In 2014, around the world, experts and bloggers agree on the importance of marketing content and its influence in social media for organizations.
As advertising and traditional media sometimes no longer meets consumers’ expectations, businesses and brands become their own media, and now plan their presence as web publishers on social networks. To stand out from the endless stream of content and information, and retain the attention of customers, companies need to be creative and focus on the quality of user experience.
Organizations must adopt new approaches to business, enhancing employee engagement and customer service. Seeking recommendations from leaders in social media, more companies are able to integrate notions of influence in their marketing campaigns, as well as in communications and public relations. We have thus seen the emergence of two new types of influencers: Office Ambassadors (also called Office Influencers), and the Social Media Influencer Reporters (SMI Reporters).
Social Media Ambassadors: A New Role for Business Leaders
However, if interest in influencers (or ambassadors) continues to grow for companies, it is nevertheless important to distinguish between the objectives of marketing communications and public relations. Companies must also avoid falling into the trap of only considering these influencers as “commercial facilities.”
Instead, organizations and businesses should seek to establish a mutually-trusting relationship with influencers. If influencers are recommending a product or service among their online communities, they must have complete confidence. To fully convey the intended message, they must first understand and adopt the vision and culture of the organization. Companies should avoid trying to control the message as well as exploiting users’ social platforms as spaces for inclusive advertisements (native advertising). Do not confuse infomercials and sponsored content.
Build a Strong Business Vision
To ensure good ambassadors, choose among leaders in your industry and have clearly defined objectives from the outset.
Above all, when it comes to creating staff ambassadors, look at your employees to determine the levels of adoption among different platforms. To make sure you choose the right ambassadors, conduct a thorough contextual analysis of the various candidates, and determine whether their content and scope of their online communities correspond to target clientele. Ensure your staff and their level of leadership skills meet the specific context of each campaign or promotional activity. Various tools, such as Traackr allow for a thorough analysis of influencers.
Be sure to also provide an environment conducive to socializing, the expression of ideas, and encouraging a creative approach. And, make sure they feel supported, valued and appreciated in their efforts. It is therefore essential to involve, from the outset, all relevant departments, from sales to marketing to customer service and public relations.
It’s also best to remain flexible and open to changes and plan for the possibility of errors. Rather than trying to control the message, work with the team of ambassadors to develop goals.
Influencers – Reporters Replace Traditional Media Relations
There has also been an emergence of a new role for social media influencers: the SMI Reporter. With the shifts in advertising, companies are now more often seeking influencers to cover corporate events. Gradually, these new “influencer reporters” are replacing traditional media relations.
Several American and Canadian colleagues, who recounted their new experiences as influencer reporters, have also revealed their satisfaction with their collaboration with organizations. In Quebec, over the past few months, various agencies and companies have approached me and entrusted me to be an influencer reporter for their launch, conference, or corporate events. At every opportunity, the experience has resulted in a great success for both parties.
As a consultant and influencer reporter, I recently worked with the committee organizer of CONVIVIUM 2014, the National Day of Industry Meetings (NDIM). Organized by the Montreal – Quebec Meeting Professionals International’s (MPI) chapter, the event brought together nearly 120 planners and organizers of events, conferences and conventions at the Fairmont Chateau Montebello, to analyze the pulse of new trends in the industry.
This experience showcased how a satisfied and motivated staff, who feels involved early in a campaign, can become the best ambassadors online as well as powerful tools for the success of a corporate event. The extraordinary participation of the all-volunteer team of students from ITHQ (Institut de Tourisme et d’Hôtelerie du Quebec), under the supervision of Suzanne Bédard, was a shining example throughout the day. The dozen young volunteers from the school of hospitality provided effective on-site support to the committee organizer and technical team, while working closely with those at the Fairmont Château Montebello, to provide participants the best conditions and environment.
As an influencer reporter, I also had the pleasure to contribute with a column on my website and social platforms, helping effectively reach participants (nearly 93 % participation) through social networks. During the day, I also had the chance to attend several very interesting talks, especially with Maxime Boilard of CANU, Christine Gagnon, and François Lanouette (Hôtel Hilton, Québec), President of MPI Montreal – Quebec.
Judging by the comments and enthusiastic reactions from those encountered from those who attended the event, it was a success. For me, it was another experience that has shown me once again that the new influencer reporter role social media can bring fruitful dividends for the influencer (or ambassador) for the organization. And, this goes far beyond regular compensation or sponsorship offered by companies or agencies.
Personally and professionally, it is this level of natural collaborations to which I aspire when negotiating a new arrangement. Several new opportunities also arose for me with different professionals met during CONVIVIUM 2014. So, it was a profitable day in many ways.
While the new influencer reporter and business ambassador roles remain to be defined more clearly, companies and organizations are already benefitting. The concept of marketing influence in social media continues to be implemented within both companies and marketing agencies, and these new types of influencers will only continue to become more important in communication campaigns and public relations in the coming months.
What do you think? Do you agree that business ambassadors and influencer reporters can play an important role in the success of a marketing campaign or public relations?
More on the same topic:
The Hidden Value of Influencers on B2B Marketing, by Lee Odden – TopRank Blog http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/04/influencers-b2b-marketing/
Office Influencers: A New Job?(by Rachel Feintzeig), by Eric Vernette – Consumer Influencer http://consommateurinfluenceur.blogspot.ca/2014/04/office-influencer-new-job.html
How Social Employees Make Great Brand Ambassadors (Infographic by Digital Influence Group), by Jorgen Sundberg – The Undercover Recruiter http://theundercoverrecruiter.com/social-employees-brand/
6 Steps to Turn your Business Brand Leaders into Influencers, by Jeff Roach, via Mark Harai – Digital Entrepreneur Blog http://markharai.com/6-steps-to-turn-your-business-leaders-into-brand-influencers
5 lessons to build a marketing strategy effective influence by Arnaud Roy, via Augure Communications http://www.augure.com/fr/blog/strategie-marketing-influence-20140414?utm_source=googleplus&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=webinar-forrester