The idea is the same, but has the approach changed?
Instead of talking about how great your brand is, wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone else said it? Better yet, someone credible? Someone respected by your target customer? Someone whose opinion and reach had the power to influence a purchasing decision? Welcome to the idea of influencing the influencer as part of your marketing campaign.
Many marketers may wonder if the approach to building an influencer campaign has changed. The answer is, not really. The nuts and bolts are still the same.
It still starts with a lot of research to find out who your influencers could be. Scour news sites and all communications channels that matter to your target customer to find trends in your category. Who do the media call to get commentary and quotes for their stories?
Listen to social media. Are there any people who share relevant knowledge that have a large and engaging following? And if so, would they benefit from sharing content?
Develop your own matrix to rank and prioritize potential influencers. In most cases, brands don’t need an army of influencers because a small handful of the right influencers can have just as much impact.
It’s also important to make sure you are giving something back to the influencer, and be prepared with what that offer is before you connect. While it’s nice to think that someone would promote your brand just because they like it, unfortunately our world’s not that perfect. Influencers need to benefit from the relationship too. That benefit could take various forms including free products, advance or inside information (as long as it doesn’t have to do with a publicly traded company), ongoing content sharing or even cross promotion of the influencer by you or your client.
But perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind—and this is definitely another example of how the approach has not changed—is that one of the most crucial elements to influencer marketing is building a relationship. As with most everything we do, it’s imperative to be authentic and likable. Lead with an offer and not a request. Building influencer relationships might take some time so be sure to include that in your timeline and manage expectations with clients and colleagues as well.
Obviously this just scratches the surface in dissecting influencer campaigns. We’d love to get your thoughts as well. And if you’d like to hear more on this topic, check out this video by Amber Armstrong, Program Director, Social Business Market Making at IBM that was featured on Social Media Today’s YouTube Channel. We couldn’t agree with her thoughts more!