Influencer marketing is a topic that has been discussed widely for years but as the web has developed and the influence of individuals has changed dramatically, so has the way approach them.
Essentially Influencer Marketing can be defined as the concept of creating relationships which are mutually beneficial to brand and influencer. The influencer receives something in return for the brand borrowing the social capital they possess. And social capital converts, in fact, AdWeek reports 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from other people, even strangers, over branded content.
Branding and digital strategy expert, Minter Dial calls this concept of social capital, WIIFM (What’s in it for me). Influencer Marketing shouldn’t be about using others to your advantage it should be about creating common value between individuals and brand. By demonstrating value to your influencers, they will give support and affiliation in return.
There are five key areas to a successful influencer marketing campaign:
1. Identification: Where do you find your audiences and influencers?
First you need to lay out your strategy and set your objectives. This should give you an idea of the audience you want to reach. The next step is to identify where these communities exist and understand who is influencing them.
So start by thinking about who you want to reach. Regardless of if it’s car lovers or fast food enthusiasts the concept stays the same. With careful research, you will start to identify the influencers in these communities. These are the people who have the reach to amplify a message to the rest of the community.
2. Interaction: How do these influencers communicate? What content do they share?
Now you’ve identified these influencers you have to start thinking about what will engage them.
Whatever material you take to your influencers should be informed by how they are already communicating with each other. Are they sharing graph, infographics, images or articles? Where do they take this content from? Social? Newswires? Magazines? Forums? Once you have pulled out some common trends then you need to define the mix of channel and content best suited to your objectives.
3. Introductions: How can brands join these conversations in an authentic manner?
Obviously creating a relationship with someone doesn’t happen overnight. Imagine if you leaned in to kiss someone you had just met. It’s all a bit too much, a bit too soon. Remember integrity, honesty, and patience are the keys to building a relationship whether it is a personal one or a professional one.
Kick things off by explaining who you are to these influencers. Remember clarity is key. Make sure you explain why what you’re sharing will bring them benefits. Don’t ask for anything from them, make sure you are giving them something that will actually help them with their job. Every relationship must be mutually beneficial.
Innovation: What tools should you be using to carry out your campaign?
Obviously you wouldn’t chop down a tree with a steak knife or chop toast with a chainsaw. So why would you try to do everything we’ve explained without the right tools for the job?
Use technology to make thing easy, there’s a range of tools out there to automate admin, improve understanding and even identify influencers themselves. Interested in hearing more? Check out our 2015 guide to media relation tools.
4. Interpretation: How can you measure the impact on your business?
Every campaign can be measured differently and every outcome can be something else. The important thing to understand though is the impact can take time to come through.
So keep your eye on the prize and make sure everything you do is working towards the same objectives. This article from Rich Leigh explains more about how to set goals and measure results using Google Analytics.
With the right strategy, tools and know-how, it should be. We’re social animals, it should almost come naturally but remember, start building relationships now and you will reap the rewards in the long term.
At Prezly, we’ve spent the last month speaking to some of the leading lights in marketing and communications to uncover what influencer marketing means to them. See what they had to say in the Slideshare below and don’t forget to check out our complete guide to influencer marketing.
Frederik Vincx is the co-founder of Prezly, a CRM for PR Pros. He spent the past 5 years building software that helps teams improve their relationship with the media, bloggers and stakeholders.
You can find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.