Internet Marketing Association

How to Leverage the Inner Circle for Brand Influence

August 24, 2016

What’s one of the best ways to get the word out about what your company is up to? Get your employees and circle of influence talking.

Word-of-mouth and referrals are the best forms of marketing. You don’t have to pay for it and those who come to you as a result are more likely to buy. The only challenge here is that it’s harder to organically drive this kind of marketing. Sure, you can ask for referrals from your favorite customers, but that doesn’t mean the names they share are qualified prospects.

One area where you can make this work for you is with your employees. With access to social media channels and other viral resources, your employees can become your best advocates to influence buyers in the market. It’s an easier sell as they already like your brand, your products and your service. (If they don’t, it’s likely they aren’t in the right place, but that’s a topic for a different day.)

An engaged staff is your best resource for influencers in the market, but it requires more than just a few people being excited about what you’re doing. It also requires more than an intern to build a social media platform and start posting about the latest happenings. In a recent Skyword piece, the writer suggests that you identify someone who already cares about thought leadership and influence and they already have the motive to do something about it.

This person could be the friendly executive seeking to be effective in this role, and they should find a balance between personal and professional posting on social media channels. Professional opinions and insights are valuable, but so too is the personal context that provides the audience with a look behind-the-scenes.

The right individual may also be the affiliate or someone who has a private following and publically associates themself with your brand. These individuals are not necessarily employees, but they do have a vested interest in your success. By leveraging their placement in the market to promote your value, they influence your target audience and help you drive more successful campaigns.

A Marketing Interactive piece expands on this concept, and the power of the digital influencer. These individuals are typically amateurs with full-time jobs who are only doing brand endorsements on a part-time basis. Unfortunately, without a clear strategy and like-minded expectations, these arrangements can lead to frustrations. Therefore, it’s advised that you look to your culture to determine whether you want micro or macro influencers, and if you want a release rather than a restrict strategy. Release allows for a specific end goal, while giving the influencer creative freedom.

When putting this strategy in place, you could use happy customers and pair them with employee influencers. This creates a fun mix to drive the best engagement. Just to be sure, put digital monitoring in place so that your brand is represented well and you stand a better chance of reaching your marketing goals. 

Edited by Alicia Young

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