Employee ambassador programs: 3 musts and 3 pitfalls

If you want employees to talk up your brand on their social networks, offer training, incentives, and a call to action.

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As a Chicago Northsider, I hear that question as often as “When are the Cubs finally going to win?”

I actually have an answer to the engagement question. Increasingly, our clients are asking how they can tap their employees as ambassadors either for the company, its brands, or both.

It’s always nice when the facts support your opinions, and the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer uncovered a dramatic increase in the credibility of “average” employees—especially those with technical expertise—as unofficial company spokespeople.

Fun fact: People trust a technical expert within a company more than the CEO.

This highlights an opportunity to recruit, train and equip employee ambassadors to be the faces of a company.

Ambassador programs are hardly new. For decades companies have recruited employees to hand out brochures at events, volunteer in their communities, share product discounts with friends, etc. But the rising power of social media has breathed new life into such efforts. More and more we see clients tap employees to advocate for the company and its brands via their own social networks.

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