How to create an influencer marketing strategy

Influencer marketing can help to improve brand advocacy, expand brand awareness and reach new targeted audiences. It can open up entirely new audiences for companies to connect with, in ways that are more natural and relatable than other forms of marketing. From Altimeter’s latest report on influencers, we take a look at some of Brian Solis’s recommendations of how to create a successful influencer marketing strategy:

  1. SET OUTCOMES: Align your desired business outcomes with the influencer and customer objectives in each moment of truth—from awareness to consideration, to decision, to overall experience.
  2. UNDERSTAND YOUR CUSTOMERS: Start by identifying the touchpoints that are important to your customers. Find out where they go and why, the questions they ask, the results they find, and who influences them, as influencer relations can create a vibrant community for peer-to-peer engagement.
  3. UNCOVER THE TOP CUSTOMER SEARCHES AND THE QUESTIONS THEY ASK: Rather than pushing marketing messages and trendy content at people, gather insights from their behaviours to deliver value when you connect influencers with them. Look beyond keyword searches, look at the questions that they ask. Many customers ask questions that begin with “what,” “when” and “how.” In fact, one of the most popular questions customers ask starts with “how to.”
  4. DISCOVER WHERE THEY’RE GOING TO ASK THOSE QUESTIONS, WHO IS ANSWERING THEM, AND WHAT THEY DO NEXT: When people ask questions, they find answers. Based on behaviour, uncover where they go and why. Furthermore, discover who they listen to and who they trust.
  5. IDENTIFY KEY INFLUENCERS IN YOUR SECTOR: You might find it effective to use an influencer relations manager platform to identify the right influencers in your sector, those who are leading the conversations that matter to your business. By understanding the questions people are asking and who’s answering them, you can learn how to partner with the right people and create meaningful content that can serve in a variety of programs and touchpoints for your audience.
  6. READ AND FOLLOW THE WORK OF INFLUENCERS BEFORE ENGAGING THEM: Influencer marketing is about building strong relationships. Make the personal investment in understanding why the influencers you’ve selected have earned their communities and work out what a mutually beneficial relationship would look like between you both.
  7. TALK TO CUSTOMERS: By using surveys, and talking face to face with your consumers, see how and why influencers influence them, in real-world scenarios. Interview people to learn who influences them, and why.
  8. SET MEASUREMENTS FOR ENGAGEMENT, IMPACT, AND GROWTH: Look beyond traditional marketing metrics. Identify with the value that matters to your customers and the outcomes that matter to your business and the influencers you partner with; everything else is a distraction. Assign KPIs and outcomes to influencer programs that align with specific instances in the customer journey, i.e. awareness, sales, support, and loyalty. These KPIs should also complement existing metrics that matter to each moment, such as reach, acquisition, conversion, retention, etc. Ultimately, your influencer program KPIs must align with over-arching business and departmental goals as well.

One of the leading advocates of influencer marketing is Top Rank Marketing CEO, Lee Odden. In a recent interview with The Content Council, he shared his views on how to engage with, and incentivise an influencer. Here’s what he had to say:
“There are essentially three ways to incentivise the relationship with an influencer—money, recognition or a combination of both. Compensating influencers for content and promotion is typical in a B2C environment. In B2B, where the sales cycle is a lot longer, there’s more opportunity for brands to create collaborative content with influencers to meet prospective buyer information needs. These influencers are subject matter experts, and when they talk, people really listen. Relationships with these influencers are based on shared values, common interests and not necessarily on financial transactions. Many individuals are flattered to be recognised as a leader in their field and are happy to work alongside a brand as it further raises their profile. Companies also establish paid engagement criteria where some activities with the influencer are for exposure, like tips provided for an ebook, while others are paid, like giving a keynote at a user conference or developing unique content exclusively for the brand. In many ways, the paid model for influencers and content is no different than engaging a consultant.”

Find out more about how some of the today's most successful companies are approaching influencer marketing download the latest report from Top Rank Marketing, Traackr, and Altimeter Group, Influencer 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing.

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