Why Should Companies Care about Their Employees’ Personal Brands?
For some companies, personal branding is a dirty phrase. Scared of losing their top talent, executives discourage their employees from being active on social media and sharing their expertise.
But here’s the thing: those naysayers of personal branding miss out on great opportunities. Believe it or not, personal branding on social media brings multiple benefits to companies–not just to their employees. In this post, I’ll share six key benefits that come from building professional brands on social media.
1. …humanize your company.
Among marketers, humanization is the topic du jour. Countless blog posts and articles have been written in an attempt to help brands become more human. We, marketers, are told to include photos of our employees, add humor to our social posts, write in a different tone, include emoticons and emojis… And the list goes on.
Truth be told, those tactics will help your company sound more human. But they won’t make your company more human.
The only way to truly humanize your brand is through the people behind your company. Let your employees lead the way. Put them at the forefront of your marketing and sales efforts. And empower them to build their online presence.
2. …build trust with buyers.
As buyers do research online, trust is one of their key criteria. In the process of evaluating solutions, buyers look for:
- Expertise – Communicates a sense of authority
- Fairness – Provides buyers with a balanced picture of their options – complete with pros and cons
- Relevance – Messages targeted towards consumers’ needs and wants
- Choice – Gives buyers a complete vision of their journey, with multiple paths to a solution
- Relatability – Leads like a wise friend
Sure, a corporate brand account can offer expertise, fairness, relevance, and choice. (Relatability is harder to develop for brands since brands aren’t human.) But can a corporate brand offer those traits as effectively as an employee can?
Research from Nielsen would suggest that, no, companies are not as impactful as their employees. Human-to-human interactions are the most trustworthy source of information when it comes to a buyer’s decision-making process.
So, empower your employees to build an online presence. In so doing, your employees can establish trust with your buyers.
3. …are more likely to promote your product and services.
When companies encourage employees to be active on social media and to build their brands, positive things happen as a result.
Weber Shandwick has found that 72% of socially-encouraged employees will recommend their company’s product or services.
When employees are not encouraged to use social media, only 48% of them will recommend their company’s product or services. As a result, those companies without socially-active employees are missing key sales opportunities.
4. …attract more top-notch talent.
Much of this post has been focused on potential buyers. But personal branding is not just about creating positive interactions with buyers. It’s also about creating positive interactions with potential hires, and in that sense, HR should be invested in employees’ personal brands.
When employees are encouraged to be active on social media, they attract more top-notch employees. Why? In part, it’s because socially-encouraged employees are more likely to recommend their company as a place to work. (To be precise, 68% of socially-encouraged employees will recommend their employer as a place to work.)
Moreover, top job candidates want to work for a company full of experts. When your employees are active on social media, potential hires can see your company’s culture and expertise in action.
5. …gain the attention of influencers.
On social media, like-minded people attract like-minded people. Influencers are experts in their field, and they want to surround themselves with other experts. This means that employees who stand out on social are more likely to attract the attention of influencers.
When your employees and industry influencers partner on projects, your employees are not the only ones who receive attention. Your company builds awareness, too, which brings me to my final point…
A long, long time ago, in 1915, Edward Thorndike conducted research that studied how people perceive one another. He found that, if people perceive you as smart, they are more likely to attribute other positive traits to you – like you’re attractive or funny.
In social psychology, this is called the Halo Effect.
When it comes to employee advocacy and personal branding, the Halo Effect is important for your company. If buyers perceive one of your employees as an expert in your industry, they will also hold a positive opinion of your company. In other words, by having strong personal brands, employees elevate your company in your buyers’ eyes.
Or, as the adage goes, a rising tide lifts all boats.
We’ve created a workbook that will help your employees build their personal brands on social media. Download the Sample Social Media Plan to help your employees: