If you’re looking to maximise your marketing strategy, there may be a gold mine sitting in the same office as you right this moment.
Getting your staff to promote your business is no easy task, but if you can manage it, you’ll see your marketing efforts start to pay off exponentially. Your customers and clients are more likely to trust your business if they see your team actively promoting the company, and you may be able to tick off items on your own marketing to-do list by enlisting the help of staff.
Make sure your employees are happy.
The first step to getting your employees to promote your business is to make sure they’re happy. Fostering employee engagement is a big task and is an article topic in itself, but as an overview, consider these strategies:
Listen to your staff. You need to understand what level of happiness your staff are at right now, and that means taking the time to listen to them. You can do this through one-on-one interviews or employee surveys, but be sure you try to be unbiased and don’t take negative feedback personally. Once you’ve gathered feedback, put together a plan to address their concerns and make sure you communicate any changes you’re making so they know their thoughts were heard.
Providing incentives. It’s difficult to engage your employees if they don’t have incentives. Financial incentives, like bonuses or pay rises, are typically most effective, but there are other low-cost options that work well, like extra holidays or gift cards and smaller gifts.
Foster a positive environment. Even if you treat your employees well and incentivise them appropriately, they still need to feel comfortable and happy in the workplace environment you provide. Spend time improving your office culture to make sure they feel happy when coming to work. Something as simple as celebrating your employees’ birthdays with their favourite cake can boost morale and foster a sense of belonging.
Build opportunities for growth. Burnout and stagnation can be killers for employee motivation. Your staff will be far more likely to promote your business if they feel like you are helping them advance their careers with training, upskilling, and new opportunities.
Make your staff aware of marketing opportunities.
Once you know your staff are happy, the next step is to make sure they are informed. Remember that your employees have plenty of tasks they are focused on in their day to day—this means they won’t be thinking about marketing unless it’s right in front of them.
There are many ways to communicate marketing opportunities to your staff, but the key is making it consistent and easy. For example, you may want to send a weekly email to all staff outlining key talking points or dedicate a Slack channel to discussing the topic.
Make it as easy as possible for them by providing assets they can share with direct links to the places you’d like them to promote your business. For example, you can send out a graphic for staff to include in their email signatures, or draft a basic social media post and encourage your staff to adapt it as they see fit for their personal channels.
Encourage staff to use their own voice when promoting you.
While it’s helpful to provide assets to make promoting your business easy for your employees, you don’t want to restrict them too much on the tone and style.
Make sure your employees know that they are welcome to promote your business however they like, provided they do so professionally. Allowing them to use their authentic voice will not only make them more likely to promote your business, but it will also resonate more with your audience.
Introduce some healthy competition.
As we mentioned earlier, incentive is one of the best ways to get your employees to promote your business.
For example, you could design a competition to encourage your staff to post on LinkedIn once a day for a month. Whoever gets the most comments, likes, or new followers would win a prize. (Make sure the prize is equal to the amount of work you’re asking them to put in.)
With a strategy like this, you don’t have to take on a financial burden to incentivise your staff, and you’ll get more of your employees to take part simply due to their competitive drive.
Self-promotion is the easiest kind of promotion.
Giving your staff opportunities to talk about themselves and their own successes encourages positive reflections on your business.
The first step with this tactic is to make sure you are praising your staff’s achievements. This should be done in person, but it’s also a good idea to internally promote any employee that is going above and beyond.
Once you’ve done this, give your employee the tools they need to share their achievements with the wider world.
- Interview the employee for your blog, podcast or newsletter.
- Provide a write-up for the employee to post on social media .
- Design a badge, graphic or trophy they can use to support their promotion.
- Encourage other staff members, including their managers, to post about the success.
Give staff an opportunity to participate in marketing as part of their job.
There may be members of your team who want to be more involved in marketing but simply have not had the opportunity to do so. Try sending out an internal memo asking if anyone would like to join the marketing team in a partial capacity.
Remember that you’ll still need to incentivise these employees, as they have a full-time job they’re doing now (which probably doesn’t include marketing). For starters, offer them the chance to change up their role in some way to make more time for marketing. Alternatively, you can wait until you are offering the employee a promotion and build marketing into their new duties.
Sponsor your staff’s networking and training events.
In-person marketing can be some of the most effective ways to spread the word about your company. You may have staff on your roster who would jump at the opportunity to attend a networking event, but they aren’t willing or able to pay their own way.
To encourage staff to attend more events, make it easy for them by providing a list of opportunities in their area. Using websites like Eventbrite, you can build a calendar and send it out to your employees. Make sure you’re clear that you will purchase or subsidise tickets. There may also be free events in your area, so instead of paying for tickets, you can give your staff the time off to attend if it falls during the working day.
Finally, before they go to these events, make sure they are equipped to promote your business while there. You may want to hold a few training sessions on how to network effectively, and be sure they have business cards and other assets to promote your company while at these conferences and events.
Empower your staff by putting their ideas into play.
Though your marketing strategy may be set in stone for the next few months, there’s no harm in allowing employees to weigh in on the tactics and platforms they would like to use to promote the business.
For example, you may find that some employees are very keen on promoting their LinkedIn and want some guidance on how to do so. Others may have ideas for fun promotional events that hadn’t occurred to you or other members of your team who handle marketing.
Consider holding a monthly or quarterly brainstorming session where employees can give their input on what they would most like to do. Be sure to follow up as you roll out their ideas, so they know when and how to participate.
Before we wrap up, a word of warning: Don’t overwhelm your staff with every tactic we’ve put on this list. Start with the first step—making sure they are feeling satisfied at work. Once that’s squared away you can begin exploring the different options we’ve outlined to see what works best.
Remember that the key to getting your staff to promote your business is making it easy for them. Give them the tools, assets and support they need to talk about your company and you’ll see big returns on your investment.
Getting your staff to promote your company is just one part of a robust marketing strategy. With Yellow Pages’ suite of digital marketing services, you can bring your promotional tactics to the next level.