It is impossible to go a day without someone mentioning “influencers” or “influencer marketing” — it has become the buzzword of the moment, and companies seem to consider it a magic bullet for brand awareness and sales.
Here is what is missing: human connection. As much as you may be dying to know what diet powder one of the Kardashians is taking to give her a flat stomach, you’re not really connecting with them on a relational level.
Social media, email and texting all are tools we use to stay connected to each other, but ironically, it has accomplished the opposite and we are disconnected more than ever.
Let’s take a break from influencers and shift our thinking.
When people interact with your business, their first impression is based on the dealings they have with your employees. This includes everything from how the phone is answered, to how a visitor is greeted when arriving at the office, to conversations at networking events or a run-in at the grocery store.
Clients who have positive experiences with your employees are inclined to stay on and grow their relationship with you. If your employees love what they do and who they work with, they are willing to go above and beyond in customer interactions. This results in loyalty, which cannot be bought through influencers.
The benefit of utilizing your employees as brand ambassadors is extensive; businesses will:
- Increase awareness of the brand
- Improve brand position in search engine results
- Make it easier for customers to find you
- Improve the brand’s ability to hire the best job candidates
- Elevate employees who are recognized as thought leaders to engage external audiences and create digital content
Creating employee brand ambassadors is much more than launching a program; your core values need to be defined and then be lived by leadership. This affects culture and turns employees into fans. Businesses need to create a culture that is focused on strong customer service, loyalty and fun.
At the end of the day, people do business with people they like. The digital age hasn’t changed that and influencers will never truly be your brand advocates.