Did you know that you might have the next Kim Kardashian or Kylie Jenner on your staff?
Though it’s likely that none of your mild-mannered employees have 300 million social media followers piled up –like the aforementioned sisters – it IS possible to turn a team player into a social influencer.
You likely have heard the buzz around the discipline of “influencer marketing.” Though most of you reading this would dismiss this out of hand as a strategy for your company, did you know that no less than Gartner has embraced this idea among its marketing trends for 2022?
So, to be clear – we’re not talking about creating the next global fashion sensation as a means of promoting your business. But, you’d be hard pressed to find a more knowledgeable and loyal bunch than your employees – and they are perfectly positioned to be the centerpiece of your influencer-focused customer engagement strategy.
When it comes to matters of business credibility, nothing is stronger than a personal endorsement from your employees. Employees have higher personal credibility with customers than brands do, and personally endorsing your brand is the most powerful way to reach them, according to Gartner. In fact, Gartner found that by next year, 90 percent of B2B social media marketing strategies will incorporate scaled employee advocacy programs.
More so than speaking up for your brand, in these days of the “Great Resignation,” involving your employees in this manner can go a long way toward improving employee engagement, productivity, and satisfaction – and keep them from exiting stage left.
There are other clear benefits of such an influencer marketing strategy. Employee advocacy programs tend to achieve higher reach and engagement than more conventional approaches to earned and owned social media, and their credibility tends to draw in higher sales and boost profitability.
Corporate leaders can draft employees into the world of influencer marketing in a variety of ways — from creating formal employee advocacy programs, to providing broad guidelines for employees to follow when sharing anything related to their organization.
These programs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they share a common goal — equipping employees to serve as an extension of marketing and communication efforts, while leveraging their unique perspective within the organization to engage target audiences more effectively.
Generally speaking, your guidelines should seem logical and humane, and not smothering or limiting. Here are a few top-level guardrails that I have found to be appropriate:
Also, encourage employees to do more than “like” a post. By commenting on a company post, retweeting/sharing it, and adding on their own perspective, the post is more likely to be read and shared by the employees’ own network.
Make sure you thank employees who consistently comment and share employer posts. Let them know the company has noticed and recognizes their efforts to positively impact the social media strategy.
The research is clear: Companies that engage their employees on social media have experienced significant increases in employee recruitment and seen lower turnover rates. Social media allows employees to connect to their company's key stakeholders and desire to share information creating a win for all.
How have you involved your employees in your influencer marketing strategies? I’d love to hear from you. If I can be of any assistance to you in developing these kinds of strategies for your company, please reach out.