Target audience, lead generation and strategy—“Influencer engagement” is the new term that marketing and digital communication gurus and experts are throwing around. As strange as it may seem, influencer engagement has actually got a lot more in common with what we used to call public relations than with any other kind of marketing theory.
Target audience, lead generation and strategy—“Influencer engagement” is the new term that marketing and digital communication gurus and experts are throwing around. As strange as it may seem, influencer engagement has actually got a lot more in common with what we used to call public relations than with any other kind of marketing theory. The only thing that’s different is the players and the channels. Essentially, it’s still the same thing, we’ve just adapted to a digital environment.
So, do you know how to engage with these online influencer? In this series of posts, we’ve put together a dictionary to define the key concepts of influencer engagement, from A to Z. Let’s start with the “A:”
A is for “Advocates”
As Jay Baer said, “True influence requires two things: audience and advocacy.” Advocacy is the highest level an influencer can reach with a brand. This level is probably the most valuable asset influencers can give to a brand, conviction. At this level, affinity is natural, thanks to the level of confidence that influencers have in the brand, its products and the team behind it.
Influencers can go through many phases in their interaction with brands, but when they become advocates this doesn’t only have an impact on the buzz generated but also on leads and sales… You can turn your customers, clients and employees into advocates… but also your influencers!
Take a look at this infographic by BzzAgent with some data on the power of influencer advocates:
B is for “Blogger”
When we talk about influencers, we automatically think about bloggers. Probably because they are the most common type of influencer online, using a platform that has great potential for generating content. In our first report on the state of influencer marketing we saw that 52% of communication and marketing professionals said that they used their influencers’ blogs to make contact with them. This finding says a lot about this channel when it comes to time for a brand’s influencer outreach strategy.
iBlogzone published post a few months ago highlighting the importance of these platforms, as well as their influence over consumer decision making.
C is for “Content”
“Content is King,” didn’t know? There’s a reason everybody’s been using this ubiquitous phrase recently. According to our Influencer Marketing Report, 57% of those surveyed said that they had used content to establish a relationship with their online opinion leaders.
Sometimes this means trying to create what we call “content acknowledgement” such as the example created by Hubspot with their “22 Influencer Marketing Ideas From Influential Marketers” infographic in which they include quotes from leading industry professionals.
We can also talk about “collaborative content” with influencers when we reach a high enough level of interaction to be able to create joint whitepapers and webinars.
But content also plays a part when our brand’s relationship with its opinion leaders is still in its infancy.The first steps should be the monitoring their posts and acknowledgements on social media (retweeting posts, mentions, tagging their posts as favourites…). In the end, it’s all content! Here’s a graph describing the process of creating an influencer content strategy:
D is for “Database”
You need to be aware that influencers are not included in some database or marketplace where you can just pay them for an automatic promotion. The influencer’s greatest asset is his or her independence, the honesty of their content and the close ties they forge with their community. Therefore, earning their trust and developing a medium to long-term connection with them is not about external databases, but about your own work over time. The return that this will bring you in the future will be even greater if you invest the time now.
A good tool to identify online influencers will help you locate the best influencer for your campaigns based on the subject or industry you want to promote. From then on, you’re the boss and you’ll have to start building up and working on your network of contacts.
E is for “Expertise”
It is the key ingredient that influential people or influencers must have. When we talk about influencers, we’re not just talking about people who have thousands of followers on their social network accounts… We always use three elements to describe influence, but they all stem from the same theme: expertise.
- Exposure: is the potential reach that influencers have in their community on a specific subject.
- Echo: the capacity an influencer has to generate a reaction in their community on a specific subject.
- Participation: as its name implies, it is the level of participation an influencer reaches when taking part in a conversation on a specific subject.
Influence is not an absolute value, it depends on the context. Expertise and know-how allows people to become opinion leaders within their community.
Don’t miss the next “F-to-J” series with more definitions of Influencer Engagement!