6 Tips Influencers Can Help Promote Online Training
Who’s your favorite pop icon or industry leader? It could be anyone you look up to and want to emulate. When was the last time you signed up for something because it was endorsed by someone like that? We’re oddly susceptible to doing the things our “heroes” like—whether it’s buying their preferred perfume brand or eating at their favorite restaurant. It’s peer pressure on a whole new level, except this person is more of an “aspirational peer.” We want to be just like them. How can we bring this very human tendency into our online training programs? Here are some insider tips to promote online training with in-house influencers.
1. Identify Influencers
In some situations, it’s easy to mark out top employees. In sales, for example, you can gauge their revenue. Or in customer care, you can tabulate how many customers they served, and how happy these customers were. In other corporate settings, define tactics for spotting influencers. It could be the trainee that scored highest in the previous course or the one who customers most frequently requested by name. You could even run (anonymous) staff surveys, finding out who is well-liked and who they want to learn from. Ask them: if they could shadow any colleague for a day, who would it be and why? Another great way to distinguish in-house influencers who can promote online training is gamification. Those with the most badges or points aren’t sitting on the sidelines. Thus, they’re more likely to become training advocates.
2. Give Them A Solid Strategy
Everybody loves being admired, and by designating in-house influencers, you’re validating them. While this could boost their esteem and get them invested, it doesn’t give them direction. Yes, you want their help, but what exactly do you want them to do? Are they to hold colleagues’ hands through the course? Do you want them to teach specific units or host live events? Is it their role to model expected behavior, or to tell trainees how they got through the course? Define training targets for your influencers, so they have something to work with. You can also give them a calendar so that they can track in-house marketing milestones.
3. Get Them To Start Social Media Groups
Once you’ve spotted the employee that colleagues want to emulate, give them a more direct sphere of influence. Invite them to create a social media group. It could be a Facebook group, a WhatsApp one, a Twitter list, or a Telegram channel. Your influencer can be the admin, but you can also assign other top employees to help them moderate. Your influencer can use this group to offer suggestions and answer questions. They can show colleagues their secrets to success. Just ensure your chosen influencer is one that’s willing to share said insider tips.
4. Develop In-House Tribes
Cliques are not generally considered a good thing. That said, bringing together people with similar interests can be a good tool for progress. Build up a group of influencers, then put up profiles that include their hobbies, interests, and areas of expertise. Trainees can then pick the influencer they want to be affiliated with. This can help their training activities because they’ll take a more active interest in what their ‘tribal chief’ has to say. Be sure to pick influencers with a positive outlook though, and a sense of humor. You don’t want to start an L&D war led by the influencer with few or no fans. You could avoid this outcome by only drafting influencers that your larger staff has expressed interest in learning from.
5. Host In-House Marketing Events
Ideally, your in-house influencers should be accessible to trainees. However, these influencers are part of your staff, so they have their own jobs to attend to. You could offer office hours where trainees can reach them. You can also invite the influencers to run one-hour weekly sessions where trainees can consult them. It could be a Reddit thread, a Facebook live session, or even a group chat within the course. It’s more efficient this way, and there’s a record the trainee can refer to later. Index all these sessions for JIT purposes.
6. Start A Weekly “Success Story” Spotlight
Every week invite one of your in-house influencers to share their personal success stories. How the online training has helped them achieve their goals or overcome a problem in the workplace. Then post it on the LMS homepage, social media group, or L&D blog. This gives other employees the chance to see how engaging in online training can bring them similar benefits. For example, setting aside an hour each week to upskill might allow them to reduce on-the-job errors and rise in the corporate ranks. Just like it did for the customer service supervisor who went that extra mile to land a promotion last year. It’s a sort of “set the example” approach to internal marketing. Employees are more likely to engage if they know it’s a tried-and-tested way to get ahead.
There are many aspects to online training, and employee buy-in is a big part of that. It’s helpful if you have satisfied customers to give testimonials. In the corporate setup, this is easy. Just get successful past trainees and recruit them as in-house influencers. Pick the right ones, making sure they’re willing, able, and acceptable to new trainees. Set influencer goals so they’re clear on their role. Invite them to create and moderate social media groups. Build and display their profiles, inviting learners to “sign up” under the influencer they prefer. Finally, designate access windows that don’t disrupt the influencers’ own job responsibilities.
Does your LMS facilitate online collaboration and peer-based feedback or does it limit interactions between in-house training advocates and their co-workers? Use our online directory to find the best LMS to not only deploy but promote online training in your organization.