What do you think of when you think of marketing? Television ads? Brochures? Social media? When you think of all of these things, who do you envision as the target audience? I’m guessing your answer is customers and potential customers. And you’d be absolutely right. I mean, without customers, you’re out of business, right? But besides customers and potential customers, there’s one group that many marketers overlook, and that’s employees.
While it might not be quite as easy to measure the return on investment (ROI) of internal marketing, it’s very important – especially in this social age where your employees have more of a voice than ever. Social media empowers employees to become either friends or foes of your brand. It’s up to you to either empower them to be brand ambassadors or allow them to fade into the background – or even worse, give your organization a bad reputation. Remember, happy employees are productive employees. And productive employees are INVOLVED. This is where internal marketing comes in.
Whether you like it or not, your employees are talking about you and your organization. They’re talking to their friends and family in person, posting things on social media and going to websites such as Glassdoor.com. Try and make those conversations positive ones by keeping your employees informed. The public is going to listen to people that are on the “inside.” Prevent misinformation from spreading like wildfire by keeping your employees in the loop. Forget the old hierarchal system of information. Be open and honest with your employees and trust them to know what to share and when.
Once you’ve decided to treat your employees as advocates, you need to market to them just as you would the community. Set up communication channels such as social media pages for employees, employee newsletters and emails, or even an internal website (Intranet). This will give employees access to the information they need to help your organization succeed. Make it easy for them to become involved and encourage others. Employee events are another opportunity to get people excited and share some of the wonderful things your organization AND ITS EMPLOYEES are doing.
So the next time you’re putting a marketing plan together, don’t forget about including some internal marketing practices to help keep your employees stay motivated, happy, and informed.
What are some other ways organizations can market to employees and get them involved? Please share your ideas in the comments below.