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How Employees Can Promote Your Brand on Social Media Without Screwing it Up

4 things you should bear in mind

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BY Marishka M. Cabrera - 06 Jan 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Some unhappy customers may sometimes vent their frustration on social media because of its power. Often, they tag the brand in their post – or post directly on the brand’s page.

Malaysia-based online bus booking platform CatchThatBus has experienced putting up a particular post on its site, promoting one of its new products, only to find that customers have posted complaints on it instead.

Ashwin Jeyapalasingam, co-founder and COO, says, “We currently take the practice that we respond to all complaints and try to understand the frustration and address the issue there in the thread, and eventually after a week or two of resolving the issue or non-response from customer on our query, we then hide the comment from the page.”

And while they do encourage their employees to actively promote the brand on their personal social media accounts—at least one post every quarter—they have not had any negative effect on the brand.

Jessica Li, co-founder of Malaysia-based food delivery start-up Dah Makan, says, “Social media is a powerful medium when harnessed properly.” She says her team uses Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to share insights about the culture at Dah Makan and for recruitment purposes, as well.

Arvi Lopez, head of PR and brand communications at Coins.ph, says, “We have always been active in encouraging our employees and peers to always talk about the brand in the social media space. It leverages on each employee’s personal relationship and experiences with the brand.”

Shannon Kalayanamitr, co-founder and CMO of female-focused e-commerce brand Orami, says she does not worry about employees screwing up their brand image, so to speak.

“I believe that if they are badmouthing or communicating the company wrongly, it is also our fault in terms of our company culture or how we communicate our brand internally,” she says.

How can Southeast Asian start-ups ensure that the brand looks good on social media all the time? Remember these four things:

1. Alignment is key

Lopez says there has to be alignment and brand consistency within the organization, from the management down to the employees. In addition, the brand’s message should be seamlessly meshed in the company’s culture and lifestyle for its employees to embrace it. Only then, he says, could they effectively articulate it in the social media space in their own words.

“What entrepreneurs are aiming for is to create dialogue within the social media space through its employees as its immediate ambassadors, and these employees need to be equipped properly on what the brand is, what it stands for, and what it commits to the customer,” he says.

2. Teach staff to respond to negative comments

Jeyapalasingam says they have briefed their staff that if there are any negative complaints, they should accept the complaint and alert their customer service team. It is also important to inform the person that the company acknowledges the issue and will take measures to address it.

3. Hire the right people from the start

From the start, hire people who embody the company culture and who believe in and are excited about what the company is doing. “They’ll do a better job than any marketing or PR company,” Li says.

She adds that while the company does not ask their employees to actively promote the brand on social media, “we’re always happy to see our team share more about their life at Dah Makan with their network on their own terms.” One of their graphic designers, for instance, posted a photo of her Dah Makan lunch on Instagram.

Kalayanamitr says, “Of course, we are always a work in progress, as we try to speak to our team frequently, and I can truly see the team acting, dressing, communicating, and working ‘Oramistyle’ and they are truly our best brand ambassadors.”

4. Be a company that employees are proud to be part of

Kalayanamitr says, “We actually don’t actively ask our employees to promote our company, but have observed that if our company culture or current environment is something our employees are proud of, they share on their own will.”

She says an example of this is their recent Christmas/New Year’s party, where the staff used the hashtag #oramipride or talked about Orami on Instagram or Facebook – and how much fun they were having.