internal influencers

Who are your internal influencers and how can you use them to boost engagement?

We all know about influencers on Instagram. These people have tons of followers who engage with them on a daily basis. They are admired which is why thousands of companies try to get their products worn or mentioned by them. Plus they have the power to persuade or change opinions. But these people don’t just exist on social media platforms they also exist within your company. They are your internal influencers.

Why should I care if these influencers exist in my business?

Your strategy should go beyond emails, messages, and notifications. It needs to include people who can promote and reinforce your messages face to face. Influencers are important employees who can have a big impact on your workforce. They are different from company ambassadors because these are usually high performing employees. Internal influencers don’t have to have the best performance record. They just need to have strong relationships with everyone within your business and have the ability to convey your message in a friendly and conversational way. They are usually quite opinionated and are always up to date on the latest news amongst your frontline employees.

Internal influencers are usually nominated by their peers, whereas ambassadors usually self volunteer. The tricky part is actually getting the influencer on board with you. If they are disengaged then the chances of them wanting extra work are going to be slim.

So how do you spot your internal influencers?

#1 Spot the signs yourself – If you have a medium team you can probably see for yourself who is quite influential. Who do you see talking to lots of different people on a regular basis? Who do you see having informal chats with most of the team not just certain people or groups? Is there someone who everyone seems to be very comfortable around no matter who they are? If you have a person in mind at the moment then they are probably your internal influencer.

#2 Send out a survey – If you have a large team and it’s harder for you to spot who is the most influential then send out a survey. Ask questions such as; who do you think is a valuable member of the team? Which colleague would you turn to if you had a family crisis? Who is a co-worker that you would hate to see leave? Who makes you feel most at ease?

#3 Get employees to vote – Ask employees to vote on who they think is the most social person in the business. This will give you an idea of who is viewed as the most connected throughout your teams.

How do you get the influencers to care?

Let them know their worth

Who wouldn’t like to hear that they are the most popular person in the business? Tell them how valuable they are and why you think they would make a great influencer. Now, of course, you are telling them facts, but it is also a bit of ego massaging. It has been proven that showing respect is the key to engaging your employees. Show them that you admire their social skills and they will want to help you out. FACT.

Show them what’s in it for them

If you ask someone to become an influencer with nothing in return, it’s not going to sound like a very enticing offer. You need to let them know how it can help their development in their career. Show them where they could be in a years time if they came on board and help them visualise how it can help them grow as a professional.

Tell them how powerful the role can be

It’s essential that you convey just how powerful the role is. Tell them exactly what your plans are missing without their help. Let them know how they can shape your strategy and how they can transform your results. When you let them know just how important the role is, it boosts their confidence and makes them feel like they have a duty to help. People like power and they like knowing that they have the ability to make or break a project.

How does the influencer take part?

  • Your influencer will take part by giving you valuable insight into what your staff are thinking or feeling. Initially, they can give you a general overview, and then you can ask them specific questions. This helps you understand what the current vibe is amongst your teams. This is usually quite the opposite of what head office think the vibe or culture is amongst their workforce.
  • When you start a project or initiative, include your influencer. Ask them what they think, ask them whether they think their colleagues will be onboard or what challenges they think you might face.

TIP  – You need to make your influencer feel as comfortable as possible so that they really open up to you and share their true, unfiltered opinion of those and their teammates.

  • The influencer can run your ideas past their teammates in more casual settings. Perhaps in a chat at lunch or whilst making a coffee. This will give them more insight into what people are really thinking about your new changes.

If you are looking to improve employee engagement or communications then get in touch. We work with large enterprise companies to help them transform the way their employees work. Virgin Media has already seen a huge ROI since deploying Oplift and you can too. Call us on 01273 778289 email us or book a demo.

Written by Hayley Lloyd

Published 8th October 2019