Making a Good First Impression
Understand That Your Staff Is Your Best Publicity Asset
By RUSSELL TRAHAN
Throughout the business landscape, countless days and hours are spent on the hiring process — rifling through résumés, conducting phone and in-person interviews, and vetting potential hires — and for good reason. Company payroll budgets only contain so much flexibility for new employees, and selecting the correct individual to fill an open position involves much more than just ensuring their competence in the role; your new employee is also joining the best weapon in your company-wide publicity arsenal: your staff.
Your selection of staff should go beyond just the tangible skills they bring to the office and their ability to complete projects and achieve goals during the workday — it should also include their talent for recruiting and driving business when the day is done as well. Your salaried or commission-based employees — present and future — should recognize the value of out-of-office networking skills and practices, as even simple interactions after hours or on the weekends could potentially engage new customers or clients.
It is for that reason that you, as a manager or business owner, should consider the people you employ an essential component to any of your publicity efforts, because they are often your establishment’s first impression and top recruiting asset once the lights go out for the evening.
There are multiple best practices for instilling a sense of off-the-clock commitment in your present and future employees, and utilizing them to foster a sense of organizational pride will work wonders in your efforts to bolster your company image. Online, in person, and over the phone, your staff should recognize their value away from the office.
The Social Ovation
Incalculable business relationships are now created and nurtured in the social-media stratosphere, and acuity in this area can be an accurate barometer for real-world success. Along with your business’ online presence and activity, your employees can boost your impact in the social-media arena by broadcasting company-wide or individual accomplishments from their personal profiles. This can be as simple as a sharing a blog post that a staff member is particularly proud of or that garnered an extensive degree of attention, or actively promoting any sponsored events or appearances.
Client or customer bases can be developed through your employees’ relationships, especially if they are sufficiently pleased with their individual contributions and the level of work coming out of your office to show it off. Regularly recognize and applaud their performance in the office, and they may be compelled to share it outside the office — chiefly on their social-media platforms. A fulfilled employee is an employee that enthusiastically wants to share your achievements.
Word of mouth is often the most powerful form of promotion or advertising, and your staff can be the premier vehicle for this type of reputation enhancement.
The Business Card Is Timeless
There is no action in the business world more common than the time-honored tradition of exchanging business cards. Even with a shift toward Internet centricity and networking, every executive should always have a business card on hand, which should contain their array of online links and contact information.
Employers should encourage their staff to keep a few cards at the ready. Any chance interaction outside the workplace can quickly shift into a professional conversation, and a casual swap of business cards Saturday night may result in a new product order or contract Monday morning. Many things will change in the business environment, but the business card is a timeless object that will remain a fundamental networking component.
Maintaining a Convention Game Face
Regardless of your primary field or industry, chances are you will send out staff representatives to attend a conference or convention on your company’s behalf at some point. Effectively working a booth is an imperative skill that your employees need to possess to ensure that you receive a tangible return on your sponsorship investment.
Part of making an appearance at a corporate convention a fruitful one is the overall demeanor from inside the booth. Your employees should understand the value of simple, conversational engagement with those who stop by. Not everyone will want to secure your services, but they should all be treated as such. A smile and a simple greeting to passersby can be the easiest route to increased booth traffic and solid sales leads at the event’s conclusion.
E-mail Etiquette Has No Day Off
With the culture of connectedness that was ushered in by the widespread adoption of laptops, tablets, and smartphones, your salaried employees are now within reach at all hours of the day, every day of the week.
When receiving work-related e-mails or text correspondence while away from the office, your staff should remain acutely aware that in-house etiquette still applies, and not allow themselves to slip into casual text-speak or a tone they may utilize on their day off. Improper e-mail decorum is an immediate strike against company credibility, so make sure you instill in your workforce the importance of proper electronic communication.
Your product or service is only as good as the people you have onboard. When your employees and associates realize and appreciate their value to your operation and the role they play in actively promoting your business, the more cognizant they become of their actions when they leave the workplace. When you impress upon your staff their importance to the company and their influence on overall accomplishments, you create a workplace culture of collective input and shared success.
When your employees realize their fundamental position in your business, they ardently become an extension of your publicity undertakings, and make a point to contribute even when they are away from the workplace. n
Russell Trahan is president of PR/PR, a boutique public-relations agency specializing in positioning clients in front of their target audience in print and online. PR/PR represents experts of all kinds who are seeking national exposure for their business or organization.