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How to Build Brand Trust

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Turning employees into corporate ambassadors not only humanizes the brand but also leverages the most authentic voices within the organization — those of its people — to build and enhance brand trust. This article explores how companies can harness the power of their workforce to build brand trust, enhance their presence online, and cultivate brand loyalty.

Building brand trust is more than a goal for companies — it's a necessity. Consumers value transparency, authenticity, and ethical practices more and more, which is why companies should adapt to the market’s demand and adopt strategies that resonate on a deeper level with their audience. 

When you want to build brand trust as a company, there is one strategy that really allows you to leverage one of the most undervalued weapons in your arsenal and build a strategy around that. That weapon is your employees, and that strategy is employee advocacy or corporate advocacy. Turning employees into corporate ambassadors not only humanizes the brand but also leverages the most authentic voices within the organization — those of its people. 

The foundation of brand trust

Trust is the cornerstone of any strong brand. It's what turns first-time buyers and users into loyal customers and transforms casual observers into brand advocates. However, it goes without saying that trust must be earned: it's built through consistent, positive experiences with a brand, its products, and its services. 

More importantly, trust is cultivated through genuine interactions and the perception of the brand's integrity and reliability. Nowadays, skepticism is high among any brand’s audience, so companies must work harder than ever to build and maintain this trust.

The benefits of employee advocacy to build brand trust

Employees are the lifeblood of any organization. They are not just workers; they embody the company's values, mission, and culture. Each employee has a unique story, perspective, and network, making them invaluable assets in building brand trust.

Turning employees into corporate ambassadors and social media advocates should be on companies’ radar as an essential strategy for building and increasing brand trust and loyalty for several compelling reasons. This approach taps into the authentic, relatable, and credible aspects of brand representation that traditional marketing strategies often struggle to achieve. 

Let’s delve deeper into why this strategy is so effective:

Authenticity breeds trust

When employees share positive experiences, achievements, and insights about their company on social media or within their personal networks, their authenticity outweighs that of traditional marketing.

Authenticity has become a necessary precondition of trust: when consumers perceive a brand as genuine, their trust in the brand naturally increases. And employees, through their genuine experiences and insights, offer an authentic view of the company's inner workings, culture, and values.

Personal connections amplify credibility

Employees share their brand experiences within their personal networks, typically including family, friends, and professional contacts who already trust their opinions. This personal connection significantly amplifies the credibility of the information shared: personal testimonials are so important that 84% of consumers say they value recommendations from people they know above all forms of advertising (source: Neal Schaffer).

Unlike conventional advertising, where the source of information is the brand itself — the corporate voice, so to say — employee advocacy brings a personal endorsement into the mix. An endorsement that is far more persuasive, fostering a deeper level of credibility for the brand.

Diverse voices showcase brand culture

A company's workforce is inherently diverse, comprising individuals from various backgrounds, departments, and levels of expertise. This diversity in voices showcases the brand’s inclusivity and adaptability, appealing to a broader audience and demonstrating the different levels of thought leadership all throughout the company’s departments. 

It provides a multi-faceted view of the company, illustrating what the brand does and who it is at its core. This transparency and openness are critical for building trust and loyalty among consumers.

Increased reach and engagement

Employee advocacy extends the brand's reach far beyond its immediate audience to include its employees' vast, untapped networks. Tapping into the networks of your employee base allows you to engage with audiences that traditional marketing might not penetrate with social media ads, thus reaching new audience circles. 

On top of that, content shared by employees tends to generate higher engagement rates, including likes, comments, and shares (this is because employees are the most credible voices on multiple topics, including the company's work environment, integrity, innovation, and business practices, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer). This increased engagement not only boosts brand visibility but also bypasses the restrictions of social media algorithms that typically restrict the visibility of company pages in favor of personal posts.

Strengthening employer branding

Corporate ambassadorship or corporate advocacy as a strategic approach to building and cultivating brand trust also gets you the side benefit of enhancing your employer brand. 

Attracting potential talent who value authenticity and transparency is, again, another endeavor that requires a good dose of authentic voice advocating for you and sharing your positive work culture. Naturally, prospective employees are more likely to trust the insights shared by current employees about the workplace culture, opportunities for growth, and the overall work environment. This trust in the employer brand translates into a competitive advantage in the talent market, attracting individuals who are aligned with the company’s values.

How to turn employees into corporate ambassadors

1. Cultivate a positive company culture


The first step in turning employees into corporate ambassadors is to ensure they have something positive to share: this means investing in a company culture that values, respects, and nurtures its workforce. A positive work environment, opportunities for growth, recognition of achievements, and a strong sense of purpose are crucial. When employees feel valued and believe in what they do, they naturally want to share their experiences with others.

2. Provide training and resources


Not all employees may feel comfortable or know how to share their work experiences on social media effectively. Providing training on personal branding, social media behavior, and content creation and giving employees social media guidelines can empower them to become more confident and skilled corporate ambassadors. 

3. Encourage authentic sharing


The most powerful endorsements are those that come from the heart. Encourage employees to share their genuine experiences and perspectives about their work and the company. Authentic sharing not only resonates more with audiences but also reinforces the employee's connection to the brand. While guidelines are important, allowing for personal expression and creativity is essential to maintain authenticity.

4. Recognize and reward efforts


Acknowledging and rewarding employees for their advocacy efforts can significantly boost participation and motivation. This recognition can take various forms, from public shoutouts and awards to tangible rewards such as bonuses or gifts.

There are many ways to reward employees, and choosing one that conforms and aligns with your company culture will prove a very effective way to show appreciation for their efforts. Creating a culture that celebrates employee advocacy shows that the company values their contributions and encourages others to participate.

5. Measure and optimize


Lastly, it's important to measure the impact of employee advocacy on brand trust and adjust strategies accordingly. Utilizing an employee advocacy platform will help you measure attribution, ROI, feedback, and engagement metrics to assess the effectiveness of employee-shared content and the performance of your advocacy program in general. Continuous optimization is key to maintaining a successful corporate ambassador program.

 

Turning employees into corporate ambassadors and social media advocates is a game-changing strategy for brands aiming to build and increase trust and loyalty. It capitalizes on the authenticity, personal connections, diversity, and reach that employees naturally embody. 

By fostering a culture of advocacy, brands can unlock the full potential of their workforce, transforming employees into powerful assets in the quest to connect authentically with consumers and stand out among the competition.

Build and enhance your brand trust with employee advocacy

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