This article is about corporate influencers in employer branding – in other words, how you can use brand ambassadors in your company to strengthen the employer brand. I have summarized my five tips for the first steps for you in this article.
Corporate influencer – the social seller of your employer’s brand
You are a corporate influencer if you, as an employee, support the operational goals of your company on social media (Sturmer, M. 2019). This means that a corporate influencer in employer branding is the “social seller” who “sells” the company as a recommendable employer. The goals of a corporate influencer in B2B, who wants to “sell” a service or a product, cannot be clearly distinguished from those of an “employer brand influencer.” In most cases, both goals go hand in hand. An example of this is a post about a project’s success can acquire customers and motivate future colleagues to apply.
Corporate influencers exist in a company’s most diverse departments and functions, from the CEO to specialists to recruiters. They make an essential contribution to awareness and reputation. Incidentally, the term employee advocacy is also frequently used in specialist circles.
Advantages of corporate influencers
The benefits of the employer brand at a glance, based on Hoffmann, K. (2016):
- Visibility (more reach)
- Better Credibility
- Better reputation/image
- More exciting content and entertainment
- Closeness to employees & collaborators
- Greater internal employee engagement
- Higher employee motivation
- Increase in applicant rate
6 tips for an effective influencer strategy
If you want to develop an effective influencer strategy for your company, here are six initial tips:
1. Find the right influencers
Finding the right corporate influencers can be difficult. Please be sure to look specifically for people passionate about social media. Passion should be a priority. Someone passionate about the topic will do their job well. At best, you’ll also ensure the influencer is a prioritized audience for your business. Choose influencers who are authentic and credible. They should speak sincerely about your business. Finding someone who can reduce their primary corporate workload is also essential. After all, corporate influencer activities cost time! The desire for the subject will quickly fade away if the corporate influencer activity has to be done alongside work. So, freeing the Influencer from other projects in a smaller time frame would be best.
1.1 How to find the right fit for your company
See which employee likes to be on social media. Conduct an internal announcement of plans and/or start a corporate influencer workshop and note who among the participants is most engaged. Of course, it’s also important that the influencer fits your company’s values. But trust me with this: The people who feel like pushing the issue usually identify with the company’s values. After all, people who don’t identify with the company usually don’t promote it. Make sure to sign up one person to do this work. This will lead to failure!
2. Creativity needs space
You must give your corporate influencers the space they need to be creative and authentic. Refrain from restricting them with too many rules or controls – that only signals a lack of trust on your part and takes away any motivation. Just to remind you, your goal is not to create dozens of identical company accounts but to paint a picture of what your company is really like. The more honest and diverse your employees are about their work, the more credible they will be.
3. Action guidelines, yes, but only as much as necessary
That said, general guidelines are essential. Without them, influencers will quickly become overwhelmed. The guide should provide a framework for the type of content they create. A suitable guide could be structured as follows:
- Mission Statement & Mission
- Possible topics
- Time frame and number of contributions
- Dos & Don’t (Best Practice)
- Performance measurement (KPIs)
- Legal framework
At this point, we deliberately refrain from strict social media guidelines that force posts to conform to the company’s CI/CD in terms of tonality or color scheme. We give the influencers freedom – according to the motto – everything can, nothing must! Ensure you act more as a consultant and less as a controlling manager.
4. Like everywhere – time is a rare commodity
A lack of time often prevents employees from actively posting for the company. Researching, reading, writing, and revising takes (working) time. People often need to pay more attention to how much time is behind a single post. That’s why it’s crucial to give influencers a reasonable time frame for the new task and offer an additional incentive if necessary.
5. Set up an internal platform – collect content
Provide materials and tools needed to create and distribute your own content. This gives the employee a voice and lends credibility to the content. An internal platform that aggregates content, such as video statements from the board, company figures, infographics, and project success stories, is one of the most brilliant ways to support influencers in their new role. This platform should be easily accessible and intuitive, with features like discussion forums for feedback, data analytics to track insights and search capabilities to find relevant content. In many organizations, there is a lot to share, but there needs to be proper networking.
6. Networking – a vital factor everywhere
Building and maintaining relationships between corporate influencers is one of the most important aspects of an effective corporate influencer strategy. The best ideas come from a team; it’s crucial to create a “we” feeling and not allow each influencer to feel solely responsible. Group cohesion ensures that the co-op influencer strategy stays alive for a long time. Ideally, a corporate influencer community forms. In addition, the reach is increased by commenting on colleagues’ posts.
Start your influencer revolution!
Developing a successful corporate influencer strategy doesn’t have to be complicated.
Just remember: choose the right people for the team, give them enough time and freedom to create content, provide an internal platform, and ensure networking. With these five tips, you’re already on a solid path to developing a successful corporate influencer strategy! So what are you waiting for? Get started today – there is always time to join the influencer revolution!
Sturmer, M. (2019). Corporate Influencer: Mitarbeiter als Markenbotschafter. Deutschland: Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden.
Hoffmann, K. (2016). Lotsen in der Informationsflut: Erfolgreiche Kommunikationsstrategien mit starken Markenbotschaftern aus dem Unternehmen. Deutschland: Haufe Lexware.