Guest post: by Softgarden
What Are Corporate Influencers? A Definition
Almost every respectable CEO tweets or posts on social networking sites. Tim Cook, the head of Apple, does it. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, does it, as do many others. If you compare the number of followers of these gentlemen with that of their companies, you might be surprised.
Tim Cook has almost 13 million followers on Twitter, while Apple has less than half with 6.1 million. The comparison between Musk and Tesla is even more drastic: There are 50.4 million Musk followers compared to just 8.7 million Tesla followers. These examples show that people prefer to follow people rather than brands on social media.
Both Cook and Musk can be described as their companies’ top corporate influencers. Corporate influencers are people who present their company to the outside world through social media.
For example, by providing behind the scenes insights and letting their followers participate in the development of innovations. This takes place in the form of images, videos or texts that are shared with their community.
This way, existing and potential customers receive first-hand information. It doesn’t get more authentic than that. This strengthens the bond with a company immensely.
Referral Marketing Also Works in Recruiting
The principle of referral marketing also works in recruiting. Here, corporate influencers do not target customers, but promote job prospects, and provide insights into company events on social media.
They also regularly share their company’s current job postings so that interested talent can apply directly once their interest has been piqued.
Of course, individual corporate influencers do not have a direct reach to millions of followers like Tim Cook or Elon Musk, but the more employees participate in the program, the greater the overall reach. You will see!
The Pros of Corporate Influencers
According to the “Employee Referrals from the Applicant’s Perspective” study by Softgarden, corporate influencers are now a very powerful weapon in the battle for talent. More than every second applicant (59.7 percent) now follows a company’s employee ambassadors to find a new job. An overwhelming majority of candidates (79.5 percent) place the greatest trust in corporate influencers.
This is no coincidence. After all, corporate influencers provide candidates with the exact information they are interested in. From the perspective of an employee- unfiltered and without marketing nonsense. Examples of the topics addressed include:
- What is the corporate culture like?
- What further training opportunities are there?
- What career opportunities does the employer offer?
- What makes colleagues tick?
- What benefits are there?
- What is the employer’s approach to work-life balance?
This acts as a real service for candidates because, thanks to the information provided by the corporate influencers, they don’t have to do any additional research on the career site or on employer rating portals to find out how well the employer suits them. The effect: the decision to apply is made faster and the time to hire is reduced.
Perfectly Tailor-Made Applicants Thanks to Personal Referrals
Successful employee referral marketing can be of enormous added value, especially for small and medium-sized companies with a tight budget. Thanks to the high response rate of precisely fitting applicants, you may be able to post one or two job advertisements on the most expensive job portals without having to accept a loss of reach.
Additionally, candidates who apply to a company through employee referrals are usually better suited for it than others. Remember: corporate influencers recommend new jobs within their personal network. This includes people with similar interests, experiences and knowledge who fit in with the organization as well as they do.
Corporate Influencers: The Cons
There are certain disadvantages associated with corporate influencers. Since employees often recommend workers who are similar to them, too much recruitment via corporate influencers can lead to companies always fishing from the same pool of talent.
In this way, a diverse workforce cannot be formed, which can lead to operational blindness, clusters, the exclusion of external, unknown applicants and the rejection of new ideas. (There are ways to overcome this though, check out our Diversity and Referrals Whitepaper which shows you how you can build a diverse workforce with referrals!).
Companies should therefore focus on a good mix in recruiting and also recruit via other networks and channels. However, only very few companies need to be concerned about the disadvantages of a corporate influencer program. In most organizations, corporate influencers are currently underrepresented rather than overrepresented in recruiting.
Employees Becoming Company Ambassadors
For many employers, the following questions are likely to come to mind:
- How do I recruit employees as corporate influencers or company ambassadors?
- How do I build an employee referral program?
It’s not nearly as complicated as you might initially think. Rely on the latest technology and automated processes. An employee referral program can be implemented quickly with the help of specialists such as softgarden and Firstbird. Your employees will be automatically informed of newly advertised jobs by email or app notifications.
How To Motivate Your Corporate Influencers
Your employees can easily share job postings in their personal and social networks with the push of a button and recommend you as an attractive employer. This way, you can quickly and easily involve employees in your company’s recruiting process.
Small tip: Thank your employees for each successful referral with a small reward- a gift or a voucher, for example. This way, you show your employees how much you appreciate their valuable support in recruiting, and their motivation to become involved as corporate influencers increases.
Conclusion: Why Companies Can No Longer Avoid Employee Referrals
Let’s summarize once again: Corporate influencers are popular with those interested in a job. This is because, owing to their authenticity, corporate influencers strengthen the trust of talents in a company, increase the willingness to apply, deliver well-tailored candidates, and significantly shorten the time needed to complete a hire.
On top of that, they are budget-friendly as companies will have to post fewer job ads to successfully fill a position.
The bottom line: Companies that have not yet established an employee referral program are missing out on many valuable recruiting opportunities. Unfortunately, this applies to a very large majority of employers, as evident from Softgarden’s “Employee referrals from applicants’ point of view” survey. Therefore, we cannot stress enough our urgent recommendation for companies to implement the principles of a corporate influencer and an employee referral program.