THE INCREASINGIMPORTANCEOF INFLUENCERMARKETINGInfluencer marketing isn’t a new concept. Getting the rightpeople excited, engaged, and talking about your brandhas always been one of the best ways to improve brandrecognition, expand your customer base, and ultimatelydrive more sales. After all, word of mouth is the most trustedway for a potential customer to hear about your product.What has changed is that socialmedia has made word of mouthglobal and immediate. Someonetalking positively about your brandand products on Twitter, Facebook,Google+, Pinterest or any othersocial media platform can have apowerful and far-reaching influence.That’s made building relationshipswith these online influencersmore important than ever. In the2013 Influencer Marketing Surveyconducted by Sensei Marketing,74% of respondents said they planto deploy influencer marketingstrategies during the next 12months, and over half said theyuse influencer marketing as partof their campaigns.Odds are influencer marketingis already part of your game plan.The ability it gives you to tap into anetwork trusted by consumers, turnfans into advocates, and generateboth insights and leads makes ita necessary part of any marketingplan. The question is: how can youmaximize your return on investment?Here are 6 best practices used bymarketers to influence the influencersand produce real results.6 BEST PRACTICES FOR INFLUENCER MARKETING2

Best Practice #1Find influencersinside andoutside the boxIt’s common sense to use Google searches and Twittersearches to find people who are already interested in yourindustry or in your target demographic. Dig deeper.People talking about your brandand your competitors’ brands areyour first tier of influencers, butsavvy marketers are looking outsidethose areas. For example, marketersat an interior decor company alsocheck out fashion blogs, DIY blogsand construction blogs—looking forinteresting overlaps.With tools like Klout and Kredyou can determine who has thebiggest, broadest reach across socialnetworks. But the size of someone’snetwork doesn’t necessarily correlateto the extent of their influence. Youwant to uncover the relevant peopleleading conversations and shapingopinions about your company orbrand, even if those influencersare leading smaller social groups.Heartbeat, powered by Sysomos,identifies influencers and theirauthority, helping you identify,engage and build relationshipswith the right people.Marketers are naturally interestedin bringing big-name influencersin their industry into their network,but it’s a smart strategy to alsotarget up-and-comers, who willhave more incentive to be the firstto mention something new andcool. The competitors of must-haveinfluencers are usually also goodbets to add to your network.Your current network will naturallylead you to other influencers.To build a good Twitter networkmany marketers practice the ruleof following ten new people everyday. Although not all of them mayturn out to be particularly helpfulinfluencers, enough will make itworth the effort.According to Technorati Media’s 2013 Digital Influence Report,54% of consumers agree that the smaller the network the greaterthe influence, so make sure cultivating influencers with a smaller reachis part of your strategy.6 BEST PRACTICES FOR INFLUENCER MARKETING3

Best Practice #2Use measurementto cultivatefrom withinMany marketers find that their best influencers are alreadyin their network—people who pay attention to their socialmedia presence and know who they are.While it can be incredibly beneficialto get a mention from a celebrity,customers are actually mostinfluenced by what their friendsand family do and like, followedby people they consider “likethem”—their friends-of-friendsnetwork, and people with similardemographics. Your network isno doubt already full of peoplewho can be minor influencers byspeaking to their friends and familyabout your product.Tools like Heartbeat can help youidentify these conversations soyou can add the influencers to yoursocial networks and begin reachingout to them.The 2013 Digital Influence Report found that the top reasonsconsumers cite for following brands on Facebook, Twitter, YouTubeand other social media platforms are to keep up with a company’sactivities and learn about new products and services. These interestedfollowers are prime candidates to become brand advocates.6 BEST PRACTICES FOR INFLUENCER MARKETING4

Best Practice #3Recognizeand rewardinfluencersEveryone likes to feel special and in-the-know—to be thatfriend who’s always able to recommend the next new thing.Social media influencers are no exception.An effective outreach strategyincludes tactics for recognizing andrewarding important players in yoursocial media circle. This typicallyincludes creating an influencernetwork whose members get firstcrack at special content, deals, offersand news as well as free demosof your product or service. Savvymarketers may also tap particularlydedicated influencers for feedbackabout new products or services—brand loyalists love to feel likethey’ve had an impact.Another common approach is toask followers to re-tweet or “Like”something posted for a contestentry or coupon. It’s a good wayto get a lot of quick mentions,although many of these peoplemay fade away after the initialexcitement. To keep influencersengaged, it’s important to keepgiving them topical, timely rewardsand information.Big social media blitzes are goodfor sharing big news, but thestrategy shouldn’t end after thefirst burst of interest.According to the 2013 Digital Influence Report, most influencersreceive close to 10 opportunities to work with brands a week. Thismakes offering the right incentives crucial to your brand’s success.6 BEST PRACTICES FOR INFLUENCER MARKETING5

Best Practice #4BepersonalAs marketers we know the value of creating personalconnections. Engaging a social influencer, especiallyone with a big readership, is a lot like reaching out toa journalist.Influencers are deeply passionateabout their topics and probablyknow more about your marketthan you do. They will ask toughquestions, and you have to beprepared to answer them.The most effective approach is tolearn about the interests of theseinfluencers and engage with themon their turf and on their terms.A social media monitoring toolwith historical archives will not onlyinform you about what topics theseinfluencers posted or commentedon but will also tell you how longthey have been discussing thetopics. This information will helpyou build relationships that makeit possible to start putting yourproduct in front of these influencersand asking them to promote it.Of course, influence online isa two-way street, and the savviestmarketers strengthen theirrelationships with influencers whotalk up their products by givingthem a mention in return. A goodpractice is to pick three to teninfluencers a week and link to themon your blog or other social mediaplatform. Feature influencers witha range of reaches—your smallerinfluencers will be thrilled to bementioned with the big names.To effectively build an influencer relationship, show that you knowwhat’s important to your influencer, make sure your brand is relevant tohim or her, and personally tailor your approach to his or her interests.6 BEST PRACTICES FOR INFLUENCER MARKETING6

Best Practice #5Tailor thetactic tothe platformInfluencer behavior on Twitter doesn’t look the same as onFacebook, Google+, Quora, or any of a hundred blogs andsocial platforms. Twitter’s reach is at its best with short,pithy updates that can be re-tweeted.Many marketers make it a rule toupdate their Twitter feeds no morethan once an hour (except to carryon conversations), and no less thanonce every business day.Facebook users update less oftenand influencers are much lesslikely to share something purelycommercial for fear of losingreaders. Facebook is a greatplace for games and shareableexperiences, and especially sociallyconscious initiatives like donationprograms. Dr. Pepper’s TuitionGiveaway is a great example thatcombines a contest with a shareablesocial good—everyone knowssomeone with a college studentin the family.Other social media sites rewarddifferent tactics. On many blogsand discussion platforms, becomingpart of the dialog is the best wayto engage users. The most effectivemarketers maximize their socialmedia efforts by cross-pollinating.For example, they share great blogposts (with their comments) ontheir Twitter feeds, and share greatFacebook photos on Pinterest.92% of influencers use Facebook, 88% Twitter, 76% LinkedIn, 74%YouTube and Google+, says the 2013 Digital Influence Report. Mostpost to more than one social platform.6 BEST PRACTICES FOR INFLUENCER MARKETING7

Best Practice #6Keep up withthe social mediaconversationBrands are finding interesting ways to become an integralpart of the social media conversation and get influencerstalking about them organically.JetBlue, for instance, is an engagingpresence in the Twitter conversationbetween frequent flyers and othertravel companies. Its Twitter updatesare youthful and cheeky, just likeits brand, and JetBlue is not afraidto say something a little sassy toits competitors.Obviously that sort of personalityisn’t right for every brand, but everybrand can benefit from being partof the conversation. Share industrynews, your reaction to it, and whatyou think it means for the future.If a competitor does somethingimpressive, give them a compliment.Be gracious or snarky on your socialchannels, but don’t shy away fromhaving an opinion. That’s whatkeeps people thinking and talkingabout you.77% of buyers say they are more likely to buy from a company whoseCEO uses social media; 94% said C-suite social media participationenhances a brand image; and 82% of employees say they trust acompany more when the CEO and leadership team communicatevia social media. (Source: eMarketer).6 BEST PRACTICES FOR INFLUENCER MARKETING8

THE BOTTOM LINEInfluence isalways changingThe social media conversation—and even the platformwhere it’s happening—is constantly evolving. So are theinfluencers that marketers need to connect with.One thing that doesn’t changeis that there’s no substitute forgood relationships to drive sales.Effective marketers are usingmeasurement tools to keeptheir pool of influencers fresh,understand how those influencersare talking about their brand, andcontinue to grow their network.Identifying your influencers andmonitoring how they talk about yourbrand and your industry can giveyou valuable information that canaffect all marketing initiatives, andeven the future of your company.Engaging with social mediainfluencers takes time and attention,but it can pay huge dividends inhighly credible buzz about yourbrand, increased sales, and newcustomers and customer segments.As the social web continues to evolve, marketers will be challengedto take their strategies to the next level to better meet the needs ofa new generation of online influencers. The landscape is fast-movingand multi-faceted indeed, but this presents an optimal environmentfor innovative brands looking to gain an edge (3 Ways Brands CanEvolve Their Thinking for the Next Generation of Influencer Marketing,WOMMA, via Emily Garvey.)6 BEST PRACTICES FOR INFLUENCER MARKETING9

Additional Reading2013 Influencer Marketing Survey(Sensai Marketing)Enfluence: Social Influencer Marketing Report(Engauge)2013 Digital Influence Report(Technorati Media)about marketwiredMarketwired is a social communications leader offering best-in-class newsdistribution and reporting, as well as state-of-the-art social media monitoringand analytics. We open up new opportunities for our clients—helpingthem tune into the conversations that count, find insights that matter,and influence the right people.Influencer marketing case study: 4-year-olds + NASCAR(WOMMA Blog)CONNECT WITH US:Influence marketing: What’s next?(Businesses Grow, a blog by Mark Schaefer)Websitemarketwired.comBLOGblog.marketwire.comTWITTER@marketwiredWhy influencer marketing isn’t about the “influencers”(AdAge)US800.774.9473CANADA888.299.0338UK+44 (0) 20 7220 4500The Basics of Influence Marketing(eBook)Building an Influencer Marketing Program(The Lean Marketer)Social Influence Marketing is About to Change Your Business:Author of ‘Return On Influence’(CNBC, guest post from Mark Schaefer)Will Influencer Marketing Build or Break Brand Trust?(Branding Magazine)6 BEST PRACTICES FOR INFLUENCER MARKETING10

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