Some of Your Best Social Media Influencers are on Your Payroll
Earlier this year, I wrote about social media micro-influencers, and how those individuals add value to a marketing campaign. The core benefits of micro-influencers are their authenticity, niche-specific content and highly engaged followers.
While using micro-influencers in marketing is still trending, the idea of folding in a company’s own employees as advocates and influencers is regaining steam.
Employees and social media advocates first popped up on my radar in 2015, with an article from Fast Company that declared that the information shared by friends and colleagues “are almost always better received than blasts from corporate accounts.” Reading the same statement in that article now, I think it’s safe to say we can delete “almost”.
The results of research from Sprout Social shine a light on the power of employees-as-influencers. More than 60% of those surveyed said they would be more likely to research a product or service that a friend recommends on social media, more so that influencers, celebrities or the brand itself.
Macy’s Style Crew
New York-based department store Macy’s has notably embraced the employees-as-influencers approach with its Macy’s Style Crew, which was tested with 20 employees and is now open for applications to participate from all staff, in-store and corporate. Those selected to participate will have diverse personal styles reflected in their unique posts; however, Macy’s also provides sponsored content for their Style Crew to share.
James DeJulio, president of branded video company Tongal and Macy’s partner in this venture, sums up the “why” behind leveraging employee as influencers, noting that outside influencers do not always get the brand. He goes on to say that by taking people who have Macy’s authority and Macy’s voice allows the company to create, grow and support their own marketing asset.
While messaging strategies, influencer audiences, numbers of followers and so on contribute to successful social media efforts using employees, one fundamental imperative is having the “right” company culture. If employees are engaged with the company and enthusiastic about their work, they will want to share the company’s social media posts with their own networks … and that willingness to share results in authentic posts.
The other fundamental is simply this: a social media effort using employees absolutely has to be voluntary with a commitment not to judge or penalize any employee who chooses not to participate. And don’t let that commitment go unsaid; often employees will think that if they don’t participate, they will be cast in a negative light.
KGB-ers on Social
I am blessed to lead a company whose senior leadership considers a positive company culture a must. It makes a difference every day. It’s also led to many of our team members happily sharing the agency’s social media posts, as well as clients’ posts, on their own networks. And as CEO, it’s always great to see our team members proud of our brand and the brands we passionately represent.
Curious about incorporating your employees into your social media efforts? Let’s have a coffee and chat! Email me at Katie@kgbtexas.com or call 210-826-8899.