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Twenty-first century social media influencers have infiltrated the way brands reach their target audience over the past few years. There are a number of ways community banks can implement influencer marketing to help promote the culture of their organization. Influencers are defined as people who “have specialized knowledge, authority or insight into a specific subject… [and] their pre-existing presence in a niche makes them a useful launching pad for brands in search of credibility,” according to Sprout Social. Who can you think of that has specialized knowledge about your community bank brand? Your employees, of course! Oftentimes, it seems like organizations overlook this asset, so let’s learn how to empower your employees to promote your bank while improving internal culture. 

Avidia Bank in Hudson, Massachusetts is a $1.9 billion-asset community bank that has taken a strategic approach to influencer marketing. In the past, the bank relied only on its own brand channels to promote its products, services and events. However, they’ve recently shifted to using their own employees to serve as “brand ambassadors, promoting brand awareness and loyalty.” Katelin Cwieka, Assistant VP and Marketing Communications Manager, specifically recognizes the value of using employees to promote and advance company culture. She says, “People pay attention to people. When employees speak about what they love about their job, that provides a personalized touch.” 

Utilizing employees as internal influencers can be a particular advantage to smaller community banks. Organic influencer partnerships are more affordable for smaller budgets and come off as being more genuine in the community. Additionally, your employees are intimately familiar with the inner workings and culture of your community bank and therefore can better promote and enhance your brand within the community. Here’s how to get started deputizing your employees as influencers: 

  1. Identify your influencers

When looking for employees to become brand ambassadors, first consider their interest levels. Some of your employees may already be self-proclaimed social media gurus while others may be looking to try it out and embrace a new challenge on behalf of your brand. You should consider the level and job duties of the employees you select. Having a diverse mix of participants is the best way to showcase the diversity, talent, and culture of your brand to the community. 

  1. Determine which content your influencers are interested in producing

Remember that it’s not necessary for your employees to have a high following account. What matters is the quality and message your employees are putting out. You should also ensure that the content produced is reaching the channels your target audience is most likely to be on. For example, if your goal is to recruit students in your community as customers, Facebook or blogging may not be the right choice. Tailoring content for each social media channel is essential to developing relevant and effective content. Check out this study from Sprout Social to find your target demographic and better tailor your content.

  1. Provide resources

Throwing your employees “to the wolves” in the social media world is not the best strategy for achieving your long-term objectives. Make sure you clearly discuss the bank’s goals with your employees and have brainstorming sessions with them to help get the ball rolling. Provide resources such as a content handbook or brand style guide that provides structure for online conduct, content inspiration, goals, objectives, tactics, and more. Check out this example from Hootsuite for creating content guidelines for your employees.

Overall, utilizing the influence of your own employees is a strategy that can help improve your internal culture while also raising awareness of your community bank and its services. 

Thoma Thoma is a strategic brand development and marketing agency specializing in services that help you Live Your Brand. If you like what you’ve seen from Thoma’s work and you’d enjoy similar results in your organization, let’s connect!

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