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Employees are Your Best Brand Advocates: Examples from Sports and Publications

Welcome to the second part of my series about employees being your best brand advocates! Last time I spoke about how employees in the movie, TV, and comic industries make some of the best advocates for their respective companies.

But just in case you weren’t swayed yet, I decided to offer examples from two other industries.

Sports

It’s hard to find a group of people who are more passionate about something than sports fans. Team loyalty runs deep, is (generally) tied to a city, and is handed down from generation to generation. Fans want to go to games, watch the rest of the games on TV, and spend their hard-earned money on the team’s promotional items.

So how is it possible to generate more interest in the team?

You give your fans the opportunity to connect to current players.

I know that there are plenty of restrictions on players not to use social media during games (and rightly so!), but what fan isn’t going to be excited to read about what their favorite players are doing when they’re not playing?

Following individual players lets fans be the first to find out both personal and professional news. So when basketball player Chris Paul was signed to the Clippers, everyone was able to find out immediately instead of having to wait until the nightly sport news.

 

 

Getting instant news feeds a fan’s love and connects them to a player. After feeling a strong connection to a player, this will just reinforce their love of a team; a higher love of their team will in turn lead to more ticket and merchandise sales.

Publications

Magazines and newspapers have been using their employees to expand their brand recognition since they launched. Some read a specific publication because they like their photos or spin or coverage. But people also stick with publications (online and off) because of specific authors and journalists.

After all, people didn’t read Dear Abby’s column just for the advice; they read the column because it was coming from Abby.

With over 2 million blog posts being published each and every day, individual writers can catch a potential customers’ attention and keep them coming back?

SEO and social media are important – but publications rely on their strong writers with their strong content to establish connections with readers.

Let’s start with one of the most revered publications on or offline: The New York Times. The New York Times carries plenty of clout on its own, and I’m sure that they gained the majority of their subscribers for that specific reason.

But for others, individual voices are the reason that they read that particular publication. I’m not a news junky, but I love movie reviews by A.O. Scott. I love them so much that I’m on the NYT website every Friday to read his take on the latest movies. While I’m there, it’s inevitable that another story or two will catch my attention, and suddenly I’ve spent twenty minutes reading an assortment of entertainment articles.

And the New York Times wants people like me to do that. Because in a best case scenario I’ll decide that I want to sign up for a subscription; worst case I will have at least looked at the ads that support their website.

You can tell that the New York Times supports its individual reporters and columnists because they often retweet them.

new york times twitter

On the other side of journalism, we have new, shiny, and full-of-lists BuzzFeed. Now, while BuzzFeed’s main draw is a floodgate of clickable articles, individual authors do have their own flavor of list posts. And since BuzzFeed has gone out of its way to acquire companies and recruit smart, funny writers who can amass audiences, you can tell that they value individual writer voices.

For example, let’s take Matt Stopera. Matt started his internet cred by creating a fan video for Britney Spears. The video currently has over 18,000 views on YouTube.

And yet, that buzz is nothing to what his (at this writing) almost 6,500 posts on BuzzFeed have accomplished. He writes about a lot of things, but if you see a post honoring the beauty of Britney Spears or Ryan Gosling, it’s a safe bet that he wrote it.

Let’s take one of his recent posts: “70 Things Britney Spears Fans Love.” Matt wrote about his love of Britney and attracted a ton of Britney Spears fans to the website. Now, if you’ve ever been on BuzzFeed, you know that it’s one of the biggest time sucks on the internet. After reading this list post, I bet that many readers clicked over to read more of Stopera’s work, other celeb news, or just followed the rabbit hole to DIY wall art.

britney spears story matt stopera

By not censoring what individual authors say, BuzzFeed can grab tons of attention, and thus, a ton of ad revenue.

So again, what am I saying? I’m saying that letting customers discover your company – or at least fall in love with your company – via your employees will attach your customers to your company better than any banner ad ever could.

You might be able to bring lots of buzz to your company via a radio spot or commercial. But in the end, customers are going to walk away talking about the quality of your products and how great the customer service experience was.

Embrace your employees as your brand ambassadors.

Here are a few more takeaways as a thank you for making it all the way down here!

  • Let your employees share what they are working on. Now that you have a social media policy in place, let your employees share thoughts from their latest programming challenge, blog post, or sales call.
  • Don’t make it all about work, either. Personal tweets or Facebook posts allow your employees to make real human connections with potential clients. After all, when Derrick Rose tweeted about his son, the picture got over 10,000 retweets.
  • Don’t underestimate any employee or interest. Customers can come from all different walks of life. Programmers may commiserate with your programmers and marketers can bond over how Facebook changes their privacy policy every three days.

Want some more reading about employees as brand ambassadors? Check out these great articles:

Is there anything that makes you hesitant about embracing employees as brand advocates? Anyone have any success stories to share?

Expand Your Brand!

Images are low res screen shots from the New York Times twitter stream and the BuzzFeed homepage.


Mandy Kilinskis

Mandy is proud to be a part of QLP’s content team. A self-professed nerd, her interests include video games, sitcoms, superhero movies, iPods and iPhones but never Macs, and shockingly, writing. Her claims to fame are: owning over forty pairs of Chuck Taylor All Stars, offering spot-on coffee advice, and knowing an unbelievable amount of Disney Princess facts. You can connect with Mandy on

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  1. Employees are Your Best Brand Advocates: Examples from Entertainment

    [...] examples should be enough to get you started. But stay tuned in because I’ll be sharing another post about how other industries use their employees as brand [...]

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