Social influencers are a massive aspect of many brands social media strategy. However, the arrival and strength of Employee Advocacy is beginning to take over the coveted space. While social influencers have been seen as a great way to develop fast brand recognition, it is a short-term solution to a long-term problem. The social media power of your workforce up until now has been an underestimated and underused tool that employee advocacy is here to change for the better.
The mass demand for “influencers” with their millions of loyal followers has led to a natural increase in the costs for their services and added complexity to the process. For a single post from a high-level Instagram influencer companies can expect to pay in excess of £15,000, for more modest companies this is becoming an enormous outgoing to justify and here we ask is it really worth it? Are celebrity endorsements and influencer advertising as effective as they once were or is it time for a change? The emergence and increasing popularity of Employee Advocacy programs are proving a simple solution and healthy alternative, utilizing employees’ social media profiles and creating true brand advocates.
Social media influencers are no doubt a powerful tool for some brands, but they don’t come without problems. One of the most significant challenges facing influencer marketing strategy is reaching a target demographic, finding the right audience with influencers presents an issue of finding someone who has the correct following; location, age range, education, income just to name a few of the factors that need to be taken into account. While budgets for influencers are set to rise, and not all influencers are charging £15,000 per post, many companies still adopt a flat-rate pricing structure. This flat-rate pricing has caused cost-per-click results to fall by the wayside creating a lack of accountability and a severe dent in marketing budgets. With all of this in mind, marketers need to establish how important these influencers are to their strategy, with the added risk of accounts having ‘fake followers’ to bolster figures one must question how far the marketing reach truly goes.
Arrival of Advocacy
Studies have shown that 84% of consumers are influenced by family and friends when making a decision on a new product or service. This leads to the question of why are more companies not utilizing their employee’s social media channels? Much of the time this is due to a lack of know-how, or apathy toward starting a new project, but this untapped social media power of your companies employees has been proven to be an incredibly useful way to increase marketing reach as well as overall engagement. Why can’t your employees become your new influencers? Although they may not each have a million-plus followers, collectively they can work to generate a tremendous amount of traffic and engagement to your brand and company. Employee advocates become more than just advertising, they become ambassadors and begin to engage with their company and industry helping them develop their own personal brand and to then stand out as experts in their field.
Overall whilst the use of social influencers is still a potent tool for marketers to utilize there is an argument that its costs may begin to outweigh the benefits. Employee Advocacy is seen as a way to considerably amplify your online presence and build a stronger connection with your consumers through an authentic and grassroots approach.