Do you really know how your team reflects your company and how you can work together better to boost it with purpose?

We’ve all heard horror stories about company brands being damaged by employees who run rogue on Twitter or Facebook, but the most common issues stem from insufficient training, and/or the lack of a social media policy. It should be clear by now that you can’t hide behind ignorance, finger-pointing or some vague Twitter disclaimer when it comes to social media. Your employees are your brand. They are your voice, whether you like it or not. You need to work with them to effectively manage it.

Five ways to improve brand building with your team:

1) Emancipate your team with clever policy then teach them how to get the most out of social vehicles. You can’t manage what you don’t measure, nor can you expect people to instinctively know what you want. Assumptions in social media and branding are where it all starts to fall apart. Let team members know you value their individual brands. Invest in them, remembering that branding is collaborative.

2) Promote the talents of your people. Lots of organisations fear that giving employees an opportunity to show how great they are might lead to them getting other offers and leaving. The reality is they can do this already. Take LinkedIn Publisher as an example. You need to realise your brand is not a logo, it’s a culture that’s knit individual by individual. The strength of individuals and their cohesiveness is something you must own, not abandon.

3) Define success then recognise it at every juncture. Everything your people say reflects on the business so you want it to be positive. A social business is one that allows social to play a role in every part of how it functions, not just how marketing shares its story. This means everyone should have an understanding of what success looks like. In the majority of cases it’s determined by multiple factors, yet many organisations still have a bottleneck; a social media or community manager that has sole access to the analytics. They might know what success looks like, but how about the rest of the business? How open is your internal social network? Are you sharing dashboards so people can see momentum over time? Do individuals know how their brand ties to yours and vice versa?

4) Harness partnerships. Openness is one of the qualities most valued by customers and partners. The best way to build brand value is through the way you treat the people around you. Brand advocacy is like a snowball. From champion to champion, and channel to channel, you build community. Let staff know how important partners are and share examples of how you work together. Partners aren’t simply supply-chain agents. They are brand validators.

5) Use a brand mentor. Social media gives individuals the opportunity to build a personal brand that adds to your corporate credibility. Your reputation starts with each member of staff but most people lack self-awareness. Cracks at the individual level are only going to be magnified at the corporate one. Self-aware individuals are more likely to make decisions based on values, but because they are in the minority, it’s important to have a brand mentoring program. It’s the only way to tie it all together so you are being true to the image you originally envisaged.

*This post is the second half of Blog coupling where I’m looking at why personal branding matters to business.

– My name is Aaron Crowther. Follow me on Twitter @ascommstweeter

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