You might think that nothing could be further from corporate Internal Communications than Kim Kardashian West promoting sunglasses on Insta, or Zach King posting a TikTok of a flying broom, but you’d be wrong.
Taking a small leaf from the book of the massive corporations who pay social media stars to promote their products, one of the most cost effective and powerful tactics you can employ as part of your internal comms approach is to establish an influencer network across your organisation. Even more powerfully, we know that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, and customers referred by a friend are a whopping 4x more likely to buy.
So, when it comes to spreading the word about your digital platform, comms tools and engagement applications, it’s time to employ some of these well proven marketing techniques and establish a network of internal influencers, or digital champions.
It all starts with great content
Your champions need their product to promote. You need to establish your content, seed your channels and ensure you have the breadth and depth in place for the audience you are trying to attract.
Start an outreach programme
To identify and engage your digital champions you need to run a very specific campaign to draw them in. Try starting with an incentivised campaign that offers a voucher or other reward for the first ten people to comment.
If you have just launched a new intranet or communications hub this is a great way to get people engaged with conversations. You cannot underestimate the impact that a small number of keen employees interacting with content, creating their own, liking and sharing will make to the long-term success of your digital communications platform.
Once you have established traffic to your hub, you need to dive into your analytics to understand whether people are reacting, commenting and having conversations.
Celeste Headlee, radio broadcaster said, ‘The irony of being a good conversationalist is that talking isn’t the most important piece; listening is.’ To ensure the conversation is flowing you need to listen in and look for opportunities to introduce content that responds to the themes and concerns that are being raised.
Ripple’s Campaign Dashboard displays word clouds to reflect sentiment reactions for campaigns, as well as giving you the opportunity to examine sentiment in more detail by looking at comments and reactions. Good insights will also show you who of your users is most engaged over time. Ripple identifies the top influencers based on their creation of content and their engagement with others.
These are your long-term digital champions.
Contact top influencers directly for feedback
Once you have an idea who your champions could be, don’t be afraid to get personal with them. Contact them directly to ask them what interested them about the campaign and, if they are willing to help, get their feedback on the platform more generally.
Reward their effort and input by giving them recognition. You could offer that they name the platform or be part of a launch presentation. Bring your influencers close and you will be rewarded with activity and followers.
Create focus for your campaigns
There are lots of ways that you can continue to use your digital champions to develop your communications hub, but all of them involve bringing your champions into your planning and decision-making process to some extent. It’s vital that you don’t play lip service to these influencers and ensure that you are taking genuine action as a result of their input.
- Send round a poll or survey by email – try Microsoft Forms, or something like Typeform
- Start a dedicated instant messaging channel or text group
- Have a workshop via your video conferencing software
- Share a collaborative document for raising thoughts, ideas and questions
- Put together a task list on your company’s project management tool
Give people a sense of ownership
The most powerful thing you can do is to engender a feeling of ownership in your digital champions.
Ask how they might be able to contribute, in developing ideas, content or even monitoring or administrating groups or chat forums. Give your influencers responsibilities and the tools to deliver on them. That way, they will tangibly own a part of the internal communications output and will be much more likely to have a long-term interest in keeping the conversation flowing.
You already have a team of champions in your business. Your challenge is to identify them, give them recognition for their value and, finally, to tap into all that potential.
To find out more about Ripple, get in touch.