Anyone can do bad influencer marketing. The real question is can you do good influencer marketing?
The leading brands and agencies have understood influence isn't about megaphones and popularity and the social web is not one big soap box.
To harness the extraordinary power of peers and experts, these marketers are finding was to build relationships with important individuals over time. They build trust and create opportunities for engagement to happen organically and authentically.
Traackr recently teamed up with experts at LEWIS PR to create an "at-a-glance" framework for influencer marketing based on their collective experiences creating and powering influencer-based programs across verticals. The framework (laid out in an infographic that appears at the bottom of this post) walks through the path to influencer marketing success, which always starts by defining your customer or audience and working backward to figure out who these people engage with and trust.
Next, you use an influencer discovery tool to identify the right influencers and extract insights that help you decide who to reach out to and how to get them involved in your brand stories.
Finally, the influencer work that outperforms the rest always includes measurement and refining based on analytics.
In addition to the action plan, they also identified nine best practices influencer marketing experts use no matter what!
1. Think Beyond Demographics
All too often marketers want to target generic groups such as mommy bloggers or tech bloggers. But that won't cut it.
To be influential on the social web means you produce and share content that gets people excited about specific things. Look for influencers based on their interests and passions.
2. Understand Their Community
An influencer is influential because they have built an audience that wants to listen to what they have to say. That means influencers care more about their own community than your brand (and rightly so)! Find ways to help them serve their audience and you win.
3. De-Emphasize Primary Reach
Influencer marketing scales by building quality relationships with select people and reaching secondary audiences. Instead of aiming to "reach" the masses yourself by blasting your message, work with a targeted group of people who can better tell your story.
4. Create Experiences
The new breed of social influencers has just as much power as a traditional journalist, but they aren't motivated by the same things. Instead of pushing your news, create experiences for your influencers so they have something to react to and share.
5. Play the Long Game
The value of your influencer relationships grows over time. Invest the time it takes to spark connections, earning trust and sustaining relationships. The more you get to know each other the more value you can create for each other.
6. Tailor Your Strategy
Influencer marketing isn't direct mail 2.0. You need to craft messages and create experiences that will resonate with people based on their own unique personalities. Customize your approach based on the individual person.
7. Provide High Value
Far from just pitching, find opportunities for your brand to enrich the work of your influencers. Remember, they care about their audiences and they are hungry for unique experiences to share.
Do you have data that would further their research? How about a special event for insiders?
8. Fundamentally Human
Influencers are not empty amplification vessels. Treat them well and focus on their unique passions, interests and personalities. To loosely paraphrase Tara Hunt: you wouldn't ask a stranger to marry you, so why would you ask an influencer to endorse you right off the bat.
9. Strive for Relationships
Bottom line and most important tip: it's all about the relationship! The social web is full of people who are passionately engaged in topics that impact your business. But you have to build a relationship with an influencer before you can unlock their potential value.
You can put these tips to use with our 5-Step Action Plan for Influencer Marketing. Get the details and more in the infographic: