influencersWho are the influencers in your office? If you’re unsure, think about the people who, when they organize a social event, others attend. They are likeable and trustworthy. If they recommend a movie, people watch it. If there is a policy change, these people’s opinions shape what others think. These are the people who set the mood and tone for the office.

What is so significant about influencers? A lot, actually.

Did you know that influencers have greater job security? Melissa Dahl wrote an article titled, “4 Words That Could Protect You From Layoffs”  for NY Mag’s Science of Us. In it, Dahl references research that identified the four most common words to appear in emails of workers who survived layoffs at a company. Those four words: “baseball,” “football,” “coffee,” and “lunch.”

These employees were not the most productive, nor did they contribute the greatest profits for the company. They were just so darn likeable that they were indispensible. They were influencers. It makes sense. These influencers keep morale high and motivate other employees. On the flip side, the company’s reputation could take a hit if these well-liked people are let go.

This is not just advantageous for the influencers themselves. Companies can take a number of cues from these employees when building relationships and brands. There’s no question that if consumers like a brand’s “personality,” they are more likely to try that brand and be loyal to it. Economically, if the consumer has to make cutbacks, he or she will still splurge on a trusted, beloved, influential brand. If your company wants to create an influential brand, it should look at the behavior of its most influential employees.

According to jobisblog’s “Influencers, Who They Are and How to Be One,” influential behavior can be learned. Here are the suggestions the article outlines:

  • Networking and being social. Yes, do both of these things, of course. When you meet someone new, however, don’t just remember his or her name. Remember something about this person. It might be wise to take notes during meetings or jot down personal information directly afterwards. You can easily be proactive with this, too. Let’s say you meet a potential client or customer who comments on how the weather is doing wonders for her tomato plants. When you send a follow up email, include an article about interesting recipes that include tomatoes. You could comment anything from, “Made me think of you,” to “Thanks for the info about tomatoes; I will have to try some of these,” or even, “Here’s to the continued success of your tomatoes!”
  • Know your intention behind every task. For everything you do, know why you’re doing it and what you want the result to be. This will help you stick to what is important. In conversation, it will help you stay focused, as well.
  • Listen. This is such an important skill to perfect if you’re dealing with other people. If you can prove that you have your client’s interest at heart, and not just his wallet, he will be far more likely to do business with you. This goes for managers, too. Employees will walk the ends of the earth for a boss who really cares about them.
  • See things from other people’s perspective. Who is your audience? What has their experience been? What cultural factors shape how they feel, think, and behave?
  • Define what is important. Jobisblog said it perfectly: “Influencers have to know their audience; what do they value, how they feel about certain issues? They have to know their market; what’s trending, who’s buying what and why?”

Not every company can hire an influential celebrity to be the face of its brand. Not every company needs to. Modeling the qualities of the influencers on staff can help you become a more influential brand.  Don’t be afraid to pick the brains of these employees about how your company can better reach its audience.

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