Do you ever find yourself scrolling through LinkedIn, noticing the marketers that seem to be absolutely smashing it? The ones that always seem on the ball with the latest news and trends, are well connected, driving lots of engagement and are constantly getting promoted. Do you ever sit back to reflect on why this may be? What skills do they have that make them stand out?
In a world dominated by social media, the top skills needed in order for a marketer to be successful are very different to what they used to be 20, or even 10 years ago. This is even more so the case with the surge in influencer marketing programs. The very fact that successful marketers seem to stick out like a sore thumb on platforms like LinkedIn, is because they’re incredibly active, vocal and engaged on there – it is no coincidence. Marketers being social and influencer savvy is absolutely key in today’s world.
But let’s talk about influencer marketing a little more, and shift our focus to successful marketing teams – because, as the good old saying goes “there’s no I in team” and usually, successful marketers are surrounded by a great team with different, but complementary skill sets. At Onalytica, we have run over 1000 influencer marketing programs, and one of the most common misconceptions and pushbacks are concerns that you need to hire someone new to get an influencer marketing program off the ground. Influencer Marketing when done best isn’t just one person’s sole job, it should be a collective team effort whereby you’re integrating influencer marketing into your existing marketing activities to achieve better results. So, chances are, if you look across your marketing team, each and every person will possess a skill that is key to your program’s success, or at least have a solid foundation to build upon.
Let us take you through the 5 skills that the top 1% of marketing teams seem to nail, in the context of what it takes to run a stellar influencer program.
1. Relationship Building & Networking (online & offline)
Where a lot of teams go wrong with influencer marketing is that they treat influencers as just a platform to access more reach and therefore the relationship becomes very transactional. Influencer marketing should have relationship building at its core. Influencer collaborations built off of genuine relationships are far more likely to get results, not to mention that the influencer is far more likely to stay loyal to your brand. This relationship building and networking can happen both online (by engaging and sharing their content) and offline (by meeting up for lunch, coffee and inviting them to events).
The ability to network and build relationships will provide infinite value and opportunity to marketers across all areas of marketing.
Below we have just one example of many from Lenovo’s Brand Advocacy Manager, Chloe Jones, who not only is great at networking offline with their #LenovoChampion trips around the world, but she keeps the relationship going online. So simple, but so effective.
“Successful influencer programs require strong relationship building skills both externally and internally. Externally to develop influencer communities & brand advocates and internally to communicate program vision and show business outcomes to senior management.”
Tim Williams, CEO, Onalytica
2. Content Creation & Design
In a time of content overload, it is now more important than ever to grab your target audience’s attention, quickly. Our customers and target audience are no longer interested in branded content. The solution? Creating visually compelling, exciting and inspiring content that your target audience will love. Whether it is a video or an infographic, make sure that you’re developing your team’s content and design skills. Another thing to note here is that there’s no such thing as content that’s too long, just too boring. The art of the written word is not lost, you just need to make sure you’re providing real value – something that Influencers are great at supplementing.
Below is an example brand-influencer collaboration with Divvy HQ & TopRank Marketing’s content team called “Easy-as-pie guide to content planning”. In this campaign, they reached out to marketing experts, asking them to provide their Easy-as-Pie- tip. They then turned these insights into multiple content assets. They even sent the experts an actual pie! Read up on this more here, but we just wanted to give you a taste (pardon the pun) of the fun content. Something that is actually quite hard to come by in the world of B2B marketing.
“The top skill for influencer marketing success is being audience-obsessed! Knowing who your target market is, what they care about, the conversations they are currently engaged in, and what their pain points are—these are the critical components of successful influencer marketing. Get clarity on what you want to achieve, what do you want your target market to do? Drill down to a level of specificity around how your target market will be influenced by the influencers you are selecting. Do you know who is influential to your target market? People do not make buying decisions based on popularity, they make buying decisions based on trust. Engage influencers that are trusted and respected by your target market. Anything less is just expensive noise”
Tamara McCleary, CEO & Influencer, Thulium
3. Content Curation
Believe it or not, content creation and content curation are two very different skills. Creating great content is one thing, but amplifying the content and driving impact is another. You need to make sure that you’re able to effectively connect the dots when it comes to integrating your Influencer-generated content into your social media scheduling tool, employee advocacy tools or your customer/client nurturing programs.
It is also important to note here that you shouldn’t just be curating branded content, but industry content, news and also influencer content to help build your relationships.
For this example, we have to give our very own, Head of Influencer Strategy, Jack, a shout. He is the first to share and support Onalytica’s educational content, interesting industry content, and he has even taken to creating his own video content series!
“Curation helps you keep your profile active when you don’t have your own content to share, and it’s a great way of making connections with people in your field. Discussing what they’re doing & saying is a much better way to start a conversation than talking about yourself, in any case. Sometimes thought leadership is about actively listening & learning from others.”
Jack Morel-Paulo, Head of Influencer Strategy, Onalytica
4. Social Media Acumen
We’re clear that social media in general is undeniably important, but each social media channel is different from the last in terms of its algorithm and the culture. Your team must be savvy when it comes to understanding how the platform works so that they can effectively tailor content length, hashtags, writing styles, messaging and Influencer activation in order to drive the most engagement and impact.
On an individual level, having great social media acumen is a very useful skill to build your LinkedIn profile, make it more visible and open up doors.
Sarah Goodall, Founder of Tribal Impact, is a great example of someone with terrific social media acumen. Sarah is consistent and regular with her content on all social media platforms (you can find her on: LinkedIn, Twitter & Instagram), but she is also bang on with her content length & style and understands the rules & algorithms for each platform. On LinkedIn, Sarah shares her company’s content, industry content and even publishes her own videos; on Twitter, she engages in real-time conversations and on Instagram, she keeps her content light and more personal.
5) Analytics & Measurement
What’s the point in all of the above if you’re not able to effectively measure the impact that you’re having – both in terms of hitting your KPIs (more on creating your strategy and setting your KPIs here), but also the impact you’re having on the wider industry. What this ultimately comes down to is measuring what matters, rather than measuring what you can; the hardest things to measure are often the most important.
It is important to develop the skills to connect the dots and be able to link metrics such as social media shares and engagement back to your wider marketing and business objectives. But also important to bear in mind that influencer marketing success isn’t an overnight thing, but it is worth the wait and hard work.
“After several years in B2B influencer marketing, I can confidently say that it takes many skills to see success. But there is one that bubbles to the top. From my perspective, it’s being comfortable with the slow churn. And that goes for both internal stakeholders and external social influencers. You aren’t able to flip a switch and expect to have mind blowing influencer advocacy and executive buy-in. You need discipline and patience to spend the time internally educating stakeholders on your influencer marketing point-of-view. You may realize early on that not everyone will get it and it will take time to build supporters. The same goes for your social influencers. It will take time to build long-term brand advocates who don’t need a paycheck to say great things about your brand online. You will nail influencer marketing if you’re patient and have the ability to lead the skeptics.”
Ryan Bares, Global Social Program Lead: Social influencers & Employee Advocacy, IBM
In a lot of cases, you can deploy tools to make analytics and measurement easier. Below is an example chart pulled from our software looking at influencer marketing topics over the last 4 years. Interesting to see how much influencer marketing has matured since 2017, with the keywords being far more generic and less focused on topics such as identifying influencers.
If you’re looking to develop your team’s skills to get your influencer program off the ground, then why not enquire about our free training academy, led by our Head of Influencer Strategy, Jack? If you’re interested, learn more and enquire by clicking the button below.