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Dos and Don’ts for Integrating Employees & Influencers on Social Media

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Have you noticed a change in how social media platforms are presenting content?

That’s because there has been. The hunger for genuine content on social media channels is real. Audiences are no longer just scrolling for aspirational, far-fetched content, they are also looking for trust and transparency. This has urged marketers to use social media as a way to pivot their social media content strategies and rely on the dynamic duo of content authenticity: influencer collaborations and Employee-Generated Content (EGC). 

By empowering employees to share their own stories with their social networks, brands can leverage the human side of marketing. Paired with dynamic and personal social media influencers, who resonate with your brand story, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a cohesive social media narrative that not only looks good, but feels authentic too. 

The Authenticity Challenge

This image can represent the real-life challenge of managing both personal and professional online presences.

Balancing personal and professional lives online. This is a common challenge.

The Solution: Empower employees to share authentically with clear guidelines and social advocacy platforms. This builds brand trust, expands reach, and humanizes your message.

Understanding the social media journey is crucial, as it involves transitioning from personal anecdotes to sharing brand-focused content that resonates with your audience.

Let’s explore how leveraging employee advocacy and influencers can bridge this gap. 

The Rise of Authentic Influencer Marketing

The Rise of Authentic Influencer Marketing

At its core, influencer brand advocacy is not a new concept, but the trend is reshaping how companies can connect with their audience at a more personal level and increase brand awareness.

So what exactly is influencer marketing? Think of celebrity spokespersons for major, national products, but on a smaller, more relatable scale. At the highest level, they promote products, services, or initiatives in a way that feels less like an ad and more like a recommendation from a friend.

Why do consumers and brands love influencer marketing? It’s simple:

  • Trust and Credibility: Influencers have built-in trust with their audience. Their brand awareness promotions act like word-of-mouth on steroids.
  • Targeted Reach: Brands can target their exact demographic through the right influencer, making sure their message hits home. A targeting tactic much more powerful than a hashtag.
  • Creative Flair: Influencers share content and bring their unique style to promotions, which not only keeps relatability, but also makes brand messages stand out.

Influencers, with their everyday relatability and personal social media accounts, make brands feel more like a friend rather than a sales pitch. Their shared experiences are lived, which builds authenticity and trust with their followers. This isn’t just social selling, it’s personal storytelling.

The Power of Authentic Voices

Authentic voices not only resonate more on social media, but also, according to studies, authentic user-generated content results in a 29% higher web conversion rate than campaigns or websites without it. This power of authenticity is where employee-generated content (EGC) and influencer content make their mark.

But what is EGC? EGC, or employee-generated content is, at its foundation, content created by employees that are shared across a company’s channels. EGC can include stories about the company’s mission, values, and the benefits of its products or services. These content types showcase the insider views of employees and the vibrant, real-like workings behind a brand.

Together, EGC and influencer content create a duo that, if used to the best of their abilities, truly engages and inspires audiences. But, as necessary for all other social media initiatives, in order to engage and inspire that audience, you have to understand them and their hurdles first.

Understanding Your Audience

The number one obstacle presented to brands today is the fact that social media audiences are overwhelmed by content saturation, leading to selective attention. Content that feels immediately relevant or genuinely captures their focus tends to be the winners of engagement. 

Meanwhile, a kind of perceptual distortion also plays a role. Like with any overly polished traditional marketing tactic, there’s inherent skepticism with sales-driven messages. This skepticism influences how a brand’s audience sees its integrity.

Authenticity cuts through these biases. Genuine content—whether from a relatable influencer or an employee’s behind-the-scenes look—resonates more and boosts engagement. Authenticity boosts not only engagement, but also emotional connection, fostering trust and loyalty in an overly saturated landscape.

Dos for Integrating Employee & Influencer Marketing

Dos for Integrating Employee & Influencer Marketing

Building a successful social media presence requires engaging content and a strong brand voice. This section explores effective strategies for integrating employee-generated content (EGC) and influencer collaborations to achieve your marketing goals for both business leaders and social media professionals.

As a business leader, are you struggling with low employee engagement? A successful employee advocacy strategy can be a powerful tool for boosting morale and fostering a sense of ownership within your company. Empowered employee advocacy on social become brand champions, leading to increased productivity, loyalty, and positive word-of-mouth promotion.

For social media team members, there are ways to expand your brand reach and generate authentic content beyond traditional social tactics. This section explores strategies for identifying and empowering your employees to contribute high-quality content that resonates with your target audience.

Empowering Employee Advocates

Identifying and empowering employee brand ambassadors is a great way to rally EGC and share company content on their personal social channels in a cohesive brand narrative. From my own experience, building employee advocacy programs, I have found that providing comprehensive social media training upfront is crucial to align with our business goals and adhere to our social media policy and social directives.

For example, at a previous employer, I ran a series of workshops covering best practices for channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. We covered content ideation, post optimization, brand voice guidelines, and content marketing strategies. This gave employees a solid foundation and the confidence to be compelling brand ambassadors on social media.

To build a successful program at the ground level, start by pinpointing employees who are already active brand advocates within your company. Look for people posting company content, attending industry events, or frequently engaging with your brand’s social media presence, indicating their potential as a social media employee. These are your natural employee influencers.  

For one program I implemented, we identified a group of about 20 passionate employee advocates this way. We further polished their skills through the training sessions and also developed clear social media guidelines to support overall brand consistency. This allowed them to share personal experiences and insights confidently, while staying on-brand.

The key is investing in these engaged employees. By empowering them with the right resources and creative freedom, their everyday interactions become authentic endorsements that enhance your social media presence and create an internal connection to your audience – a win-win for the brand.

Define Your Marketing Goals & KPIs

Before getting started with your strategy, don’t forget to align employee-generated content (EGC) and influencer strategies with overall marketing objectives. What are your goals with these communication tactics? How will they ensure every social media post drives toward engagement or whatever KPI (key performance indicators) you agree on?

Like any social media strategy, integrating both EGC and influencer marketing requires setting clear social media metrics to track progress and broader marketing KPIs, such as engagement rates, conversion metrics, and audience growth. 

By approaching EGC and influencer initiatives with goals in mind, it is easy for your employees to create a cohesive and impactful marketing strategy.

Researching Potential Influencers

Keeping strategy in mind, selecting the right social media influencers itself involves some important considerations to keep all things brand cohesive.

First, identify influencers based on three overarching factors: reach, engagement rate, and the natural fit with the brand’s identity. 

  • Reach and Engagement Rate: An influencer’s reach (the number of people exposed to the content) is important, but engagement rates provide more insights into how actively involved their audience is day to day. 

  • Natural Fit with Brand Identity: An influencer’s content and values should resonate closely with the brand’s. This will only make the collaboration more authentic and relatable.

And of course, nothing comes free. When it comes to collaborating with influencers, evaluating compensation models and structures is an important step to weigh. Options range from pay-per-post to long-term partnerships, but at the end of the day, everything should align with the brand’s budget. 

 Developing a Clear Collaboration Brief

It’s important to formalize and set your expectations in stone with clear collaboration briefs. These crucial agreements balance creative freedom with brand cohesion.  

Here’s what we recommend that needs to be included:

  1. Brand Messaging and Content Guidelines: At the very least, brands should outline their core messages, tone, and visual style. For example, in a recent influencer campaign, the brand guidelines section stated: Content should reinforce our clean, natural ingredient focus with an authentic, minimalist aesthetic utilizing the approved neutral color palette. Including such specifics helps the content align with your brand identity, while still allowing room for their own creativity and personal touches.

  2. Approval Processes and Posting Schedules: Establish a straightforward process for content approval to keep to timely postings. Define any milestones, deadlines, campaign events or countdowns to keep both your company and your influencer on track. In the campaign mentioned, we outlined a clear approval workflow and content calendar** to ensure a seamless rollout.

  3. Fostering Authentic, Organic-Feeling Collaborations: Don’t be shy in letting your influencers express your brand’s message in a way that feels natural to their unique style and audience, incorporating pre-approved content to maintain brand consistency. Remember, they know how to engage their audience best, and in doing so can boost your company’s reception and engagement.

By covering these crucial points, the collaboration brief ensures a successful and easy-going partnership.

Implementing Best Practices for Employee Advocacy

Like any partnership, building a successful employee advocacy program and advocacy content for social media involves strategic planning.  

We recommend the following tactics for ensuring success:

  1. Social Training and Resources: Give employees the necessary tools and knowledge about social media best practices at the get-go. This will give them the confidence to communicate your brand story online to their followers. Help employees understand what is expected, and how they can contribute to the overarching plan.

  2. Guidelines: Similar to the influencer’s collaboration brief, define what types of content are encouraged and what the overall goals of the advocacy program are. Encourage employees to use hashtags relevant to your brand to increase the visibility of your products and services.

  3. Incentives: Increase participation with incentives or recognition. Based on programs I have implemented, incentivizing employees can go a long way. One tactic that worked well was running a monthly contest for “Best Employee Social Post” and giving away company-branded merchandise to the winner. You’d be surprised how motivating small rewards like this can be!

  4. Content Creation Support through advocacy platforms: Provide templates for social posts in easy to use graphic design tools like Canva or ready-made content prompts for employees to add a personalized touch to. This lowers the lift for employees with already large to-do lists.

  5. Feedback and Recognition: Regularly acknowledge and reward employees for their efforts, fostering a positive company culture. Feedback boosts morale and also helps refine the program itself.

With these strategies in mind, you can turn employees into powerful ambassadors for the brand on social media.

Leveraging Influencer Expertise & Credibility

It’s important to select influencers who genuinely embody the brand’s values and are experts in their field. These unique strengths should harness their audience with a narrative that aligns with your brand. With this, their endorsements will come across as sincere and credible. 

But it’s not all up to the influencer to forge on with the content story; a detailed content policy can guide the narrative. Co-creating content with influencers can significantly boost engagement and resonate even further with target audiences. Leveraging expertise only boosts credibility–and that goes for both sides of the coin.

Continuously Measuring and Optimizing

Remember: data is a friend to a social media pro!

Effectively use social media by leveraging these metrics. This allows brands to analyze and adapt their content mixes and social media efforts.

If certain themes, styles, or copy points generate more engagement or lead to higher conversions than others, the strategy should be adjusted to emphasize on success. On the other hand, areas with weaker performance should be reevaluated or re-strategized.

Adaptation based on insights is the only way to grow and connect on social media.

Don'ts for Integrating Employee Advocacy Programs and Influencer Marketing Strategies

Don'ts for Integrating Employee Advocacy Programs and Influencer Marketing Strategies

Integrating employee-generated content and influencer marketing can be a powerful strategy, but it’s important to avoid common pitfalls.

It’s crucial for employees and influencers to disclose their association with the company clearly in their social media posts to prevent any confusion over whether their content is official brand communication. Additionally, selecting the appropriate social media site for sharing content is vital, ensuring adherence to social media management platform-specific guidelines and maintaining professionalism.

Don't Rely Solely on Influencer Content for Creative Ideation

While influencer content is extremely beneficial, it’s not the end-all-be-all and, at the end of the day, employees are the advocates who know your brand best. Encourage them to share their stories and insights to create a richer and more relatable brand narrative. This provides your audience with a behind-the-scenes look of how the company works on a day to day. 

Don't Fall Into Common Influencer Marketing Traps

When working with social media influencers, it’s important to avoid common pitfalls that, on the surface, seem like benefits, but are really missteps.

Here’s what we recommend to steer clear of:

  1. Prioritizing Follower Count Over Engagement and Fit: Choosing influencers based on their number of followers is not suggested–and can be misleading. Engagement rates as well as the influencer’s values are much more important.
  2. Lack of Clear Communication and Expectations: Don’t let influencers have free rein. Clear communication channels and detailed expectations ensure both parties are on the same page from the jump.
  3. Overly Scripted Content: While we don’t recommend free rein, it’s important to provide influencers with creative freedom. Allow them to use their natural voice and to adapt the message in a way that resonates with their followers (of whom they know best) while still adhering to your brand’s message.

Don't Overlook Challenges To A Successful Employee Advocacy Strategy

Similar to social media influencers, employees can amplify your products and services through their personal and professional social networks. However, employee social media advocacy programs can face several challenges, but with thoughtful strategies, these can be easily combated:

  1. Securing Employee Buy-In: Employees may be hesitant to join in. To avoid this, clearly communicate the program’s benefits and provide the training and resources they would need to get involved confidently. Sprout Social offers all-in-one social media training that can help guide new employees or social media novices.

  2. Maintaining Engagement and Motivation: It’s important to keep employees engaged in the creative process by keeping content suggestions for employee posts energized and fresh. On top of that, recognize active participants’ use of social with rewards or acknowledgments and share success stories company-wide.

  3. Addressing Brand Safety Concerns: It’s important to define clear guidelines around social media actions to protect both personal and professional social interests. To avoid any inappropriate postings or a social media crisis, establish clear social media policies like you would with third-party influencers or your current social media strategy. This should include content guardrails and a review process. 

  4. Gathering Employee Feedback: Use employee feedback on social media strategy and content ideas. After all, they know the brand best! Conduct surveys or polls to understand employee sentiment and content preferences. Employees want to be heard!

It’s important to make your employees feel confident and well-equipped as this will only benefit how your audience views the authenticity and credibility of your brand, thus reinforcing the importance of a defined company social media policy and social strategy.

Don't Neglect Maintaining Influencer Authenticity and Credibility

Preserving the credibility of social media influencers in marketing strategies helps maintain their audience’s trust and enhances your brand’s campaign effectiveness. 

Keep to these key reminders:

  1. Grant them creative freedom within brand guidelines.

  2. Encourage organic brand mentions across social media from their followers.

  3. Avoid overly promotional or sales-y messages can detract from the unique content your brand aims to share. in your influencer’s content.

  4. Maintain the influencer’s relatability and accessibility.

  5. Value the influencer’s expertise and insights beyond content creation.

Creating a collaborative partnership fosters long-term influencer/brand relationships.

Don't Forget Low Unaided Recall

With the help of your employees and influencers, your brand’s ultimate goal in social media should be garnering unaided recall among your audience. But what is “unaided recall?” It’s a consumer’s ability to remember your brand without any cues.

Implementing retargeting campaigns is an effective strategy to keep the brand top-of-mind through whatever platform your consumer visits. These campaigns remind users of the brand after they leave a website, reinforcing brand presence and aiding recall.

Final Thoughts...

By combining the power of employee-generated content (EGC) and strategic influencer collaborations, you can build a robust and authentic social media presence that resonates with your target audience. This guide has explored core best practices and considerations to help you navigate this integrated approach. Remember, managing diverse voices can present challenges, but the rewards of fostering a passionate employee advocate community and leveraging influencer expertise are substantial.

Ready to take your social media marketing to the next level? Contact Social Motto today to discuss a customized influencer marketing strategy for your brand. 

Kimberly Stricker

Kim Stricker, the founder and lead social media strategist at Social Motto, possesses over two decades of specialized experience in B2B social media marketing. Her expertise lies in harnessing the power of social media platforms to drive business-to-business engagement and growth. Kim’s strategic approach blends innovative social media tactics with in-depth knowledge of B2B marketing dynamics, making her an adept at crafting impactful digital campaigns and social media storytelling that effectively connect businesses with their professional target audiences.
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