No matter what your company does, branding is an essential component of finding success. It comes in many forms. From eye-catching logos to engaging content, anything your company uses to promote itself under a particular name and aesthetic to potential customers falls under the branding umbrella.
But it isn’t just businesses that feature brands. Individuals have brands too, and this includes your employees.
What is personal branding?
A personal brand is the reputation someone has in their professional field or as an individual. Personal brands often have a strong workplace component. Any time your employee completes projects successfully or works well with a team, they further their personal brand among their colleagues. When they impress clients, they’ve promoted their personal brand to customers.
Personal brands also extend backward to previous employers or educational institutions, where your employee likely left an impression and has contacts they still encounter in person or online.
Personal branding doesn’t have to revolve around a person’s profession. Personal brands also involve hobbies, social groups, and local communities.
How does your employee use their personal brand online?
Any time your employee posts or comments on a social media platform, they’re using and promoting their personal brand, even if they don’t think of it that way.
They might share insights into their field of work. They might retweet things said by people they respect or agree with. They might share events and websites they find interesting on Facebook. All of these engagements can be incredibly useful to both themselves and the other brands they engage with, including yours.
Personal brand vs. business brand
Some employers may look down on an employee promoting their personal brand online on company time, especially when they should be focusing on the company brand instead. However, the two types of brands aren’t interchangeable.
The use of a personal brand is the result of your employee having personal opinions and a desire to express themself and socialize. Using their personal brand gives them the freedom to do this authentically. If you encourage them to use their personal brands in a healthy way, it creates an opportunity to make your employees happier and benefit your business as a whole.
Your employee’s personal brand can strengthen your business brand
We aren’t suggesting you encourage your employees to Tweet about non-business topics all through the workday, but the right kind of personal brand engagement can be a big asset to your company.
Strong personal brands bring better company brand reputations
There’s a reason you hired your employee. They’re experienced in your field, have the right skills for the job, and are likable enough to be a part of your team. All of these factors suggest that their personal brand is worth using as a resource. Their positive engagement with your company’s brand makes you more attractive to potential clients and future employees.
Employee brand engagement creates new marketing content
You can’t maintain an online brand without fresh content. Your marketing department probably spends a good amount of their time creating new blog posts, social media campaigns, and other marketing content. By allowing your employees to engage with existing content using their personal brands, you’ll end up with either new content or new ways to spread what you already have. More visibility is always beneficial.
Engagement makes your employees happier
Good employees want to contribute to the success of their companies and be recognized for their efforts. Allowing for collaboration between their personal brand and your business brand is one way to make this happen. A feeling of engagement is one of the best indicators of employee happiness, and happier employees are more productive. You can create a positive feedback loop that helps you, your employees, and your business all at once.
How to encourage your employees to invest in your business brand
Set firm but friendly guidelines
Obviously, you don’t want your employees to use their personal brands to do anything that might defame the company, inhibit daily productivity, or put sensitive information at risk.
Common sense will likely be enough to prevent most problems, but it helps to set out some simple rules for brand interaction. Ask your employees to protect the company and its image, but be sure to let them know you trust them to do what’s right.
Let your employees access social media at work
It may feel counterintuitive to let your employees freely use networks like Facebook at Twitter at work, but doing so will boost their chances of engaging with your brand. If employees see engagement as part of their workday, they’re more likely to participate than if they’re only allowed to engage on personal time.
Make it fun for your employees to participate in your corporate brand’s story
Your employees are much more likely to engage with your content if it’s enjoyable to do so. The best way to facilitate this is to let them do it on their own terms. Let them pitch their own ideas and brainstorm fun ways to promote both themselves and your business’s brand.
Commend employees who participate in your business brand’s culture
Recognizing the good work of your team supports employee happiness, improves retention, and boosts productivity. Most immediately, it lets your employees know that they’ve done something well and encourages them to keep doing the things you commend them for. It’s a great way to encourage them to participate online.
If a team member, for example, shares a post by your brand along with a personal story, you can commend them at the next team meeting, making them feel good and encouraging other employees to act similarly.
Brand investment goes both ways
While it helps to commend your employees for engaging with your content, it’s even better to return the favor. Just as you are working hard to promote your business brand online, they too are promoting their personal brands and would love to see more engagement in the things they post about. You can help them.
Obviously, it makes the most sense to engage when topics are relevant to your industry, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Maybe you have an employee who volunteers at your local humane society and posts about an upcoming adoption event. A simple share or retweet through your company account might mean the world to them and develop the relationship between you. It also encourages them to do the same for your content.
Let CCA support your team
Striking the right balance between caring for your employees and being professional is hard. The Corporate Chaplains of America are here to help. We offer 24/7 chaplain services to you and your team, so everyone gets the support and care they need.
Contact the Corporate Chaplains of America today to learn more about what we can do for you.