Why is it that people have a stronger voice than most companies? Brands are an unknown entity with little personal voice behind them in most cases. There's so many times when people try to reach out to a brand and are left standing without a response. 86% of all brands are not listening on social media (Social Explorer 2013). That's a big stat!
When you reach out to a person with mutual thoughts, the likelihood for connection is deeper. As humans we look at traits that are similar to our own and can identify with our own beliefs. We want to connect with people or ideas we believe in and communicate in real dialogue.
It's no secret I believe in human marketing. The power behind what you can actually do with individuals is starting to prepare us for defining a brand differently than we ever have before. We are now able to leverage company employees socially to help us achieve greater results than we ever have, when it's done right.
Now with social media, people are able to lend our own individual brands and identities to their company, it's become a two way street. As employee advocacy becomes bigger, it's going to skyrocket the ability to lead individual brands and help spread authentic messages to people faster and with more trust than ever before. It's in our nature to trust people first.
The challenge is in aligning our personal and our company brands together. We tend to want to enjoy sharing things that mean something to us and need to check ourselves to make sure it is in line with what we really believe.
So how do you build content that employees want to share? Simply put, ask and listen. Identify the ways you can build content together. While it sounds simply, this approach helps to make content more shareable because they bought in from the beginning. It's this same reason that Kickstarter great so quickly. Make people a part of something from the beginning. When people believe in something from the start, they will be just as excited to help distribute and share.
One of the biggest fears a company might face is helping employees build their brands only to lose them to another job or company. What you don't realize is that by helping people they will become more brand loyal, and dare I say excited about contributing to the greater good.
Here are five ways to align personal and business brands together:
1. Build content with employees so you can run the ideas and concepts together, making it a cooperative effort. In turn, it becomes more shareable.
2. Start building an employee advocacy program with technology enabling faster amplification.
3. Identify people within your organization interested in learning to develop their own thought leadership, and help them do it.
4. People like to share, however people like to know their company is paying attention. Share the results back with them and let them know what they have accomplished.
5. Surprisingly, too many executives are still nervous about building their own personal brands. Lead by example.
KEY TAKEAWAY: It's time for companies to embrace the power of personal brands. People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Partner with them to build, grow and share together.