Influencer Marketing is “the new black.” Everybody is talking about it, and it seems like all companies (B2B and B2C alike) are dabbling in it. There are many resources available that speak to the benefits of focusing on influencers, but there aren’t that many that offer actionable recipes on how to run Influencer Marketing campaigns successfully.
Having relied heavily on Influencer Marketing to help grow our thriving Nimble community of customers, resellers, ambassadors, writers and other influencers, I’m a big believer in its power. Many marketers are still struggling with delivering satisfying results; this is why our team decided to invite some of the top industry professionals to share their collective insights in The Ultimate Influencer Marketing Playbook, a free eBook Nimble released last month.
Here are seven of my favorite tips that will hopefully help you make your next Influencer Marketing campaign a huge success!
Relationships Must Be Strategic
In order to be successful in anything, you have to be strategic. Additionally, any productive relationship has to be mutually beneficial. Finding influencers that match your brand promise is the key. At Nimble, we focus on working with influencers in the key areas in and around the areas of our brand promise: including sales, marketing, and small business influencers.
Finding influencers that are a good match might sound like a no brainer, but Sam Hurley of OPTIM-EYEZ says that it’s not uncommon for “brands [to reach out] to marketing influencers to promote car repair services. FACEPALM!”
Collaboration Must Be Mutually Beneficial
“One of the biggest mistakes that I see all the time is companies offering to provide free access to a platform/software for influencers as the only payment for engaging an influencer,” Jeff says. “That is not a gift as much as it is an obligation, as it takes a lot of investment in time for an influencer or their team to learn the intricacies of a platform.
“You need to pay influencers. They have built their distribution and influence over years of work and blood, sweat, and tears.”
I, on the other hand, don’t immediately think “money” when talking about building mutually beneficial relationships. Many startups can’t afford to pay influencers, but they have other ways to deliver value, such as making introductions and helping people join boards or exclusive organizations; arranging meetings with people they really want to meet; or helping to promote their books, webinars or events.
This depends on the individual influencer, how big they are, and what their goals are. What I have found very effective for discovering what people really want is hopping on a conference call to connect and purely focus on their needs. If you listen, people will really open up and tell you.
“You need to pay influencers. They have built their distribution and influence over years of work and blood, sweat, and tears.” Jeff Bullas [tweet this!]
Don’t Assume Influence = Popularity (It’s Not)
“Don’t fall for the ‘influence = popularity’ myth. In B2B marketing, customers want to see more than just famous talking heads. They want to see themselves, or subject matter experts that are their peers, in the content that brands are promoting. Focusing solely on popularity drives awareness, but not engagement or conversions,” says TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden.
Collaborating with true subject matter experts can be incredibly beneficial to your brand as these are the people that your customers already look to for advice. They want actionable help from boots-on-the-ground experts that have proven themselves in their industry.
Don’t Ask for Too Much and Don’t Micromanage Influencers
“If you’re going to pitch your brand to an influencer, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to participate and say ‘yes.’ The more work you ask them to do, the less likely they’ll come on board,” says Chad Pollitt, VP of Marketing at inPowered.
“The costs of micromanaging influencers can be steep,” cautions Nimble Communications Director Jenna Dobkin. “Last summer, I worked with a PR agency that launched an augmented reality game, and they insisted on changing video titles and descriptions, both of which are SEO ranking factors on YouTube. As a result, the client lost over half a million views on a single video compared to the YouTube family’s average viewership.”
Don’t Take Shortcuts
“Be it influencer identification tools or third-party platforms, no tool can provide you the same results as good old-fashioned community building and hard work. The most effective influencers are often existing customers or industry members who are less likely to have social celebrity status, but are passionate about education and teaching others. These are less likely to be found through influencer identification tools and more likely to be found by working the community,” says Sam Fiorella, co-author of Influence Marketing.
Don’t Lose Your Patience With Influencers
Business relationships, like any other relationship, take time to develop. Imagine yourself at a cocktail party; you wouldn’t just walk up to somebody and start talking about yourself or push your business. It’s a slow dance, and it requires a lot of time and patience.
Nimble’s dear friend and AgoraPulse Brand Evangelist Mike Allton says it best: “You cannot rush or force a relationship. You can take steps and do certain things to help it along and try to make sure that it grows in a positive direction, but ultimately you have zero control over that relationship. It’s a mutual state of existence which requires buy-in from both parties – you and the influencer.”
“You cannot rush or force a relationship.” Mike Allton [tweet this!]
Don’t Tell Influencers What to Do
The fastest way to ruin your relationship with an influencer is by telling them what to do. It’s all about mutual understanding and respect. Keynote speaker and author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR, David Meerman Scott, gets targeted by brands on daily basis, and speaks of his biggest pet peeve:
“Every day, people email me things they want me to share on my social networks. I get that. I’m on a bunch of lists as an “influencer” (whatever that means) or as a journalist, and it is very easy to find my contact details. Just don’t tell me to share! I’m okay with people sending me stuff that is within the things I write and speak about, but I am not okay with them telling me what I should do with it.
“The only reason you are sending me your wonderful stuff is that you want me to pimp it for you. You don’t know me, so why else would you send it? Understood. Just don’t tell me the obvious.”
If you are interested in learning more about the do’s and don’ts of Influencer Marketing, as well as checking out some wildly successful campaigns from the Influencer Marketing pros who had a hand in delivering them, check out Nimble’s Ultimate Influencer Marketing Playbook. We would love to hear what you think about it!
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