What is Social Influence and how can it Help your Employer Brand?

Using social media within your employer branding strategy is something that you are probably doing already, but how much attention are you paying to social influence? If the term is new to you then you are not alone, but in brief social influence relates to the change in behaviour caused by one person to another, either intentionally or unintentionally. This can be recognised in many forms such as conformity, peer pressure, persuasion, sales and marketing.

Social Media Influencers

Today we mostly talk about social influence in relation to “influencers”, who usually have a large following on Instagram and get paid by companies to endorse their products or services. We have accepted this as a total norm in our lives, and while more and more people are recognising that these endorsements may not be totally genuine, there is no denying that it is a great way for brands to get seen by a huge number of people. Even posts that feature the term #Ad or #Sponsored or #Gifted can still reach the right person at the right time, and the fact that companies are spending thousands for celebrities and influencers to promote their brands means that it obviously does work!

The Fyre Festival Effect

We recently wrote a blog about Fyre Festival and the key employer brand lessons to learn following on from the shocking Netflix documentary about the event. One thing that really stood out is just how much social influence had an effect on the ticket sales for the doomed music festival! Models and social influencers were paid thousands to share the event to their followers (Kendall Jenner was reportedly paid a whopping $250,000 for promoting it to her social media following!), and the response was so powerful that the event totally sold out! Although the results were pretty disastrous in this instance, it does show how effective social influence can be to increase message reach and build trust in your content.

How can social influence help your employer brand?

While you may not have Kendall Jenner working for your company, you do have a number of employees who all have their own “social clout” which can influence others. Small endorsements of your organisation with positive posts all can have a positive social influence upon the people within their network. This may be totally organic and unintentional, or in some instances more formal through an employee advocacy campaign!

Below are a few ways you can use social influence for your employer brand:

Visual Content

Visual content is one of the best ways to get noticed and remembered online. According to research, when people hear information, they’re only likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retain 65% of the information three days later. So basically a picture is more likely to make people remember your company and employer brand than a post from your employee saying they had a good day at work! Encourage your employees to post snaps that highlight your unique culture – everything from team building, social events and office life works really well!

Video Content

According to research from Cisco by 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic — 15 times higher than it was in 2017. That is a statistic that marketers cannot ignore, and it is also worth noting down as a key way to exploit social influence too. Videos that feature your employees are more likely to be shared to their wider networks, so start showcasing video as part of your content strategy! These don’t have to be Oscar worthy productions either, an iPhone video or saved Instagram Story can work really well!

Q&A Blogs

Blogs that feature the thoughts and opinions of your employees work really well to showcase your employer brand, and more importantly will be more likely to get shared by your employees and read by their network connections. It could be a “day in the life of” blog, a general Q&A or an opinion piece about a relevant topic for your industry. Get interviewing and blogging now!

Shares and Likes

Simply having your employees like, share and retweet your company’s content can have an impact on social influence as it acts as an endorsement of your company and it helps boost the reach of the post too. This requires very little effort from your employees, simply email a link to your social post and ask people to like and share!


Encouraging your happy and engaged employees to review your company on sites such as Glassdoor has a lot of benefits. Obviously the more positive reviews you have, and the more authentic insights into your organisation the better you will be perceived by those candidates who are checking you out online. This will also help combat any negative reviews (if you have any), so as an exercise it’s only going to have a positive effect on your hiring abilities!

Word of Mouth

Social influence doesn’t just happen on social media, so don’t discount the good old-fashioned word of mouth and recommendations as part of this! You could introduce a formal referral scheme to encourage your employees to recommend your organisation to friends, but this usually comes with a cost attached. Alternatively if you look after your employees, invest into keeping them engaged and give access to lots of great perks then you’ll hopefully find that word-of-mouth recommendations happen organically.

Partner Organisations / People

While social influence will largely come as a result of your employees shouting about why your organisation is a great place to work, it’s important to remember how valuable social influence can be from people outside of your organisation too. It could be a client you work with, a recognised name in your industry or even a celebrity connection! For example we sponsor the football team Tranmere Rovers FC, and they regularly recruit for roles outside of the “football player” realm. By getting a professional footballer who has a large following to retweet or share their content about hiring, it’s able to reach a much wider audience and can have a great impact on social influence! You may not have any professional footballers on hand for your organisation, but there could be a connection worth reaching out to the next time you want to get your content seen!

Social Influence… the next steps!

If this blog has pricked your interest then you may want to check out this blog too: How To Use Your Social Influence To Attract Top Talent. If you are interested in hearing more about how a JobHoller employee advocacy campaign can impact your social influence then contact us on 01244 567 967 or email [email protected].

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