Influencer marketing is an exciting strategy with “84% of marketers worldwide saying they would launch at least one influencer campaign within the next 12 months” according to eMarketer. Yet there are many marketers unsure how to start influencer relations programs, what can be achieved and how to measure success. There are also several challenges such as the subject of fake influence, how to best work with influencers without offering financial compensation and how to best integrate influencer marketing into your marketing mix.
There are also several challenges such as the subject of fake influence, how to best work with influencers without offering financial compensation and how to best integrate influencer marketing into your marketing mix.
In order for influencer marketing to reach the next level and influencer relations to evolve, we need the industry to think more in terms of equal/added-value partnerships. This whitepaper will take you from ‘aspiration’ to ‘execution’ by giving you a practical framework to organically create, implement, measure and scale your influencer relations strategy to produce meaningful results for your business.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing currently has many different definitions and forms in such a fast moving and evolving category that is still nascent and fragmented. Although the industry category and buzzword is influencer marketing we are going to focus more on Influencer Relationship Management which is the most organic form of influencer marketing where relationships and partnerships are at the heart of a successful strategy. Influencer relations is the practise of building organic relationships with influencers based on a value exchange and partnership between the brand and the influencer where the goal is to deliver value to your target audience through influencers’ networks. Advertising and sales campaigns are often mistaken for influencer marketing. For clarity we are NOT going to focus this paper on advertising strategies such as paying celebrities to endorse products, sponsorship or product placement and equally we will not cover selling directly to influencers or customers. There is no right or wrong definition so long as there is a genuine connection between you and the influencer and that you are providing value to your target audience. Here are two definitions from leading influencer marketing experts:
“Influencer Marketing is the act of identifying, monitoring, engaging and measuring the role of influencers in the market perception of a brand and its products.”
“For B2B marketers Influencer Marketing is the practice of engaging internal and industry experts with active networks to help achieve measurable business goals.”
Why do influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is not a new concept. Word-of-mouth, social influence, PR and Public Affairs are highly relevant to the way this framework approaches influencer marketing. So what has changed and why is everyone talking about the importance of Influencer Marketing?
Since 2006 there has been a meteoric rise in social media and digital channels. Individuals and brands can now publish content through multiple media channels and this has created billions of new digital voices and an enormous rise in content creation. Influencers are also more accessible and are open to partnering with brands that they like or that help build their profile and audience. To engage with influencers ten years ago you would often need to go through a PR firm that would have the contacts at magazines, whereas now it can be as simple as sending a direct message (DM) or easily accessible email. At the same time brand loyalty and trust are at an all-time low, consumer attention spans are shorter than ever before and traditional advertising techniques are less effective than they once were.
“Your brand thinks that your products and services are the best thing in the world? Customers just don’t buy into self-congratulating marketing anymore.”
“There comes a time when every marketer faces the challenge of how to build brand credibility. For many businesses, the answer is to build an army of influencers who will provide your product the positive word-of-mouth it needs to stand out among competitors.”
Since the economic crisis of 2008 there has been a new found cynicism associated with politicians, newspapers and large brands and this lack of trust makes it more challenging for brands to get their marketing messages over to consumers. As Marketing Week published back in 2009, there has been an “evolutionary shift from deference to reference; deference being people accepting what they are told and reference being people asking advice from peers.” We are at the “age of emotional proximity” where peer recommendations surpass all other forms of marketing.
Another reason to consider influencer marketing is how cost-effective it is compared to social media community management especially if you are struggling for internal marketing resource. A Forrester research study shows that “6.2% of key influencers are responsible for 80% of the influence in social media”. Engaging with a select group of influencers with the potential to deliver impact across your wider marketplace can often deliver the best bang for your buck.
“It is a new world. Influencers are the gatekeeper to the audience you want to engage.”
Effective influencer marketing starts with identifying relevant influential experts for your brand. Onalytica’s platform mines over 200 billion posts a year into a curated database of over 700K global social media influencers, including data from Twitter, Blogs, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn Profile Links + Demographic Data. Our software enables you to identify influencers by topic, demographic or content and includes real-time tracking and measurement reporting to scale your influencer relations. If you are interested in learning more about identifying, managing and engaging with influencers click below to request a demo!