How to Cultivate Influencers Inside Your Company

Written by Ben Connelly

Dec 10, 2021

Sometime in the last ten years, social media influencers went from fools who waste their time online to successful, independent entrepreneurs. Now, Fortune 500 companies partner with them on marketing campaigns. 

Perhaps, you’ve thought about hiring influencers to promote your own brand on social. Maybe you already have a few on retainer. 

But have you ever considered the power of the influencers who already work for you? 

Budding Social Media Gurus Work in Every Field

In any company with a sizable workforce, there are almost certainly a few employees with very strong Instagram or TikTok presences. Chances are, you already have a few workers who fit that description inside of your company. 

We’re not talking about people who work in social media marketing. They have important roles to be sure. But the employees we’re talking about work in product design. They work in maintenance. They work in logistics. They work on the accounting team or maybe in HR. A few of them probably work in customer service. 

These employees could be anywhere in your company. But because social media is not part of their job description, and because they did not list “50,000 Twitter Followers” on their resumes, you may have no idea what they do on social media. Perhaps you’ve never considered that – rather than a workday time-waster – their Facebook or YouTube account might be a valuable asset to you.

Some of these employees may harbor dreams of social media solopreneurship themselves. Yes, that means they may be dreaming about leaving your company someday to become influencers. But rather than feel threatened by this, what if you allowed them to pursue their passion within your business?

Most of the employees in question are probably young: Gen Z or late Millennials. But not necessarily. Don’t overlook those older and mid-career workers who got on Facebook back in the early days.

 

Don’t Ignore Skills and Talent

Social media isn’t just a time-sink anymore. It’s an important avenue for connecting with an audience and getting the word out about a product or service – or really about anything. And these days, cultivating a massive following takes work. 

Instead of ignoring talent, recognize ways in which your employees’ Facebook presences can be valuable to you. What if you encouraged their social media activity? Including on the job? 

Instead of discouraging them from taking time out of the workday to mess around on Instagram, you can allow them to pursue their passion, while also supporting your business goals. If you incentivize them to put their online creativity to work for you, your company could see results (tangible results in the form of measurable sales increases). 

 

Added Wins

Letting your workforce rep your brand on social on your time (or on theirs, if they’re so inclined), could be the boost you need. 

You might not even need to hire any outside influencers. All the talent you need might already exist on your payroll. At the very least, any influencing your workers do will complement the influencing you pay solopreneurs to do for you.

Best of all, by allowing your people to pursue their passions within your company, rather than outside of it, you can retain them. By letting them do what they enjoy, on your time, you discourage them from seeking opportunities elsewhere (whether that means flying solo or working for a competitor). Many will be grateful. They’ll love it. They’ll jump at the chance to rep your brand on social. These employees will become your company’s best advocates. 

It’s truly a win-win situation. The best representatives of any product or service are the people who love their jobs and truly believe in the work their company does. By looking within your workforce for social media sales ambassadors, you can improve company morale (and therefore recruitment and retention), boost sales, and decrease your outside marketing budget. 

The moral of the story: if you’re looking to hire influencers from outside your company, make sure you look inside your company first. Don’t overlook talent in your employees. Instead, let them contribute that talent. Rather than punishing them for getting online during the workday, reward them for putting their skills on social media to use for you.

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