Influencer marketing hit the marketing world by storm - where it was initially a strategy deployed by big brands that could afford to partner with big celebrities to advertise and spread the word about their products and services, it has evolved rapidly into a "we need to do that too" tactic. Social media has supported this development by opening the doors to an influx of new influencers, and the options are now more diverse than ever for marketers - the world of influencers now ranges from the celebrities with millions of followers, professional bloggers and YouTube stars with tens of thousands of followers, to the micro-influencers with up to 5,000 followers and everyday social media users.
Not all influencers are created equal though; and bigger is not always better. Millions of followers are not an accurate indication of real influence, nor are the number of tweets, posts, likes or shares. The true value of an influencer lies in the level of trust he or she has earned from their audience and the ability to drive them to take action. And no segment of influencers is more neglected in this area than a company's employees - a segment of micro-influencers that enjoy innate trust and immediate influence that can significantly impact the opinion of your target audience.
As you might be thinking about how to gain access to a wider audience and how to expand the reach of your message and content, give your employees as advocates serious consideration. Trust that they can have a great impact. At the same time, be selective as there are certain prerequisites that make an employee a good or not so good candidate.
To get you started on the right path, consider the following 3 points to determine if they are the right fit:
1. Are they already on social and active? An employee that has no social presence or is not active, in effect has no influence. They might be an expect in their field and enjoy a great following IRL, but building a social presence take time and is not guaranteed.
2. Do they have a passion for and point of view on a topic that relates to your business? Some employees are very socially active, yet they should be known to be active and vocal in an area that pertains to your business. Effectively, they need to have built credibility and a voice before they start speaking for you so it is authentic.
3. Are they connected to influencers valuable to your business? This is important because as they become increasingly active on your behalf, the potential of your message or content landing on the feed of an even bigger influencer is invaluable. The potential for exponential amplification without much effort on your part is what you want.
So, although many brands and companies have a fear of tapping their employee pool for social amplification and influence, for they might say or do something 'off brand,' it's the one segment of influencers that can be highly beneficial to your business...with very little investment.
In an average company, only three percent of employees share company-related content, but they are responsible for driving a 30 percent increase in the content’s total likes, shares, and comments.