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People As an Important Marketing Factor

What Role Does It Play in Small and Medium-Size Enterprise Marketing?

  • April 2023
  • Number of views: 998
  • Article rating: 5.0

Anja Leipold
Marketing and Industry Awareness Committee Member
MENZEL Elektromotoren GmbH

People and brand are inextricably linked to each other, especially in smaller companies that cannot operate with big marketing budgets. Valuable brand effects can be created through a personal brand involvement of your employees and colleagues. But how does personal branding work in B2B small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs)?

It's clear that our industry should become much more visible on social media networks like LinkedIn. Even though many users from the electrical engineering sector are already represented, most companies tend to only play their standard marketing content here. Trusted influencers are rather rare. However, marketing with influencers remains important in 2023. They achieve direct and authentic dialogue with the target group. Influencers have a good connection to their community and bring along profound platform know-how.

The Best Influencers are Your Own Employees
But how is this supposed to work if you only have a limited marketing budget and can't afford an expensive social media agency or external brand ambassadors and influencers? The answer is quite simple: the best influencers are your own employees! They are the very best at presenting your company to the outside world. Studies show that people are 50% more likely to find information shared by employees credible than when it is shared by company channels or management.

Empower your employees to become reach experts and build personal brands alongside your corporate brand. A personal brand is the building of a brand based on a person's identity. In other words, the person stands for the company with his or her name, persona and personality. So-called "brand ambassadors" are experts in their field and create trust in their community. This reflects on the company itself.

Don't Be Afraid of Personal Brands
There is no more authentic communication than that of one's own employees. Therefore, it makes sense to empower your own employees to build their own personal brands. LinkedIn offers the necessary organic reach for this, and our industry in turn offers exactly what social media needs: Tangible and visualizable content.

However, many companies are often afraid of their most valuable employees establishing a large reach on social media. There is a fear that competitors will take notice of their expertise and possibly try to poach them. Or, companies fear that their employees will be drawn to controversial statements. However, you must be aware that it is impossible to prevent employees from speaking out on social media about their employers. Instead, you should ensure that your employees appear professional on platforms and reflect the company's expertise. This will even help you find new recruits and customers and inspire them to join your company.

Establish Clear Rules
Employees who appear as experts and enthusiasts on social media may be built up as corporate ambassadors. They publicly represent your corporate values and expertise. For the company, such an appearance as a personal brand is great advertising, and for the employees, it means proof of their knowledge and expertise. A win-win situation, but one that bears the risk of blurring your corporate brand and your employees' personal brand too much. So be aware: It's not the point to just have a copy of the posts from the corporate account profile. Personal branding is about personality! It is about real opinions and not about the same advertising slogans that customers can also read on the corporate website or in newsletters.

To ensure that the corporate brand as such remains consistent and employees can build their own personal brand at the same time, companies should define clear guidelines such as: Commit to being an employee and communicate your own position! Clearly communicate what is your own opinion and what are the official statements of the company! Do not publish confidential information about employees or the company! And so on.

Support Your Corporate Ambassadors
Since the company benefits in many ways from employees and their personal brands, you should actively support them in establishing their personal brand. For example, employees should have the opportunity to engage on social media even during working hours. However, you should extend this rule not only to your corporate ambassadors but to the entire workforce. This way, you also motivate other employees to openly express their support for the company.

Provide your corporate ambassadors with content in shareable form to promote brand stories. Also, share your editorial schedule with them and coordinate posting times for specific topics. And, show your appreciation. Employees who stand out by including your company in their personal brand deserve appreciation because they make the company seem more human and attractive.

In the end, if employees and employers pull together, personal branding can become a valuable pillar of your corporate branding.



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