How Hershey Encourages Employees to Show Off Their Sweet Jobs

If you're looking for a multiplier effect on your brand's content, look no further than your workforce.

The Hershey Company, like a growing number of brands, is embracing employee advocacy programs as a way to pull back the curtain on life at the company, helping to improve recruitment, retention and reputation.

The giant chocolatier has devoted an Instagram account (@HersheyCompany) to celebrate its employees, who in turn use the platform to celebrate the company by showing what it’s like to work there. The combination of photos, videos and Boomerangs with the hashtag #ImHershey and #HersheyLife has extended the brand's reach far beyond traditional content marketing tactics in a fun, engaging way.

Hey y’all! I’m Salma Patarroyo, a member of the Global Consumer Insights team, Spicy & Grocery champ and proud Hershey employee. Swipe through my #InstaTakeover to see what it’s like to work at Hershey Mexico! I love to bake and enjoyed making this S’mores cake – I believe food brings people together and everything tastes better when shared. You can always find something to eat at the Insights’ corner better known as the #FoodiesCorner! The marketing and Insights team gets together after our training week and we enjoy our early morning view from the office. Due to the time difference, sometimes we have early morning meetings and get to see the sun rising right in front of our eyes! Not to brag or anything but we have the best view of the office! ?: @salmap16 #ImHershey #HersheyLife

A post shared by The Hershey Company (@hersheycompany) on

Notice how the brand uses captions in the employee’s own voice, adding an extra level of authenticity and personality to the posts. Using the #InstaTakeover format has earned Hershey around 1,000 likes for each post, and 174,000 followers. 

Hey everyone, we’re interns in the Hershey Bentonville office! Swipe ➡️ to see our #InstaTakeover. The Arkansas office works directly with Walmart, where the company was founded and their home office is just down the street from us. We all work with different departments: 3 work in Category Management, 1 in Shopper Engagement, 1 in Global Customer Capability and 6 in Category Strategy Insights. We love our small office down here – it’s a fun group of people and great town! Last week we got to travel to Hershey, Pa. to see the home office. We loved being able to understand how the company operates from a larger perspective. Highlights from the trip included a visit to the Global Customer Insights Center where we tested virtual reality, and touring the @MiltonHersheySchool! Thanks for following along! #ImHershey #HersheyLife

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Do you want to encourage your employees to be brand advocates? Here’s an excerpt by Michelle Jamieson from Green Door Solutions, who shares some best practices for employee advocacy in The Book of Social Media Strategies & Tactics.

Want to learn more from The Hershey Company? Join Hershey’s Anna Lingeris at PR News' The Digital Communications & Marketing Show, Oct. 17-19, 2017.

  • Clearly define what “being social” means within your brand. Create employee guidelines and policies that outline how to effectively and safely participate in the online conversation within the brand’s standards.
  • Create a positive environment where being “social” is encouraged. Demonstrate through key leaders in the business that being “social” is accepted and encouraged. When employees feel confident that they are able to express themselves in this way and know how to communicate the brand online, they will more likely be engaged and work effectively to be a vital part of the online conversation.
  • Develop training sessions that will highlight best practices for effective social contributions. Training is also an opportunity for recognition and further engagement of employees who are performing well in regards to their participation in the online conversation. Information-sharing sessions can be a great way to make employees feel like a vital part of the organization as well as allow for up-to-date product/service information to be shared with employees, in the hopes that these details and updates will then be shared online.
  • Provide feedback and reports about how effective “social” employees are on a regular basis. Positive reinforcement for a job well done will encourage those involved to continue to succeed and can encourage others to become involved. Review the programs and the process in which you are engaging your employees to be “social.” This will allow you to better incorporate employees into the larger conversation and the overall marketing plan.

Connect with Samantha: @samantha_c_wood