Key Findings from Latest Onalytica Research

How to Leverage Your Internal Influencers


How to Leverage Your Internal Influencers

The modern buyer’s journey is changing and becoming more social by the day. At the same time, buyer confidence in brand messaging is at an all-time low. More than ever, consumers (both B2C and B2B) are looking for authentic feedback on social media as part of their decision journey. At the same time, brands are encouraging employees to be trusted voices through employee advocacy programs .

In their recent report, Employee Advocacy 2.0: Leveraging influence to drive a connected organization and employee-led buyer journeys , Onalytica (with help from Tribal Impact) has created a thorough guide to help companies build and optimize these programs while avoiding common mistakes.

Employees are powerful people

The reason that employee advocacy has such an impact is because of the employee’s unique position in the company. They know all the details about brands and products and are generally considered to have valuable “insider information” to share.

“Employees have the potential to be your brand’s biggest champions and can be a vital link between your brand and influencers in the marketplace.”

According to LinkedIn, employee-shared content is considered three times more authentic, and as a result, typically sees click-through rates twice as high as when a company mouthpiece shares the same data.

According to @LinkedIn, employee-shared content is considered to have 3x more authentic CTR, twice as high as when a company mouthpiece shares the same data. Click to Tweet

In addition to increasing reach, engagement, and brand awareness, employee advocacy allows brands to have an earlier say in the buyer’s journey.

The report cites that 85% of customers look for trusted expert content when considering a purchase, and 84% of C-level and VP buyers use social media in their decision-making process. Because of this, most of the buyer’s journey is completed before the buyer is even known to the company, increasing the value of the initial impact. This is reflected in the fact that leads generated through employees have been found to convert seven times more than any other lead source.

85% of customers look for trusted expert content when considering a purchase. Click to post a Tweet

There are also less quantifiable benefits, such as increased credibility and brand trust, and more effective recruitment and retention efforts because motivated, visible employees are help attract future talent.

Brands can’t just buy employee influence

Brands are realizing that employees are a powerful group of influencers they can always reach, but they shouldn’t assume access is control. An employee’s personal influence is only – personal – and usually not for sale. Companies may seek to encourage the sharing of branded content on television, but, unless employees are internally motivated, the full potential of supporting them is lost. Changing the company’s stance on employee advocacy from ‘owned’ to ‘earned’ media is a fundamental and imperative mindset shift. Figuring out what drives employee advocates beyond sharing branded content to creating their own and connecting with outside influencers is the secret to unlocking the power of this program.

‘Staff Advocacy 2.0’ describes the move from Amplify Content to Employee as an Influencer.

Here’s my favorite piece of advice from the report on leveraging your own insider influencers:

Find what motivates employees

In a study conducted by the Hinge Research Institute, 46% of millennials see employee advocacy as an opportunity to develop in-demand skills; 39. 4% see it as access to more job opportunities and 38% see it as a difference from peers. Brands should focus on helping employees develop skills and become more influential instead of seeing them as a marketing channel.

46% of millennials see employee advocacy as an opportunity to develop skills that are in high demand. Click to Tweet

The main ways to do this include:

  1. Help employees identify personal goals that align with program goals
  2. Prioritize branded, “share-worthy”, valuable content
  3. Identify external influencers and engagement opportunities
  4. Provide tools and training to ease your mind and clear your doubts

Help employees define goals

Typically employee advocacy programs are hampered by three main barriers:

  1. Not sure what to share or how to share
  2. Expectations are not defined
  3. Employees don’t see the value of using social media at work

To begin to understand what motivates employees, conduct an assessment, grouping likely successful participants personal directory based on audience size and social activity to allow for customized activation and training efforts.

The idea is to help employees at the same time increase the size of their networks and social activities if that is the desired goal; Not all employees will switch to the ‘influencer’ personality, based on their own motivations and alignment with the company’s message.

Valuable Priority , Content Branded “Share-Deserve”

Integrated Disconnected Employee Advocacy selling on social networks and influencer marketing programs Start leveraging content creation efforts across sales and marketing teams. Focusing on content prioritizes problem solving and innovation using relevant and highly relevant terms that build on unifying themes and lead to more authentic and useful content. Encourage employees to interact with industry content and create their own comments or feedback, rather than relying solely on branded content.

Identify External Influencers and Engagement Opportunities

Each employee has a passion and expertise related to his or her field and role, and this passion is the circuit that connects outside influencers and experts. Facilitating these connections gives employees both the right and a shortcut to starting to build relationships with key outside influencers. Additionally, empowering employees to follow these influencers more closely will expand a brand’s social listening and responsiveness, and help future content creation efforts. more relevant to the target audience.

Provide tools and training to eliminate friction and doubt

One shortcut to avoid is to use the same training and activation for different personalities. Instead, craft training materials and set expectations based on the employee’s current skill set, personal goals, and preferred learning style. Develop a simple and accessible social media policy that articulates expectations and successes. Implement social listening, content sharing, and influencer mapping tools to make this process as easy as possible. Build trust by encouraging C-Suite and senior management to pilot the program to lead by example.

Measure the success of your Internal Influencers Program

Defining desired outputs and outcomes is essential to analyzing program success, but brands must also be patient. Avoid trying to accelerate results through strict KPIs or risk losing the authentic voice that makes employee advocates so valuable. Some of the stats are structured in the table below, but it’s equally important to celebrate the one-off and personal victories achieved by program participants, which are the initial building blocks for those long-term employee support.

Turn these tips into advice for employees 2.0

As you consider your own business, here are 3 actions you can take right away:

  1. Evaluate your content through the eyes of your employees. Does your branded content make valuable employees happy to use their influence to share?
  2. Raise the level of social listening and efforts of outside influencers. Finding and activating employee advocates is only part of a successful program. Can you start building topic centers and influencer lists that will eventually remap employee-specific efforts?
  3. Pilot a program with senior leadership. Where do your senior leaders fit in the personality rankings? Is there a network of influencers you can tap into? What are the basic first steps to modeling this behavior before implementing the company?

These first steps will help prepare the company to lobby and motivate employee advocates. Ready for the next steps? We partner with the coolest brands in the world – let us help you develop your action plan.

By Nguyen Manh Cuong

Nguyen Manh Cuong is the author and founder of the nguyendiep blog. With over 14 years of experience in Online Marketing, he now runs a number of successful websites, and occasionally shares his experience & knowledge on this blog.

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