How internal influencers help humanize your brand
By now, influencers are a well-known part of marketing strategy. Most of us are very familiar with influencers on Instagram who market products like skincare, travel destinations or clothes. But it doesn’t stop there. Internal influencers can mean a great deal for your company. These internal influencers, or so-called ambassadors, are quite important for several reasons: to help humanize the brand and build a relationship with a brand’s audience through both social media and the physical world.
What is internal influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing can be divided into two areas: external (the well-known Instagram influencers) and internal influencers (ambassadors). Although they are both influencers, they’re worlds apart. They both have a different approach and a different goal. External influencers want you to buy specific products as they get paid for by brands, whereas internal influencers are mostly neutral. They’re more likely to be seen as genuine lovers of a certain brand. Think of customers who buy many products from a company and want to spread the word. Or employees who are very happy with the organization they work for and feel the need to share that.
The question remains: why would you need these ambassadors for your company? Let’s take the example of happy employees: it’s proven that when you love your job, you’re better at it. And as most of us spend around 40 hours per week in the office, CEOs value happy, hard-working employees. In the end, they are the ones telling others about the company, which can make valuable professionals interested in a future career with your organization. Think of your happy employees as internal influencers that can help you improve your brand image.
Influencing internally, externally
Using influencers to enhance overall happiness within the company is one way to go about it. The other way is to naturally open up to the outside world. Let your ambassadors share their work lives with their friends and followers via their social media platforms. This way, it’s more likely to reach other professionals and to introduce them to new exciting opportunities and showcase the culture of your company.
Through social media and word of mouth marketing, employees can actually sell a job, a company or a freelance workspace by just throwing an opinion out there. This works the same as when your neighbor, who you really like and trust, tells you that this new vacuum cleaner is the best and absolutely worth the money. You would believe them, right? What if you saw the same brand advertise their new vacuum cleaner on TV with a slick and shiny commercial? Good chance you’ll keep changing the channels and never think about it again. The same goes for a lot of marketing efforts that come across as too ‘salesy’. How well your company message is perceived depends on how you make your audience feel. It is more about emotions than how visually sleek your story is.
Recognize employees as influencers
The real strength of any influencer that is willing to spread the word lies in how they can connect with other professionals and colleagues. Make sure they are present at internal and external events, represent the company, share their experiences and keep pushing the brand. Take the time to carefully select who can function as inspiring ambassadors in their own way.
In the end, this kind of influencing will help companies humanize their brand and build a relationship with their audience through social media in addition to the physical world. When a company preaches to its own choir, it will lose in the long run and will not reach a new audience. Sometimes you just need peer endorsement credibility, with the help of few ‘undercover influencers’, to improve your brand from the inside out.
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