How to Activate Employees as Influencers and Brand Ambassadors

Kimberly Surico |
 08/06/19 |
4 min read

How to Activate Employees as Influencers and Brand Ambassadors

Not all employees are suited to be active on behalf of your brand online, but many are. Here’s how to identify and activate those employees as influencers and brand ambassadors.

What are brand ambassadors anyway? Super niche influencers that have created organic followings due to their expertise! And you know what influencers are, in general. Ambassadors are an important subset of the category. You likely have a few of both types working in-house. Let’s find them and get them working online for your brand.

Criteria for Employee Influencer Success

Interacting on behalf of your brand online can be empowering for certain employees – and a nightmare scenario for others. Assessing how they communicate online is super important, considering. And you can do that in NetBase.

Querying which employees have hobbies with corresponding websites and business profiles on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube is step one. Caging it as a potential business opportunity will be important, as folks may be reluctant to share. And making participation optional is good too, as you don’t want to drive anyone into hiding. Be sure to add some sort of incentive for blending these two worlds, to encourage participation. You may see more employees lining up to join as your effort gains momentum.

You should also ask which employees are active with public accounts on Twitter, Tumblr and Reddit – and open up participation to those folks as well. Twitter and Tumblr can be added to your channel capture dashboard, and snagging a Reddit influencer is a win for any brand!

Important note: When classifying a Tumblr blog, be sure to enter its current name and any previous names.

Capturing partnered channel data of employee influencers

With the ability to add up to 500 Owned or Partnered channels, you have plenty of capacity to evaluate potential candidates. After each individual has authorized their connections in NetBase, just enter the channel handles for each. You’ll have access to up to 27 months of post, comment, replies and reblogs and other insight.

And now you can review how well they communicate online and how engaged (or not) their audience is by what they post.

conversation summary of influencer posts

most engaging employee influencer posts

Identifying Influencer Engagement Channels

And the above is all for naught if there isn’t a match between your employees’ online activity (and comfort level) on specific channels and that of your target audience.

If your employee influencer candidates are Twitter pros, but your audience is predominantly interacting on Instagram, you don’t want to release them on Twitter en masse. Otherwise, you’ll have multiple, seemingly promotional, voices dominating the conversation about your brand on that channel. And if your audience on a particular channel is small, you want to slowly grow it – not scare it away with an overly aggressive approach.

So be sure to sort out where the conversations are happening. Both at a brand level and category level:

source trends, showing where influential audience is talking

Activating Employee Influencers for Interactions

Once you understand where conversations are happening – and what those conversations are, you’re ready to encourage a select few of your potential employee influencers to interact for you. And do it as part of a trial run. Be sure to set clear guidelines around do’s and don’ts. This is where a social media policy is essential.

Avoid crafting specific messaging for employee influencers to use though. Nothing looks less authentic than a team of people tweeting out the exact same brand message. Instead, have a shared messaging area where you post blogs, events and product features you’d like each to share about your brand. And offer general talking points that require rewording. Also set criteria for post frequency. You also do not want over-eager participants ruining their online influence by spamming followers with brand messaging.

As you’ve already hinted toward rewards for their efforts, be sure to have a plan in place for that. Maybe you have an influencer package already in place for use with external folks that you could consider tweaking. Or attach participation to extra vacation days, or bonuses for exceptional engagement. Adding it on to existing responsibilities may not be the most motivational choice, but you can certainly build it in to job descriptions moving forward too.

Attaching rewards to clear metrics will be easy to do though. Because you can monitor influencer engagement pretty distinctly in the tool:

Cross-channel summary to evaluate employee brand influencer activity against each other

top channel conversation to see where influencer posts are resonating

Monitoring Employee Influencers without the Mess

Granting you access to their social channels might be a sticking spot for them, particularly if you’re attempting to monitor social interactions outside of an analytics tool. Fortunately for you (and them), you’re gaining access to only what they allow.

Maybe they’re okay with you capturing data from their Twitter account, but their business Instagram account feels too personal to them for whatever reason. They can grant access accordingly and know that you’re not really IN their account, scrolling through their direct messages. Rather, you’re viewing it from an analytics tool that captures a general sense of what is/isn’t working from an overarching social sentiment standpoint.

You can share the “per post” engagement image above, and also the Converged Media snapshot, that shows Earned, Partnered and Owned metrics as your master view:

Converged media, showing Owned, Earned and Partnered content stats

And then drilling down to explore the posts and mentions that make up your brand sentiment score, for example:

Exploring the posts and mentions that make up your brand sentiment score

And even down to the fluctuation summary to explain that dip in sentiment on July 27th to see what (and who), specifically is driving it:

Fluctuation summary to investigate brand sentiment shifts

This could also help you decide if there’s an opportunity for one of your influencers to help redirect these kinds of conversations in the future. And it offers keywords you may like to set Any Mention alerts for moving forward.

The point is, the data is meant to be instructive, not intrusive. And the more you can demonstrate its practical usage to your potential employee influencers, the better they’ll understand their contribution to it and want to participate.

Reach out and we’re happy to walk you through lots of neat data points you can share with your internal team to have them lining up to join you online!

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