How to Make Brand Ambassadors Out of Your Employees

Wouldn’t it be nice if your employees were also your brand ambassadors on social media?

Do your employees feel comfortable talking about your brand online? Wouldn’t it be nice if they were also your brand ambassadors on social media? Many companies have succeeded in empowering their workers to become brand ambassadors, and Adobe is one of them. In fact, many of the brand’s 11,000 employees are actively influencing sales and building customer goodwill. In this article, you will find out just how they are doing it.

Here are some stats on the Adobe:

Twitter: 430,523 followers
Facebook – 310,227 likes
Google+ – 689 486 followers
Instagram – 107, 283
Youtube – 43,466 subscribers
Pinterest – 49,605


  • According to Social Look, Adobe has the highest percentage of employees who are sharing content about Adobe on Twitter than any other tech brand in the world.
  • 20% of all Adobe Cloud subscribers come from social media
  • About one third of Adobe’s 11,000 employees have undergone Social Shift training for becoming brand ambassadors.
  • One of Adobe Photoshop’s brand ambassadors was able to generate more revenue than Photoshop’s official Twitter account.

It all goes back to 2013, when the head of Adobe’s Social Media Center of Excellence, Cory Edwards, was trying to come up with new ways to use social media to boost sales. Being an experienced corporate social media professional, he knew all about the difficulties that come with trying to get senior executives to be more active on social media.

All of that changed when he saw the Edelman Trust Barometer which showed that there was a decrease in the trust in CEOs and an increase in the trusts in the brand’s employees. He immediately understood that employees can have incredible untapped value and that by encouraging and empowering them to promote their brand, Adobe can achieve amazing results.

First step: Assess employee advocacy

The first step Adobe took was the assessment of employee advocacy through the SocialLook leaderboard. It allowed the company to see the employee advocacy through Twitter accounts. The SocialLook measurements come from Twitter bios that mention a company the person works for. Even before the brand started putting in any effort into it, they were already ranked 4th among tech companies. That rank rose to #3 when Adobe begun implementing programs to encourage employees to share on social media and later went on to hit#1 just a few months later.

Here are some great strategies Adobe used. They are great tips that can empower employees to become active brand ambassadors.

#1: Use hashtags to make it easier

Hashtags can make sharing info about a brand much easier. Adobe uses the highly successful #adobelife hashtag to make it easier for the brand employees to share and promote the lifestyle that comes from working for Adobe. Natalie Kessler, the head of Adobe’s employment branding, came up with this hashtag and designed a plan to have the hashtag plastered around any event that the company held for its employees.

The brand constantly encourages its employees to add the hashtag to any of the photos they take at these events or updates they write. They even use small incentives to further encourage the employees to share and use the hashtag.

#2 Train your employees

The second step involved making the employees feel comfortable enough to not just post with a hashtag, but to also talk about the brand. Many employees were not sharing because they were afraid of violating any guidelines or being punished. Therefore, Adobe made sure that their employees knew all of the social sharing rules.

Train your employees

The company’s annual Seeds of Innovation competition provided the grant which paid the Social Media Center of Excellence to develop special training programs for Adobe. This type of training, known as Social Shift training, is based on three “gears” of graduated training, with each of the levels being directed at employees with different types of job responsibilities.

Adobe wants all of their employees to complete the first level training, which is geared towards people who could share company-related content through their own social media accounts. The in-person training session lasts for two hours and covers the four pillars of social media: authentic, responsible, involved, and respectful. All the pillars are explained in detail and people are given an opportunity to react to real-life scenarios. Students are also asked to brainstorm and apply the principles of all of the pillars to come up with a correct approach.

The training program is extremely interactive and involves in-person training. Adobe has taken it a step further by creating the “train the trainer” program that lets the program spread to all of the other global area. The company also created a virtual training session which could be used for small sales offices in remote areas.

#3: Trust employees to use their judgment

The training program that was designed for Adobe is not platform specific and does not have strict rules or how-to’s. The brand trusts their employees’ judgement and merely gives them the necessary guidelines that can help stay safe while discussing Adobe.

At the very beginning of the training, the employees are shown the Edelman Trust Barometer which illustrates to them just how important they are to Adobe’s success. Every worker is considered a brand ambassador even if they don’t take part in any branded social media accounts. The employees also get the extra benefit of acquiring valuable knowledge they can use for their own personal brands, not just Adobe. They are never restricted in their use of social media.

#4: Find employees who can do more

Adobe does post-training surveys to find workers who are ready to do more. There are always plenty of these. In fact, 20-30% of all employees who finish the first “gear” training express interest in the second and third levels of the program.

Find Employees

The second gear helps the Adobe employees further improve their social media strategies. The people are taught all about social media, and how they can manage and monitor their accounts. This training is obligatory for anyone who expresses the desire to create a branded social media account.

This second level of training also involves a lot of hands-on activity and interaction, just like the first “gear” training. The Adobe employees work in groups to build a social strategy based one of of the example scenarios.

The third level of training teaches individuals how to use social media to accomplish important business objectives. They learn how to provide customer support, raise awareness, generate leads, etc.

Mitigating risk

Adobe makes sure that all of their social media accounts are secure and risk-free. To do this, the brand uses only IT-managed email accounts for all brand social media accounts and prohibits the use of any personal credentials, such as the employee’s’ personal or even work emails. The IT department also uses a secure management system to keep track of all account credentials. Everything an employee does for a branded account is done through Adobe Social, a social media management tool set up by Adobe. When a worker sets up an account, it is done through Adobe Social, and the same is true for when he or she leaves. At that time, the Adobe Social tool lets the IT department remove the employee’s administrative access.

There are more rewards than risks

Although there are some risks to having employees actively engage in social media, the rewards greatly outweigh the risks.

A great example is Julieanne Kost, one of Adobe’s brand ambassadors and big Lightroom and Photoshop evangelist. She created a blog and a Twitter account featuring all of the tutorials she does during her travel conferences and road shows. Now, she has 41,700 followers and more subscriptions coming from her account than from Photoshop’s official branded one. As of today, social media influences 20% of all leads that Adobe generates on the Marketing Cloud as well as 20% of all Adobe subscriptions to Creative cloud. It’s incredibly important!

What about your company? Are your employees active brand ambassadors.for your brand? How do you encourage them and make them feel more confident in talking about your brand on social media?

Whether you are just getting started with Social Media or are looking to take things to the next level, we are here to make a positive difference. To get started, schedule a 30 minute interactive session where we can answer some of your biggest questions and give you direction on how to accelerate your online efforts.


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