The demand for Community Managers has steadily increased over the last five years and, with the rise in social media as a business driver, it’s not hard to see why. As brands began waking up to the power of collaborating with online social communities, the role of the community manager was seen as the strategic backbone to a social business.
Community Managers not only manage the online voice of the brand through social networks, they are equally responsible for being the voice of the community to the brand. Their role combines building brand awareness, adoption and customer relationships through online conversations, with careful collection and analysis of customer feedback and online habits.
Some companies have been employing community managers for years, others are exploring it for the first time, but a trend is emerging that might make the current role of community managers slightly less significant.
Socially Empowered Employees
Big brands have become more noticeably proactive over the last twelve months in encouraging their employees to be active on their own personal social networks for the benefit of the brand (they are employed by). The theory behind the strategy is that every employee can become an ambassador for the brand. If you are asking why you would allow or encourage your employees to openly represent your brand, read on…
Top 5 Reasons for Leveraging Your Brand Through Your Employees Online
1. More Eyes, Ears & Hands
Online content that gains attention and drives traffic is hard to create. In many cases the best content just has to be done in the right moment. Look at what Oreo achieved by tweeting their Superbowl message at the just right time. Having one community manager limits the time and potential reach of your brand. There is not always time to seek approval or listen to the concerns and feedback if the responsibility is left to just one person and an opportunity can pass by within minutes. Empowered employees can not only represent the brand online, they can connect with customers at the right time and collectively build online communities that drive meaningful brand equity.
2. Humanize Your Online Brand
One of the most integral parts of social business are the employees in the company itself. In an offline world, employees often humanize the brand experience. They make the customers feel like they are doing business with someone they can relate to, and not just a company that wants their money. Having multiple online representatives extends the brand personality online and gives social business an authentic voice.
3. Trust Is The Real Social Currency
Trust is one of the hardest attributes to come by in the business world. Building strong relationships has become almost more important than transactional communication. If trust is the social currency of the social media age then building strong relationships between employees and the marketplace at large can make a real impact on sustainable sales. Employees who are empowered to represent the brand online can be valuable effective participants in building trust and enhancing brand image.
4. Your Online Brand Deserves A Real Voice
Authenticity and transparency are key to building a strong online representation of any brand. Using automated social media engagement tools instead of actually conversing with customers online can kill the value of social business and negatively effect offline sales. The benefits of socially empowered employees to represent the brand and act as brand advocates can’t be underestimated.
5. Your Employees Are A Reflection Of Your Company, Your Brand
If you are afraid of what your employees would say about you online then you need to question if the real problem lies not with the employees but with the company itself. Are there internal issues that would reflect badly on the brand? Have you a poor corporate culture? Are you hiring the wrong people? In that case the problem then is not what the employees might say, but what the company does.
Community Managers will still have a role to play in a future of socially empowered employees. Their guidance is needed to direct, measure and strategize how the general workforce is and should be using social media to reach the customer.
In order to achieve a tangible business objective, socially empowered employees need to be trained and motivated to represent the best interest of your brand online.
When this is achieved, employees who are trusted with the responsibility of your brand’s online reputation can create greater online content that inspires, that informs and that ultimately adds value to the conversation and consequently your brand. Mobilizing rather than muffling your employee’s online activity might be the key to growing your business in the year ahead.
• Have you considered how you could adapt and leverage your employees social reach for your brand online, within your social business or online marketing strategy?
• Do you need to audit your company’s social media policy and train your staff, with clear guidelines, in how best to represent your brand online?