personal brand identity across social networks.
HR and Marketing are great resources for other teams on how to optimize their profiles and stand out with a great headline or bio.
How Employee Advocacy Can Help
For companies that are ready to tap into the benefits of their employees’ personal brands, enabling access to an employee advocacy platform like EveryoneSocial is a great option for faster results.
EveryoneSocial makes it easy for anyone in an organization to connect, share, create, and engage with content across the company.
Employees have access to all of the latest company news and can also share industry articles all in one user-friendly centralized hub.
So now they have a constantly refreshing, personalized library of relevant resources that they can share to their networks as valuable expertise.
76% surveyed believed that employee advocacy helped them keep up with industry trends. (Hinge Marketing) And that can be used to grow a personal brand, become trusted and more respected as a valuable news source in the space.
It keeps employees learning from each other and enables them to share that knowledge with their growing networks with the click of a button.
And the discussions feature which enables users to chat about posts and tag their coworkers makes it really simple to engage with the content and encourage debate and conversation.
We’ve also seen how employee advocacy encourages social network growth so that employees can expand their reach and grow their influence. Employees who participate in a social employee advocacy program organically grow their social networks by 10%+ per year. (EveryoneSocial)
Employees that are constantly learning from each other, sharing skills, and discussing the latest industry news and trends – they are going to rise together and make better business decisions.
It’s the perfect tool for the aspiring thought leader to hone and broadcast their personal brand. A worthwhile investment for any organization.