Author: Ellen Gomes
Every industry has influencers—people who have the ability, because of their power or knowledge (real or perceived), to influence purchase decisions. Hollywood has celebrities, fashion has models, and business has its moguls.
The internet is no different. Social influencers are bloggers, social media personalities, or industry experts who have developed large and loyal followings by being insightful, entertaining, engaging, transparent, humorous, and—most importantly—human. This connection creates a bond between social influencers and their fans and followers that give these influencers unprecedented authority.
For a long time, “influencer marketing” was about leveraging these people to get in front of their audiences, but that’s not a long-term strategy (and it’s not very nice). A better, mutually beneficial approach is partnering with them to improve everyone’s brand.
No matter where you are in your content marketing campaign, influencers can help take you to the next level.
If you can get enough influencers talking about your product or your brand, you start to really get noticed. Gini Dietrich, Founder of Spin Sucks, recognizes the momentum that built when Spin Sucks (the book) started getting picked up and shared by PR professionals:
When Spin Sucks was published, I introduced the model we use internally for our clients, called the PESO Model*. From there, it began to grow in the industry as more and more PR professionals adopted it. The big coup came when Mashable interviewed me for a story. It’s been instrumental in both building brand awareness for Spin Sucks and in PR professionals looking to us as the authority on modern PR.
Image: PESO Model. PESO stands for “paid, earned, shared, owned.” The model demonstrates how true brand authority can be found at the intersection of these four types of media.
In short, influencers boost your content’s credibility. Their counsel can help brands stay relevant, and their endorsements (which they’re more likely to give if a brand has partnered with them and sought their advice from the beginning) speaks louder than your content alone.
The trick is finding the perfect influencers for your target audience and your content marketing. To really make an impact, you need to look for partners. The right influencers for your brand:
Identifying potential influencers to partner with can be tricky, but there are tools that can help, such as:
These tools all come at a price, but they track relevant conversations and the influencers that are leading them, and even provide a management system for reaching these influencers.
Once you’ve found potential influencers, start getting to know them. Follow their social media profiles, engage in their conversations, share their content, etc. If you’re not sure that someone is a good fit for your brand—just ask. Ask them about their passions, their motivations, etc.
When you’re sure that an influencer is a good fit, send a private message or pick up the phone (yes, this really works) and be straight-forward about what you’re looking for—and what you have to offer. Remember that a working partnership is mutually beneficial, so be prepared to detail how you are going to help the influencer:
Remember that the relationship between influencers and their audiences is built upon trust, so you have to prove to them that you are worthy of their (and their audiences’) time and money.
Make sure you have a clear plan for the role influencers will play in your content marketing strategy before you get them on board. Simply creating content and asking them to share it is not a partnership or a sustainable relationship. Create a plan for how they will be involved in your content campaigns:
Too many influencers have been abused at the hands of brands who just wanted to pay for their audiences (usually with cheap give-aways), but most genuine, long-term influencers have caught on and are highly protective of their audiences. Earn their trust by being worthy of it, and consider influencer marketing a partnership.
Start paying attention to who is driving conversations in your industry, and get to know them. (And if you just can’t find them, check out some of those tools we mentioned.) If an influencer is a good fit for your brand, and you’re willing to make it worth their while, establishing a relationship will be easier than you might think.
How Your Content Marketing Can Get an Extra Lift From Influencers was posted at Marketo Marketing Blog - Best Practices and Thought Leadership. | http://blog.marketo.com
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