It has been proven that people change their opinions, even behavior, when faced with information from those they trust, or simply believe have accurate insight. It is called informal social influence and is a big psychological factor in an influencer marketing campaign.
People have been using external influencers successfully for this reason. Companies choose individuals or groups of people for the influence they have on others in their niche. Such influencer marketing networks rely on receiving products or services in exchange that they actively promote these to their audiences. Or, they are contracted to sponsor products on a seasonal or permanent basis. It all depends on the relationship between the brand and the influencer marketing network.
Employees also have networks and can become social influencers. Your advantage with members of your organization is that they already have an intimate knowledge of your brand and all its inner workings. If approached correctly, they should naturally become advocates of your brand.
So, before deciding to invest in engaging outside influencer marketing networks, why not start with an employee influencer program instead?
Why it Works
It is a given that by having employees share company content, your company gains access to a larger following than it would by itself. Employees have their own followers, and so your reach is expanded.
How effective is shared content? According to LinkedIn, employee shared content contributed to 30% content engagement. The best part was that only 3% of employees did the sharing. So even when a program is not that well supported, it can have significant results.
Employees help brands become more relatable, bringing the unknown to a level where audiences can truly engage. Think about it, if you were a follower or friend of a small tech startup social influencer talking about the pro’s and con’s of the latest release, you would engage much easier than if the same information was on this company’s official page.
This is because the company is a vague entity, but your friend or the person you follow is not. Sure, you may comment on the Company page. However, chances are the comment would be less authentic than the comment you’d put on the employee’s page. This is the kind of engagement you want to tap into.
Now imagine you are interested in buying this release, or upgrading. What impact would the information have on you, coming from a person you know? Would you be more inclined to act on the company information or the person you know? 85% of buyers look for information from those they trust. Clear, isn't it?
Implementing a Social Influencer Approach in 3 Steps
It is important to have only employees on board that absolutely love your brand and would endorse it because they are sincere. We can all spot artificial enthusiasm, so this goes without saying.
Company Culture is Gold
Having a motivated company culture is the secret weapon to a super successful social influencer campaign. A team mindset is a key to this kind of success, one where members are free to share their initiatives and thoughts. Hiring employees that are motivated by your company goals, and have an attitude that fits with your company culture makes for valuable assets to, not only your team but to the ultimate vision of the company. From this foundation, you should not have any trouble launching a successful social influencer approach.
Encourage and Promote Social Media Engagement
Encourage employees to follow your social media accounts, as well as to share content that they relate to. This will create an ecosystem for your influencer marketing network. Inform your staff about the importance and value their shares have on the stability of the Company. This is a factor that concerns all employees and will move those that are truly invested in your brand to act.
Follow those employees back, and monitor their engagement to see who would be natural and at ease with this step. You will be able to identify those with larger networks this way.
Support the Initiative
Now you need to be there for your team. Create content that is valuable and easily shareable. Chances are that you already have a great content strategy. Identify what needs to change to help your internal social influencers to engage naturally. (Hint: Include them in brainstorming sessions and throughout the content creation process!) Feel free to highlight company successes, and give due to employees where they have contributed. Being vocal in these areas will further encourage employee engagement. Remember, celebrating small wins is important to motivate your team to keep moving forward with your vision.
Considering how naturally your brand can gain trust and traction by implementing these simple steps, doesn’t it make sense to start with leveraging employees before attempting an outsider approach? If you need guidance in implementing these social influencer strategies, we can help you put together the pieces to a successful internal influencer campaign.