Corporate influencers – what, how and why?

A laughing woman on the sofa by her laptop

A laughing woman on the sofa by her laptop

Corporate influencers Corporate influencers – what, how and why?

Published on 04.10.2022 by Tanja Herrmann, Managing Director of WebStages GmbH

Communication has changed. Once upon a time, a publisher was needed – now all it takes is a smartphone.

This means the group that communicates has also changed.

At the touch of a button, employees share on social media their opinion of their employer or developments in their sector with the entire world. You might not like it but you can’t ban it.

But first things first – what are corporate influencers, how do you select them and what should they post about?

What are corporate influencers?

Corporate influencers are employees who share information about their company on their personal social media profile. They communicate in their own words about their employer, their sector and various work-related topics.

Conversely, there are what are known as “clone warriors”. They copy all their employer’s messages and share them unchanged via their personal social media accounts. They are barely distinguishable from bots.

Companies wishing to work with corporate influencers need to show enough courage and trust to give their employees the freedom needed.

Who should you choose as a corporate influencer?

Though it might sound obvious, you shouldn’t just choose young employers just because they are social media savvy. Far more important than social media skills is knowledge of the sector. That’s also highlighted by the Edelmann Trust Barometer. Academic and technical experts are the most trusted information providers.

Corporate Influencer graphic

This is exactly why corporate influencers from all the different company units are needed to reflect the organization’s diversity in all its facets.

What content do they provide?

Corporate influencers usually decide for themselves what to post about. The most obvious thing to share is their own opinion on sector topics they’re familiar with.

Most corporate influencer programmes are found on LinkedIn. But Twitter, Instagram and some blogs or podcasts also provide exciting platforms.

Regardless of the platform, the more personal the posts, the more successful they are. But no-one should ever give away more about themselves than they’re comfortable with.

What goals can a corporate influencer programme pursue?

The goals can be divided into three areas: human resources, marketing and customer service.

In terms of HR, the programmes are mostly used to support recruitment and strengthen employer branding. In marketing, the focus is on lead generation and raising brand awareness, while customer service creates personal points of contact and therefore a further source of improvement for products and services.

Trust is good, training is better

When corporate influencers are active for the company, this counts as work time. But being active on social media on behalf of the company during working hours doesn’t mean losing freedom of speech.

Followers ultimately choose people they feel a connection with because they have a mind of their own, not just for their content. That’s why posts by employees generally generate significantly more interaction than posts by the company.

Companies wanting to benefit from these effects need to foster a culture of trust. Otherwise even the best strategy has no chance. As economist Peter Drucker says, culture eats strategy for breakfast.

Tanja Herrmann, Managing Director of WebStages GmbH

Tanja Herrmann is Managing Director and founder of WebStages GmbH – a social media and influencer marketing consultancy in Zurich. The team works with customers including Migros, Basler Versicherungen and Rausch. She is also an event organizer for the largest social media marketing conference in Switzerland – WebStage Masters – which attracts over 500 people to the Dolder hotel each year.

Portrait Tanja Herrmann

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