Experts predict marketers worldwide will spend 7 billion dollars on influencer marketing in 2019. Using ambassadors is an essential ingredient in any marketing plan. With millennials making up the largest segment in the work force today, companies need to change ways they present themselves online in order to attract talent. According to Caroline Frisenberg, owner of Frisenberg J. Associates / Kennedy Monaco, making use of your employees’ online branding could very well be the golden ticket.
‘Personal branding is about managing your name in a world of misinformation, disinformation, and semi-permanent Google records, even if you don’t own a business. Going on a date? Chances are that your “blind” date has Googled your name. Going to a job interview? Ditto’.
This quote comes from tech entrepreneur, author and podcaster Tim Ferriss, and he is right. Recruiters will always look up potential candidates online, where ancient tweets and old Facebook pictures can shine a whole different light on a carefully crafted resume. But it works both ways. If a company’s online branding is not up to par, chances are the ideal candidate will never even send his resume their way. ‘Online is where you engage with your audience, and where you not only push your message, but pull your audience in; this includes new talent you hope to recruit and keep on board.’ says Frisenberg. ‘Millennials rely on social media as a source of reference. They value the opinion of others, but are receptive to authenticity. It’s textbook PR really. Off course, you will say your company is the best place to work, but if others say it, it must be true’.
Making use of staff to promote a company’s brand, product or services on their own social media channels is called Employee Advocacy. The employee becomes the brand ambassador so to speak. It’s a new way of marketing, mostly used to entice consumers or new clients. As a recruiter with a big passion for personal branding, Frisenberg thinks this could be used for recruiting purposes too. She is enrolled in a Doctorate in Business Administration at the International University of Monaco and is currently working on her thesis. She wants to further research the effectiveness of this way of online branding and hopes to quantify it with her thesis. She herself needs little convincing however.
‘Dell did this amazing experiment. They selected a 1000 of their global employees, and over the course of a month let them promote the company online through their own individual social channels. They provided them with a library of content like images, videos and stories, but left it up to the employees to decide how to make use of these. This resulted in authentic stories about the company and it’s products. In turn, there was 8 times more engagement with the brand online.’ For Frisenberg it is clear that if executed well, a strategy like this could also work to enhance a companies’ reputation as a cool place to work.
She stresses the value of authenticity. If a company is too involved in the content or the tone of voice of how their employees talk about them online, people will be put off. ‘It’s a matter of trust. If you are worried about what they might say, you have bigger problems to deal with’.
The world of digital marketing is moving fast. What happens if a company fails to jump on the bandwagon? Will they miss out? ‘I honestly think they might. Look at LinkedIn. 15 years ago it was nothing more than a database, and not the massive and powerful platform is was now. Those companies that immediately saw its potential evolved with it, and now have a solid presence there. This allows them to interact with their audience effectively. Companies that didn’t, now often don’t even have a company profile page on LinkedIn, and find the entire concept a bit overwhelming. I am not saying that they will not make it, but they should take on a more pro-active approach. Unless you try, you will miss out’.