The No BS Approach to Influencer Marketing
By Lee Odden
Since I’ve been monitoring the topic of “influencer marketing” through BuzzSumo Alerts, the number of articles surfaced has gone from a few per week to 5 or 10 per day.
Out of that rising wave of expression from industry websites and blogs is a mix of news, tips, trends and 100% pure B.S.
Rising popularity makes things shiny and as influencer marketing enters the shiny object phase, it’s more important than ever to separate the facts from the fake.
Whether it’s practices that will get you in hot water with the FTC or the waste of a perfectly good budget on micro-influencer wannabes promising viral hits galore, there are plenty of distractions from realizing true influencer marketing ROI.
We’ve been working with influencers in earnest since 2011 and the lessons learned have been invaluable. A big part of what I get to do with our agency is to test ideas and approaches over months and even years in order to bring data-informed recommendations to our clients. I’ll tap into that experience for this post.
A BS-free approach to influencer marketing starts with this important understanding: The most practical and useful way to engage influencers in a way that creates value for everyone involved is through content. In fact, 80% of marketers say content marketing is what working with influencers has the greatest impact on. Accept that truth and your path to influencer marketing ROI will be much shorter, painless and enjoyable.
In a marketing context, influence is the ability to affect action – not attract 1,000, 100,000 or a million fans, friends and followers. To create action you need content and relationships.
Therefore, my definition of influencer marketing is: Developing relationships with internal and industry experts with active networks, to co-create content that helps drive measurable business goals.
Let’s break that down:
Developing relationships: Most influencer marketing involves the completion of a task. It might be an exchange of money for the creation of video posted to YouTube or occasionally replying via email to a quote request for a roundup blog post. These are both transactions and a transactional approach is not what wins hearts and minds.
Companies that approach influencer marketing with relationships in mind, will use co-creation of content to help build those relationships. The stronger the relationships, the better the content and the more actively involved the influencer will be in collaboration and promotion.
That means allocating time to connect the dots with influencers and your longer term content and social media plans, monitoring, engagement and communications. Not just an email when you need 50 words for a post on Wednesday.
Internal and industry experts: Influence is not limited to one type of person and brands can benefit greatly if they expand their view to include a mix of influencer types. That means looking internally at subject matter experts and executives that, with a little training, could contribute in a very meaningful way.
Beyond the professional influencers and industry experts are members of the media, customers, prospective customers and …read more
Source:: Top Rank Blog