Recently I presented to a group of 250 marketers at a London conference on “branded content”, one of the newest buzzwords in marketing.  All of the other speakers at the conference focused on how to develop content for consumers – an extension of a traditional marketing campaign. In many ways, this is just another way to dress up content as an advertisement or a marketing message.

To provide a different perspective on content marketing, I spoke instead about the power of brand ambassadors, namely using your own employees to produce and amplify authentic content about your company and products.

The reaction from pretty much all of the marketers in the room was “what a great idea!” As I had suspected while putting together the presentation, this is an untapped area for many companies. The notion that you would trust your own employees with your brand seemed quite foreign to those in the room.

During the talk (which you can watch below) I compared the power of a paid social media influencer with an employee that you already pay. In my previous role as CEO of influencer platform Kred, I helped brands find influencers to promote their products, so I am well aware of the process of engaging influencers, sometimes with free products, and sometimes for a fee in return for favourable mentions.

With your own employees, as you are already paying them, and if they like where they work and are passionate about the company, then they can become even more valuable for your marketing program.

Of course not every employee will want to assume this role, however for those who have a passion for your company and product, giving your employees an outlet for their passion on public platforms such as social media can drive even more loyal and engaged employees.

From my own experience, when customers can experience happy and engaged employees, either in person or on social media, this leads to happier and more engaged customers.

Who doesn’t want to buy from a company where the employees are proud of where they work and happy to say this publicly?

In summary, a smart brand advocate program can help turn employees into advocates, and happier, engaged employees can translate into developing loyal customers who become social advocates as a result.

What plans do you have for your own employee advocate program? Why not harness the power within?