Do your employees post about their jobs? One way to allow employees to share your brand with lower risk is to create an employee influencer program. Find out why brands are turning to in-house advocates and what steps to take to set up an employee influencer program.
What is an employee influencer program?
Often started by the PR or marketing team, employee influencer programs turn trusted workers into brand advocates on social media.
Positions, which can be volunteer or paid, turn designated employees into public-facing promoters. Although the messaging is sometimes guided by — or at least approved by — higher-ups, the initiative is designed to put a fresh face and voice behind the brand.
The content is often shared through employees’ personal social media channels or the company’s social media accounts.
Why is an employee influencer program beneficial?
Ideally, when designed with transparency at the forefront, consumers know the influencer’s connection to the brand but still trust the content to be authentic and engaging. The Edelman Trust Barometer found that employees were the most trusted and credible spokespeople for addressing customer issues.
Employees are familiar with their company’s products and services, which makes them the ideal influencers for any business.
4 steps to set up an employee influencer program
How do you get started? Review these tips to help you evaluate, plan and implement the initiative.
1. Gauge employee interest
The first thing you’ll need to do is find out who’s interested in being a social media influencer for the brand. You want someone excited about being a public voice for the company.
If you’ve set the parameters for compliance and agree that content needs to be approved before going public, you can offer more freedom to an eager employee to create unique content. It is common to compensate employees in some form. They might earn an extra paid day off, for example, or have their smartphone bill partially paid each month.
2. Consider platforms and followers
Figure out who might reach your target audience with their existing social media accounts. You’ll want to look for company employees who have an active account on your desired platform.
That said, don’t focus solely on the number of followers an employee has. Nano-influencers who can speak to your niche audience can produce higher engagement rates than those with tens of thousands of followers who have gained followers due to name recognition or their position at the company.
3. Look at engagement — from the employee and their followers
Are their followers sharing, liking, commenting and clicking on links? Does the poster respond to comments? Do their tone, style, and voice match what you’re looking for to promote your brand?
Take some time to thoroughly research and understand potential candidates’ approaches to social media.
4. Cover logistics, legalities and expectations
Logistics can cover the basics, like how frequently to post, the type of content you hope to see and how to respond to comments appropriately.
Legalities should be kept brief and focus on big-picture matters, such as who owns the content, compensation, FTC guidelines and what will happen if the employee separates from the company.
Setting up an employee influencer program doesn’t have to be overwhelming. With the right influencer and guidance, your brand may be able to expand its reach with a fresh perspective and unique voice.
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