The major social media players like Instagram and YouTube have dominated and continue to have sizable roles in the digital marketing landscape. If you regularly use either of these websites, you likely understand the impact of influencers and their paid promotional efforts for brands of all kinds.
The biggest influencers, including — but not limited to — athletes, actors, models, and reality show stars, attract millions of social followers. Plenty of companies reach out to these celebrities, paying them handsomely to advertise their products and services. In many cases, their investments pay off, and these brands often become more widely recognized.
Even though these macro-influencers can bring in substantial amounts of revenue, not every company can afford to pay the $300,000 fee that Distractify reported that David Beckham charges per sponsored post. Instead, businesses have noticed that micro-influencers can have a similar impact at only a fraction of the cost.
The Benefits of Leveraging Micro-Influencers
When it comes to social media engagement, how many likes, retweets, and favorites your posts get is important — but it’s not everything.
According to a study from Markerly, an influencer marketing tool, Instagram accounts with less than 1,000 followers typically receive likes on their posts from an average of 8 percent of their followers. Meanwhile, users with over 10 million followers get likes from only 1.6 percent of their audiences. The research also found influencers with 10,000 to 100,000 followers typically have the best reach and engagement rates.
Some of the most under-utilized micro-influencers you can use are those that don’t have to be outsourced. Your own employee can make a significant impact on your business’ social media marketing strategy. Case in point: Branded content typically reaches 24-times more shares when posted by an employee of the organization rather than an outside micro-influencer.
If you aren’t sure how to develop an employee advocacy strategy that transforms staff members into brand evangelists, here are some proven ideas.
Offer Incentives to Your Staff
Even if your employees are excited about the idea of becoming brand advocates, their enthusiasm might die out if they put in extra work without a reward. There are plenty of non-cash rewards that can go a long way with your staff. For instance, throw a contest every quarter that rewards the employee that has received the most amount of likes, shares and overall social engagement during this time. Some potential rewards you might offer include gift cards to coffee shops and restaurants near the office, a prized trophy, and even the highly coveted extra vacation day.
Create an Employee Community
Just as you will leverage your micro-influencers to help promote your products and services, you will need to sell your employees on the idea of becoming brand advocates. A reward system isn’t enough to retain active micro-influencers on your team. Work to develop and maintain a community in which the micro-influencers in your organization can get together and collaborate on ways they can improve their personal branding strategies.
A monthly employee advocacy meeting that occurs during working hours might be just the right collaboration method needed to improve your employee advocacy strategies. During this session, employees can bounce ideas off each other, sharing ways they have succeeded and ways their posts have fallen short over the last month. This collaborative environment serves as an open forum, a brainstorming session and a safe space in which your micro-influencers can speak candidly without worrying about how they will be perceived by higher management.
Don’t Fret About Posting “Failures”
Unless the employees you’ve recruited are social media experts, they might not be able to generate an exquisite amount of engagement every time. Sometimes, they might create a dud of a post that results in minimal engagement. Don’t let this get their confidence down.
Many micro-influencers share content from time to time that doesn’t achieve the buzz it normally gets. Failure — which seems like a strong term for these unsuccessful efforts — is inevitable in posting content and the development of a brand. Engage and train your micro-influencers to decide where the post went wrong and provide them with insight on ways they can improve their content sharing tactics or avoid making the same future mistakes.
Promote the Importance of Thought Leadership
By encouraging your employees to become micro-influencers, you are motivating them to have a voice in the industry. Whether or not they realize it, your employees are creating a brand within a brand when they decide to promote their company; they are becoming a brand unto themselves. As they gain popularity among industry professionals on different social channels, they are securing influence as a thought leader.
Whether they are at the bottom of the corporate ladder or somewhere in the middle, thought leaders have plenty of impact that can translate to corporate mobility in the long run.
Implement Employee Advocacy Strategies
One of the most effective ways to encourage your employees to become micro-influencers and enable them to produce and share the most on-brand content for your organization is to implement an employee advocacy program. This strategy provides your employees and executives one centralized library that they can use to create, share and review branded and industry relevant content.
An employee advocacy platform can help improve transparency in the workplace while allowing employees to view the most relevant content that is specific to their organization’s industry or goals, which they can then share with their engaged group of followers.
Empowering your employees to become micro-influencers can effectively promote your brand at a fraction of the cost it would take to outsource a team of influencers. These brand ambassadors offer a variety of perks, from the tangible — increased revenue and higher lead conversion — to the intangible — improved brand reputation, employee engagement, et cetera.
Looking to get your employees sharing on social? Arm them with this handy one-pager of what types of content to post on which networks: