• Aleksander Mitrovic

Why you should turn your employees into corporate influencers

Who better to present a company than the crowd of enthusiastic employees? Every employee can become an opinion maker for his company. This goes far beyond simply recommending them. Nowadays you turn your employees into influencers. This article shows how this works.


Corporate Influencers

Of course, employees have always been seen as ambassadors in their personal environment. There they were not only perceived as private individuals, but also as part of the employer company. However, until a few years ago, the options for recommending them were limited to family members, neighbors and friends. Word of mouth took place in a manageable framework. It was audible, but not visible. And it was fleeting because it had to be remembered.


Nowadays, what employees think of their employer is articulated on the web and shared with the whole world. Anyone who reads this can in turn spread it on their network. This is why companies need to ensure even more now and in the future that they are among the really good guys. Nowadays, an outsider can find out pretty much everything that goes on behind the scenes at a company. To do this, he visits forums and employer rating portals. Most likely, an internal or alumnus will be found who can provide the appropriate answers. And companies have no control over what employees entrust to cyberspace. For example, YouTube is full of clips that frustrated employees secretly shot or reenacted in the office to expose grievances and misconduct.



Influencers increase reach and credibility


Of course, it also works the other way around: Every employee can become an energetic ambassador for their company and strengthen the employer brand wherever possible. And that can be developed systematically, so it goes far beyond mere recommendation, which is at the discretion of the individual employee. The newfangled term corporate influencer stands for employees who are specifically used as ambassadors by their company. This creates a credibility that exceeds any official statement. Visibility and range can also be increased in this way. Why it is like that? Users on the web will interact many times more strongly with exciting content that comes from people in their networks than with messages that have been broadcast by the providers themselves.


The Stepstone Employer Branding Report recently found that 81 percent of the 6,000 respondents from eight European countries trust advice from people around them. But only 22 percent trust the statements made by the employer. So there is no point in investing too much money in your own advertising because the effect will fizzle out. Better to turn your employees into promoters.



How to turn your own employees into ambassadors


On well-made company websites, not only the companies themselves speak, but also their own employees. You can write technical articles, user stories and blog posts or answer questions. Here are some examples from different industries for inspiration:

  • On the homepage, the employees themselves tell how they deal with specific customer requests and how they design the service.

  • It is not the HR department that explains to new applicants, but rather an employee at his own workplace what the advertised position is all about.

  • No website copywriter, but a specialist from the shipping department explains the packaging process and the seamless supply chain.

  • Interesting information from day-to-day operations is communicated outside via an integrated trainee blog, not through the press office.

  • If questions about the function of a machine come up on the social web, someone from the construction team can provide the appropriate information in the comment field.

  • When it comes to the manufacturing process, a worker explains the individual steps directly from the assembly line via video.

  • A working student demonstrates exactly how an industrial robot works and how working with it works.

  • If someone wants to find out something about the chemical composition of a product, then the laboratory technician has an expert say.

Convinced? Then get started! It is best to let a few interested employees look for suitable opportunities for their own company.



How to train internal influencers for their job


In every organization there are everyday heroes who make you smile or be amazed. They say more about the spirit of a provider than any advertising brochure could. They make a company appear more open, friendlier, more trustworthy, more humane and more credible. Visible and audible employees give the company personality. And freshness. And authenticity.


Everyone can now see: An anonymous company structure with its sterile announcements has been transformed into a living structure of approachable individuals with whom one can talk great. This not only strengthens the reputation in the public, but also the value of an employer brand. And beyond that: people you value and like are attacked much less often than faceless companies.


The younger generation is inherently capable of expressing themselves in a network language. At most, you have to pay attention to an appropriate choice of words. Everybody who want to participate can acquire necessary knowledge at company organized trainings.


The direct involvement of employees brings many advantages not only outside in the market, but also internally: It leads to an increase in appreciation, motivation, commitment, passion and loyalty - even for those who are not active themselves, but follow the engagement of colleagues. In addition: Anyone who is allowed to speak “officially” for their company will not belittle and sabotage it from behind.



Separate yourself from high-handed image films


Take it easy: Get rid of the common employer image films that show companies in all their glory and meet an outdated need for recognition! But what then? Sympathetic short interviews with current job holders are always popular. The more natural they look, the better. A video series showing different job profiles and their range of tasks is also interesting. Time-lapse films that reveal a day in the life of ... can even have viralization effects, that is, spread like wildfire on the web.


Do you doubt your people's acting talents? Do not worry! The digitized young generation is used to standing in front of and behind the camera. You can also quickly find a few people willing to expose among the other employees. The decisive factor: the whole thing must be voluntary. Despite all the looseness, seriousness must not fall by the wayside. A professional shoot should be, but that can now be done with simple on-board tools. All of that takes time and money? True, a bit, but both are well designed - and cost far less than traditional advertising.



More on Employee Advocacy please click here.