Influence Marketing: Success Is All About Finding the Right Partner
Influence marketing is often thought of as a relatively new concept—it is not. Influence marketing is a variation of the celebrity endorsement, a concept that pre-dates the athlete on the Wheatiesbox.
Influence marketing in the digital age has a great deal in common with the celebrity endorsements we are all familiar with. The differences are not profound. Choosing the right athlete for the Wheaties box is not substantially different from choosing the appropriate influencer to further your brand and, as General Mills can attest, you want to avoid putting a Tiger Woods on your cereal box.
So, what is an “influencer”? While there is no universally accepted definition, it is reasonable to describe an influencer as a person, a brand or a company whose opinions, either direct or implied, are synergistically relevant to your goals and, carry sufficient weight to elicit action from others.
Defining Your Strategy
Influence marketing is available in a variety of flavors, but there are three basic forms. These three forms can be summarized as to, through and with.
- Market to influencers to increase their awareness of your brand name, merchandise or service
- Market through influencers using their reach to enhance awareness of your brand name, goods or service
- Market with influencers in a formal contractual arrangement to advocate for your brand name, product or service
Influence marketing can be business-to-business or business-to-consumer. This is an important distinction to understand for obvious reasons but, to be clear, business influencers and consumer influencers only rarely intersect.
Once a strategy is determined, the next logical step is to identify the influencers. While it may be stating the obvious, an important element in identifying potential influencers includes an assessment of the influencer‘s compatibility, and, by extension, the compatibility of the influencer’s followers, with your brand name, merchandise or service.
While there are several ways to identify influencers, here are the top three:
- Conduct your own research using the search features offered by Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. This is a cost-effective method for tracking down influencers and their blogs. Also have a look at some most effective platforms for influencer marketing:
- Search out influencers with the assistance of on-line tools such as Buzzsumo, which is one of the simplest. Search by relevant keyword or topic and select the city or country of choice. There are several data filter options to select from as well as advanced options that allow searches by username or multiple words or phrases.
- Ask your customers! Create a survey asking them to identify their favorite blogs and/or bloggers.
If you haven’t the time or inclination to conduct your own research, another option to consider is blogger outreach software.GroupHigh is one of many such vendors.
Once a list of candidates has been assembled the hard work of vetting begins. Influencers need to be assessed on reach, relevance and resonance.
What is the size of their following and for they have an active social media presence (Reach)? Do their posts ring true and reflect compatibility with your brand, product or service (Relevance)? Are the articles or posts receiving comments and, equally important, replies (Resonance)?
Other important considerations include, whether or not there is a history with a competitor, the frequency of new articles and/or blog posts and, if contact information is provided.
Once these questions have been resolved and all information has been gathered, it will be incredibly easy to create a short list of compatible influencers with whom you might partner.
Your ideal influencer lies at the intersection of the three Rs. These influencers are your prime targets!
Pitching the Influencer
First impressions really are important. You’ve done your homework, so be confident but, not arrogant.
Short and to the point is the preferred approach for the initial contact. Begin by introducing yourself and a brief synopsis of your goals. Offer to follow-up with details if they have an interest.
Compliment the blogger on a recent post to demonstrate you are listening and not simply pitching. Share your thoughts on the topic.
If the blogger shows interest in hearing more, the best method is to give them a story rather than some slick presentation. Remember, these are writers and if you’ve chosen wisely, this isn’t their first rodeo. Emphasize how your brand, merchandise or service benefits the blogger’s audience. In short, show the blogger what’s in it for them.
You may not be successful in your first outreach but, you can improve your odds by making comprehensive notes and observations regarding what worked and what failed. This allows you to learn from your experiences and refine your approach going forward.
Influence marketing is a tool and, all tools require an element of skill and experience to wield effectively. We believe these insights will help you develop those skills and prevent you from costly and embarrassing mistakes. An awareness and understanding of the points touched upon here will provide you the best opportunity to land the right partner.0