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“Your employees are your best advocates” – Gap agrees

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 15th March 2012

Clients, colleagues and prospects will have heard me utter this phrase – “your employees are your best advocates”. The concept is simple. In a digital world, where everyone is sharing, your employee base is a wonderfully rich communication channel for your business.

And this is a message that clothing giant Gap seems to be taking to heart. PR Daily has reported on the Gap social media team’s latest update to employees where it outlines its social media guidelines.

But it was the title of the guidelines themselves that really stood out for me:

“OMG you will never believe what happened at work today!!”

Now, before you run scurrying to dust down your social media guidelines (or ask your friendly technology PR agency to write you some), it is worth noting that Gap isn’t advocating a free-for-all here.

The guidelines contain all the usual advice about transparency, thinking before you tweet and public/private concerns. But it is the general thrust of the scheme that is intriguing.

Gap is saying to its staff: we trust you and we want you to be great ambassadors for our brand.

Time for B2B to stand up and take charge

While this is clearly a B2C example, I think the idea of employee-led social media sharing is perhaps even more pertinent in the B2B space.

Over the last few days I’ve been running social media training for the UK employees of one of our tech B2B brands. Attendees ranged from sales and marketing, to support and product development. What really came home was that these guys are out there on social channels already and have well developed communities.

For the vast majority, this is via Linkedin. But that’s nothing to shy away from – some of the connections they have are significant, powerful influencers in the community.

So encouraging the use of advanced Linkedin features, such as status updates and apps, could have a very positive ROI. At the same time, encouraging the development of similar communities on other networks can only be a good thing for the business as a whole.

So take heart from Gap. Trust your staff. And mobilise them into a powerful social sharing force!

Danny Whatmough