Marketing always has a buzzword.  At first it was content marketing, and then social marketing.  As people become savvier, brands are forced to do the same and now influencer marketing programs have entered the arena. Why? How better to gain customer trust for your brand than with someone they already trust – celebrity, personality or even influential blogger.  Blogs, social media and even streaming services (Facebook Live) have opened doors for brands to partner with influencers.

Now before we can leap into a discussion of how to prepare for an influencer marketing program or even what mistakes to avoid, let’s agree on a definition.

In·flu·enc·er mar·ket·ing | Noun

A nonpromotional approach to marketing in which brands focus their efforts on opinion leaders, as opposed to direct target market touchpoints.

 For the sake of this post, we will be discussing earned influencer marketing.

Identify Your Influencers

While this may seem obvious, think about it: Do you know who your influencers are?  Remember influencers LOVE the influence they have.  Can you name them?  You should be constantly identifying who the influencers are for your brand and have a running list.  Turn to Google.  There are lists out there!  In the tech arena?  Here’s a list for you.  Looking for marketing influencers?  Yep another list!

Build Your Brand’s Influence

Before you can have influencers talk about your brand, you need to build your influence up with them.  You want interactions – writing, tweeting, sharing – to be natural and not forced.  Come up with strategies to build your influence.

A brand that successfully leveraged relationships with influencers is HubSpot.  They created an event, INBOUND, that allows influencers a platform to speak at.  The upside for HubSpot?  The influencer’s name recognition gets people in the door.

Now before you run out and create events and identify your influencers, here are four mistakes you must avoid.

It’s NOT about you!

When you select an influencer to work with, you are making an investment in them.  But you need to give them something worthy of sharing with their followers that’s more than a pretty product shot.  Remember products lead to transactions.  Influencers are people that build relationships.  It’s important to not confuse that fact!

For example, during its most recent influencer marketing campaign, José Cuervo took a crew of online personalities to Tequilla, Mexico for a five-day tasting extravaganza. They gave an experience. Influencers like René Daniella (@ownbyfemme) created authentic, engaging content to share:

Influencer Marketing: Online influencer, René Daniella

Online influencer, René Daniella on a recent trip to Tequila, Mexico, courtesy of José Cuervo

Don’t focus on outdated platforms.

Technology and social spaces are changing faster than we can keep up.  Don’t put all of your influencer eggs in one social basket.  Attaching yourself to the newest medium or flashiest personality might leave you with not much to show for.  Remember how we talked about picking the right influencer?  Same applies here.  Pick the right influencer for your brand based on their audience demographics.

It’s not all about the numbers!

Just because someone has impressive Twitter or Instagram followers does not mean they yield any real power.  Take the time to really dig into the analytics of your influencer’s audience.  Are they engaged?  How often do they engage?  How do they interact with followers?  What do they talk about?  Is the relationship real and genuine or canned?  Lastly does your brand make sense to them?  Is it a fit?

Define and measure success.

At the end of the day, influencer marketing is just like any other campaign you are being asked to run.  You need to have analytics and numbers to measure your success.  Determine what success means to your brand.  Measure that success.  Make your goals concrete.

Like anything else we do in marketing, if you can’t measure the impact – if you can’t show any success – then it wasn’t worth the investment.

One thought on “Influencer Marketing: Are You Prepared?

  1. Hello,

    I noticed that your company posted about influencer marketing on Twitter. I’d love to connect and learn about how you work with influencers for campaigns.

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