As a learning leader you are always trying to “influence” the audience you are responsible for training. You, the learning organization and the learning experiences you are creating need to connect with the audience. When that connection is made, not only is the learning more impactful, but you are also creating the opportunity for the learning to go viral inside the organization – and while there are many tools at your disposal to create truly impactful learning, as a learning leader you should not forget to plan for your influencers in your content development process.
By definition, influencers are individuals with the power to influence others opinions on a wide range of topics based on their relationship with the target audience. Influencing is a lot more complicated than it seems, you cannot just post about a topic of a course on the internal social network and expect people to want to follow you or take the course you are rolling out. Influencers need to build a connection with their target audience and for learning organizations to build that network of influencers, you must help them build their trust.
When you think of product marketing, people look up to influencers and expect them to convey the best products they can. They expect the influencer to be their “mentor” and that is why 70% of millennials are influenced more by influencers than celebrities.. This indicates that influencers have the techniques they need to get people to buy the products they want them to buy and without these techniques’ influencers would not make as much money or have as big of an audience as they could. Putting this in context of influencing learning in the organization, it is as much about developing a trusted brand in the organization that other employees can look up to as it is about title of level – and frankly your most effective influencers may be a more junior member of the team who is seen as trusted.
Four Tips to Building Your Influencer Network
So what does it take to build an army of internal influencers who can help build the culture of learning in your organization? Well, we have a few tips for you to consider:
- Know your audience and what they are looking for. Identify their motivations for seeking an internal influencer and think about the content they would want to see and consume.
- Craft content that is reusable in multiple formats – podcast, user generated video, blog post, or slack messaging. The content should also be customizable so that your influencer network can put their own stamp or spin on it.
- Ensure your influencers are engaging with the audience – provide ways for your internal audience to engage with your influencers and ensure that comments on blog posts are moderated and answered. User your influencers to gain feedback from the audience and use that feedback to iterate on your learning experiences.
- As your influencer network grows, look for opportunities to build community around them so that they can help influence others to dive deeper in a particular area.
Trust is Key
Central to building your influencer strategy is trust. Your audience has to trust the influencers you are putting forward. So, it is imperative to choose – and choose wisely. Sometimes the influencer you most need is not the “favorite employee” but rather the oddly connected individual who also seems to be dialed into the larger macro issues of the organization. That is the person who will have the trust of your audience. You want to capture that and build on it.
Becoming a good influencer is not easy and will only happen to the people that are determined to get good at it. For this reason, building your influencer network should also be viewed as a developmental experience. Along with being likable the influencer needs to be determined. Determined influencers watch trends and know when a trend is going to blow up or die down. They also need to do research on the topic they are talking about and figure out who they are reaching out to. Listening to your followers or the businesses you are teaching to is also very helpful and allows you to get feedback on how you are doing and if you are helping them or not. All of these techniques can be used to make an influencer more successful and get people more inclined to learn and or do the things you show them. When a corporate influencer uses these tips it allows for the information to be more informative and portrays a better picture for the corporation. The more they share about the brand the more likely it is to be seen and grows the audience that they have.
Top Tips for your L&D Influencer
Tip 1: Consistency is a huge component when it comes to being an influencer. If you are consistent with your learners, the more likely they will engage with your programming and courses.
Tip 2: When it comes to becoming a corporate influencer there are many things that can change the outcome. Having your marketing plan is imperative! We have a free download to help you with this.
Tip 3: Rolling out your influencer strategy takes time and using as many tools as possible to help keep your audience enjoying the content you create helps phenomenally.
All of these tips go hand in hand with each other and will help you roll out a top-notch influencer strategy that will connect with your learners!
We are all in this together, and together we learn!
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