TORONTO, May 9, 2017 /CNW/ - In today's digitally connected world, companies are recognizing the value of empowering employees to become passionate brand ambassadors through social media.
The Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) Toronto hosted a panel discussion on April 25, 2017 to explore the growing trend of leveraging employees to share stories through social media.
Mary Keating, Senior Vice-President and National Practice Director, Technology Communications at Hill & Knowlton Strategies, moderated the panel of award winning communicators. Panelists Mary Pretotto, Director, Digital Employee Communications, Rogers Communications; Michele Kostya, Director of Training, Hootsuite; and Priya Bates, President, Inner Strength Communication Inc. discussed the benefits, risks, and rewards of building engagement by encouraging employees to promote the company and brand through their social networks.
When asked what they considered the key message from the night, each panelist had the same answer. Start internally. "I think the key element with social media is to really have a plan, and have people focus on internal social media. You need to have a strategy and ensure you're measuring along the way," said Priya Bates.
Mary Keating highlighted the value of empowering employees to become brand ambassadors. "We have seen a lot of studies done about the drop in people's confidence in brands these days, and at the same time, the confidence in friends, family, and networks, rise."
The panelists were in agreement in regards to the change of influences in marketing. "I think a lot of companies today are actively pursuing this because they are realizing their employees can be their biggest advocate out there, and can really share stories; whether it's about attracting new talent, or getting out the great things that they are doing," said Michele Kostya.
Inevitably the conversation led to the possible risks involved with employees representing their company via social, and how to overcome these barriers. "Employees fundamentally are scared to share on social because they don't know what to do. They don't know what the rules are. They don't know what the gain is. So it's our responsibility as communicators to teach them what the rules are," said Mary Pretotto.
Despite any risks involved with employees on social, the panelists pointed out the importance of trusting employees to represent their company's brand. "A lot of conversations that I have with organizations, that are scared to step into the space, is if we talk about trust, and we talk about respect, how can we say we don't trust you," said Priya Bates. Michele Kostya added "You hired these people in the first place, so hopefully you hired the right people. You can trust them. They are already talking to your customer, they are talking to each other, and they are already talking to your stakeholders, and your partners."
As for the future of employee social brand ambassadors, Mary Pretotto offered some insight, "The compass is pointing, literally, to employees. And I think that as communicators, if we don't start sharing that message internally, we are going to miss that boat; it's going to be too late to join on to it."
Find out more about future CPRS Toronto events on their website.
Tori Morency is a writer at Milestones Public Relations and a volunteer for CPRS Toronto.
Founded in 1948, the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) is a not – for – profit organization whose members are engaged in the practice, management or teaching of public relations. Members work to maintain the highest standards, and to share a uniquely Canadian experience in public relations. CPRS is a federation of over 1, 800 members across 14 member Societies based in major cities or organized province-wide
SOURCE Canadian Public Relations Society
For further information: Media contacts: Jenny Shin, Director of Professional Development, CPRS Toronto, T. 647-286-8584, E. firstname.lastname@example.org; Tina Romano, Co-chair of Professional Development, CPRS Toronto, E. email@example.com