In recent years influential marketing has undergone both expansion and democratization. More name brand companies are turning to influencers to create more authentic storytelling. In effect, this has become the digital version of word of mouth advertising and businesses large and small are cashing in.
With the advent of blogging and social media, influencers can reach people on exciting new levels, but it has also changed who qualifies as an influencer. Individuals who blog about food, clothes, pet products and children's toys have developed huge followings and now qualify as influencers. To take advantage of these shifts, an influential marketing campaign must have specific elements.
Identify Your GoalsObvious though this may sound, many people start an influencer campaign without a clear objective of what they want to achieve. Creating an influencer campaign is time-consuming so if you go down this road, you want to have a plan for a destination. Goals can include:
- Increase Brand Awareness
- Drive Traffic to Content
- Boost Online Sales
- Increase Mobile App Installs
- Promote Seasonal Purchases
Identify Your AudienceIf you market your business, you should have this information at hand but, depending on the scope of your influencer campaign, you may need to make adjustments. Start with:
- Where do they live?
- Which demographic groups are you trying to reach?
- What social media platform do they use?
- Who do they view as "experts" on the topics you want to promote?
Select Your Influencers
Create a pool of potential influencers by conducting online searches and scanning popular forums. Use analytics to identify trends on related topics and read posts to see who everyone is talking about. Once you've identified a few influencers, don't be shy about asking them to give you additional names.Narrow your list by relevance and influence. For relevance consider:
- What topics they discuss. Read several pieces of their content and review their comment section to assess their message.
- Whether their audience matches your target regarding age, gender, and location.
- If their personal brand a fit for your business brand.
- Recent engagement rate: What is their average number of likes, shares, and comments over the last three months?
- Engagement growth rate: Is it growing and how fast?
- Comments: Are the comments real or spam (e.g. "#follow4follow")? Are they positive or negative? Do they reflect an audience that recognizes this person as an influencer or just someone with an opinion?
An Organic ProcessUnlike traditional marketing, this is a collaborative effort. You are inviting influencers into the process, and you will not have complete control over what they will say or do. To manage the contributors, create guidelines that include:
- Content Limitations (topics, word count)
- Expectation of Results
The DeliverableThe most common deliverables of influential marketing pieces is a series of quotes to be used on a website, on a blog, or a compilation blog where the selected influencers present their opinions on your chosen topic. An excellent example of a way to implement influencer marketing is Roundup - 11 Fashion Bloggers Shares their Number 1 Fashion Tip. What makes it a great example is it:
- Groups like influencers together.
- Provides a narrow topic for the influencers to address.
- Allows each influencer to promote their website and share social media links.
- Engages the reader.
- Is aligned to be optimized and equipped for social media engagement.
Influential marketing can create buzz for your brand or drive business to your website. Marketing efforts are compounded with each influencer you invite to join your project, and you can capitalize on their followers. This process can be challenging but, if done well, the results are worth the effort.