Last week, we released The Ultimate Guide to Employee Influencers by DSMN8 as a free download. Whether you’re looking to research the topic, start your own program, or are in the process of doing so, The Ultimate Guide is to serve as an all-encompassing assistant to take you through all things employee influencers.
In a sentence? Everything you need to know to turn your employees into content creators and brand advocates for your business.
For those who have not yet downloaded/read it, here are four of our key takeaways.
1. Buyers Want Trust and Authenticity from Brands
It’s no secret that the public’s perception of marketing and advertising has changed. Buyers are more switched on to/wary of traditional marketing tactics than ever before, as they become adamant about making their own minds up.
In light of recent events surrounding the likes of Cambridge Analytica, awareness of data capture and ad-tracking are significantly heightened. People are becoming more in-tune with advertising tactics and taking steps to ensure they are not bothered. So much so that 26% of desktop users and 15% of mobile users use ad-blocking technology, which is a massive hit on the investment companies put into display ads.
Who can blame them? In an era of fake news and falsified stories, it’s hard to trust anything without taking a deeper dive, so why would they trust a company that seeks to sell them something? The question is, what can be done to restore trust among consumers?
In its purest form, employee advocacy is the promotion of a company or an organization through its employees. Employees advocating for your brand is a fantastic way to share your content and brand messaging in a more organic manner, as statistically, 92% of buyers are more likely to trust the recommendations of someone they know over any form of branded content. LinkedIn also reports that when employees share, they make double the impact of your brand marketing with an average click-through rate that is twice that of their company.
Not only are employees more likely to generate precious engagement such as clicks and further shares, but they’re also collectively able to reach a much wider audience. The average employee will have approximately 1,180 connections across all social channels, so if even a mere 100 employees share your content, you have a huge opportunity there to expand your reach to an audience of 118,000 people.
Buyers say they trust content from friends, peers, and family above any other forms of brand messages, so it would seem to be a no-brainer to get your employees talking and creating for you. Many companies are empowering their most influential employees to share and create company-related content, incentivizing the process to reward consistency and drive motivation.
Writing blog posts can be both time-consuming and strenuous, and remains a tricky practice at scale for organizations both big and small. However, written content remains an essential factor in boosting your site’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ranking and driving organic traffic. It also allows companies to exercise industry knowledge and cement a place as a thought leader in their field.
Crowdsourcing written content from your employees is an excellent way of scaling your content efforts while adding a more authentic perspective.
Sourcing relevant photo content can be just as challenging. Most companies rely on their social media manager to take photos at events, but naturally, they can’t be everywhere at once. Allow employees to capture special moments from within your organization, and submit them for company use!
2. How to Create Content at Scale
Whether you’re a global company with tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of employees, or a smaller company, creating content at scale seems to become ever more challenging in the social media era.
Before social media, there was little-to-no need for mass amounts of content. Companies will have had websites to update, blog posts to publish, and various other relatively manageable outlets.
However, the meteoric rise of social media has left brands somewhat stumped, and CMOs across the globe have been left scratching their heads, wondering how on earth they are to put out more than a hundred pieces of content per day. Of course, one hundred is something of an exaggeration, but if you adhere to the likes of Gary Vaynerchuk, you’ll want to get moving.
Many companies will have a dedicated in-house team of content creators, challenged with graphic design, photography, blog posts, and much more. Some brands will delegate this work to third party companies and agencies, but run the risk of pushing content of a lesser quality because third parties won’t know the industry/company well enough to add value.
So, you need more content creators, just hire some more, right? Well, what if there was a more cost-effective way of doing it? Step in your employees. No, not only your social media manager or content creation team, any and all of them.
With an employee influence platform like DSMN8, creating and sharing content at scale will become easier than ever before.
Getting employees to create on behalf of your brand may require some incentives, but what better way to do so than by tapping into the competitive nature of people? Gamifying the process! Award points, create leaderboards, offer prizes, all of which will spark something of a buzz around the office. Rewards can be anything from Amazon vouchers to event tickets. If you’re incorporating leaderboards and rewards at a larger company, consider regionalizing or departmentalizing them, people are more likely to take part if they feel they might just win!
3. The Future of Influencer Marketing
In recent years, the star-studded world of influencer marketing has seen continuous growth and at a rampant rate. From A-list familiars the Kardashians to fighting-favorite Conor McGregor, social influencers have been an invaluable asset to brands hoping to increase awareness, drive engagement, and increase revenue.
The use of social influencers doesn’t appear to be slowing down, and many reports show that many brands intend to increase their spend on social influencers in 2020. But with changes in public attitudes to social media and heightened awareness of these advertising tactics, will they be as effective as ever? Marketers and advertisers are beginning to rethink who the most effective influencers are.
Due to well-publicized influencer blunders and new rules regarding how social influencers are allowed to advertise, even the best behaving brands are having to suffer for the sins of others. Social media spares no one, and the public has taken notice, so much so that only 4% of people say they trust what social influencers say online.
So, what does the future hold for influencer marketing, and what will replace social influencers in the age of false advertising? Well, fear not, influencers come in many shapes and forms, and often those with smaller followings can be the most reputable, authentic, and engagement-driving of the lot.
In its simplest form, monogamous influence is an influencer that advocates for one brand per industry. The use of Monogamous Influencers will be vital in restoring trust with brands as maintained relationships with brands promote authenticity. Customers are less likely to believe a celebrity endorsement if they’ve previously advocated for multiple competitors of said brand.
A micro-influencer is one who has a smaller following than is typically sought after from brands, and they tend to specialize in one industry/niche. However, though their audience may be smaller, they can have significantly more influence. The reason for this is that among their followers, they are seen as an industry thought leader. As a result, their followers tend to be more engaged and aware of the industries and products that they endorse. They are also more likely to engage with their followers by having conversations and responding to queries.
Have you considered that the most reputable and authentic ambassadors in your company’s industry might just be your employees? After all, employees aren’t forced or paid more to promote their brand. So what could be more organic than them choosing to do so on their own behalf?
Of course, employee influencers are also incredibly cost-effective, and will gladly create and share content on behalf of their company as it can significantly benefit their personal brand. However, if you want to incentivize the process, opt for the previously mentioned gamification techniques, and you’ll be inundated with employees both creating and sharing on behalf of your company.
4. The Buyer's Guide to Employee Influencer Software
Okay, so there may or may not be some degree of bias here, but we believe that if you are looking for a best-in-brand employee influencer platform, you should look no further than DSMN8… Okay, if we put that bias aside, we’re here to help!
Before implementing a program within your organization, you must first identify which features will be most useful for your company, and which will play a detrimental role in its continued success.
Not every vendor will offer every feature that you’re looking for, so take note as here’s a helpful list of what we believe to be the essential success-driving elements of any employee influencer program.
Okay, so we can’t give away all of our secrets for free.
However, if you do want to continue reading the buyer’s guide, receive a free checklist, and become an expert in all things employee influence, you can download your free copy of The Ultimate Guide to Employee Influencers. The guide also includes free infographics, a business case, and so much more.
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Senior Marketing Manager and Employee Advocacy Program Manager at DSMN8. Lewis specialises in content strategy, growing brand visibility and generating inbound leads. His background in Sales lends itself well to demand generation in the B2B niche.