Employees as influencers

Your expert:
Dr. Julia Pfrogner

The challenge
Many companies now use influencers as an advertising measure. Influencers can be bloggers, brand ambassadors, testimonials or simply people with a large number of followers on social media platforms.

The suitable influencer is authentic, credible and has contacts in the relevant target group. These requirements do not only apply to "celebrities". Suitable influencers can often be found in your own company. Who knows the company and its products better than its own employees? So why not turn employees into influencers as well?

In addition to the already widespread employee discounts, influencing not only motivates employees, but also has direct benefits for the employer. The own employees can take over sales and marketing as well as acquisition of applicants for the company in a modern and customer-oriented way.

But may the employer instruct its employees to present the company and/or its products positively to the outside world on social media platforms with the personal account?

This is ultimately a question of the scope of the right of direction in each individual case. While on professional platforms such as LinkedIn and Xing one can perhaps still expect as part of the work performance that employees "link" and share contributions from colleagues or "follow" their employer, it is more questionable on private social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Here, the border to the private life of the employee, which is inviolable for the employer, will usually be crossed.

However, the relevant target group will often be found in the private environment of the employee. Examples are the sale of cosmetic products, fashion accessories or gadgets as well as the acquisition of new employees. The solution may be to make employees into influencers of the company quasi "part-time" (in addition to their actual work for the employer). This can take the form of a supplementary agreement to the employment contract. In it, the employee undertakes to advertise the employer's company and/or products on private social media channels using his or her personal account. He receives a separate remuneration for this. The remuneration can either take the form of a flat monthly payment or the free product. Acquisition successes can be rewarded with an acquisition bonus.

It is important that such side agreements are designed in a legally secure manner. In any case, a possibility of termination of the influencer activity independent of the employment contract (e.g. a reservation of revocation) should be provided for. The correct taxation of the remuneration must also be clarified in advance. Employees should also be given guidelines on the "right post" if necessary (e.g. labelling as advertising, imprint) in order to avoid employer liability.

Our offer for you

If you are open to new sales and marketing strategies and at the same time want to motivate your employees and integrate them more strongly into the company, then let us advise you.