The emergence of social media has changed the ways brands work. Brands are transforming themselves into publishers through the use of content marketing, social media, and the development of their own publication channels.
As media outlets, brands are able to drastically accelerate the relationship-building process and dramatically increase their reach and visibility. This new approach to marketing has tremendous impact on the strategies and tactics that PR and marketing departments have to broadcast corporate messages.
One of the outcomes to this shift is the emergence of personal branding. Now, individuals can gain significant influence, authority, and leverage simply by cultivating a meaningful social presence. The "individual" has never been more powerful!
The emergence of personal branding creates challenges for organizations, specifically with governing their employees' actions. But this emergence creates even more opportunities that are far more exciting. The brand now has the ability to scale content and PR efforts while casting a wider net of exposure.
So, is this something your organization should be looking into, and if so, how should you go about it? Let's dive into three strategies that we can use to maximize this trend.
1. Build the Foundation
In order to encourage your employees to cultivate their personal brands, and to make sure they will benefit your organization, it's important to lay the foundations for them. By providing a venue, platform, and process, you will make it easy for them to develop their brand and ensure that it's a brand you can utilize to increase your organization's reach.
First, you need to create a venue. You should start by creating an employee spotlight on your website.
Once this is done, you should then give each team member the option to contribute to the company blog and share his or her own unique expertise. Blogging is the best way for your employees to find their voice. By actively encouraging it you will greatly accelerate the personal branding process. You can do this by providing editorial support and suggesting topics for them to write about.
By helping your employees find their own voice, and actively encouraging it by giving them an accessible platform, they will be far more likely to act as a responsible ambassador for your organization further down the line.
2. Spread the Word
Maximize the visibility of employees by promoting them externally. By this I mean helping them to publish their content on digital properties you don't own. This means sending them out to spread the word.
It might take the form of guest blogging, publication pick-ups, columns, and speaking engagements. Whether it's one, or all of these, by getting members of your team to produce content and then deliver it through a variety of external channels, you will drastically increase their exposure.
Another great way to expand the "reach" of your team members is to get them using social media. By getting them to slowly build a community on major networks like LinkedIn and Twitter, they will quickly create a valuable publishing network for future content.
3. Know Their Strengths
Everyone in your organization has been hired for their skills and expertise. These strengths might not always be directly in-line with the products or services your organization sells.
For example, the secretary at a dentist's office won't be an expert in dentistry, but they can be seen as the foremost expert on patient processing efficiencies and customer communication. Their expertise isn't directly related to the practice's primary solutions, but their visibility and expertise can be an asset to the organization and help promote external visibility.
Don't get too hung up on making sure that everyone is directly promoting your products or services. Let each member of your team promote what they do best and you will quickly see the benefits.
Your employee's visibility will fuel brand recognition, content development, incoming traffic, links, SEO and support the company's overall PR and marketing efforts. Recognizing the impact of personal branding and harnessing its power can create enormous gains for the brand.