“Who is more influential to you than the people closest that you respect and trust?” – Lee Odden
In the time that I’ve been at TopRank Marketing, I’ve had the opportunity to witness first-hand how influencer marketing can be an incredibly powerful way to build credibility for a brand, and create connections with the right people.
I remember that one of my first experiences with influencer marketing was an interview that I did with Avinash Kaushik (that was of course facilitated by Lee Odden). I was overwhelmed by how humble and happy he was to collaborate with me. Why? Because Lee and the team at TopRank Marketing had found ways to feature him previously and begin building that relationship.
Today, it has become much more difficult to capture and hold the attention of many in-demand influencers. Many companies are unsure of how exactly to effectively identify, qualify and recruit influencers into their digital marketing strategy.
Last week, TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden presented to a packed room at Social Media Marketing World with the intent of enlightening, inspiring and instructing marketers on how to effectively add influencers to their digital marketing programs. Below are what I would consider to be some of the top takeaways from this information packed presentation.
5 Important Benefits of Influencer Marketing
The long-term benefits of influencer marketing are often overlooked for the short-term gain. Some of the top benefits of collaborating with influencers include:
- Advocacy: The credibility that often comes along with collaborating with influencers can be incredibly important as a tool for building brand advocacy.
- Quality: When you tap into influencers, you’re gaining input from a knowledge base outside your own. Their expertise can help increase the quality of the content being produced to better serve your target audience.
- Variety: Again, an outside perspective is a great way to add variety to the content being produced by your brand. While the messages should be aligned, their unique perspective may speak to your audience in a way that your brand content may not.
- Engagement: It’s no secret that customers buy from people that they know and trust. And that people trust individuals over brands. Armed with this knowledge, brands can incorporate influencers to increase the engagement of their target audiences with the content that is co-created with influencers.
- Scale & Reach: Not only does working with influencers help companies create more quality content, but it exposes that content to audiences that they may not otherwise have access to.
16 Ways to Engage Influencers with Content
The options for incorporating influencers into your content strategy are nearly limitless. While some marketers may think that interviews, or videos are the only way to go, there are so many more options including:
- Social Content/Shares
- Short Interviews
- Long Interviews
- Blog Posts
- Visual Content
- Contributed Articles
- Twitter Chats
- Event Panels/Presentations
- Product Reviews
Influencer Marketing Tools
The evolution of influencer marketing has been largely due to the tools made available today. Depending on the needs of your influencer marketing, you can use one, a few or many of the following tools to aid your efforts:
- LinkedIn (client)
- GroupHigh (client)
- Little Bird
- Traackr (client)
Top Influencer Engagement Fails & Wins
FAIL: Too Much, Too Soon
Many marketers make the mistake of trying to squeeze too much out of influencers before building the appropriate amount of time building the relationship. If you haven’t had any previous content, then you should avoid asking an influencer to participate in a big project.
FAIL: Forgetting to Ask for Permission
It can be tempting just to include influencers in your content without reaching out to them first. However, when you publish a piece of content that includes any amount of content from an influencer and you haven’t made content to let them know, you absolutely should not reach out to them cold and push them to promote the content.
FAIL: The Bait & Switch
It is always important to be honest and transparent with influencers that you ask to collaborate with you. Whatever you promise when they agree to participate should be 100% what is delivered to them.
WIN: Research influencers
In order to find influencers that are the right match for your brand, it’s important to understand:
- What they care about.
- How your company can offer value for their collaboration.
- What you can offer that is unique.
WIN: Make it Easy for Influencers to Participate
Many companies fail at influencer marketing because there is too much complexity in the things that they are asking of influencers. To stand out in a sea of emails, make it as easy as possible for influencers to get on board and share their insight with you.
WIN: Continue to Feed the Influencer/Brand Relationship
If you want to create a sustainable influencer marketing program, you must continue to nurture your relationship with influencers. That means, showing your appreciation, providing feedback, finding ways to stay connected, refer them business or other influencer opportunities and citing them in ongoing content.
Is Your Influencer Marketing Strategy Aligned with Marketing Goals?
Influencer marketing has evolved significantly over the past few years and will only become more competitive as more and more brands continue to develop a savvy approach. There is no denying the immense value of incorporating influencers into your digital marketing strategy, but understanding where to start (or where you may have gone wrong) is not always easy.
If you’d like to learn more about how to find, engage and collaborate with industry influencers to boost the reach and performance of your content marketing programs, check out our influencer marketing services page and contact us for a consultation.