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Influencer Engagement: from F to J

4 minute read

Alicia Perez

Here’s the second part of our Influencer Engagement Dictionary, featuring five frequently used terms when speaking about the relationship between brands, influencers and their followers — an effective way for PR departments to increase their impact on their audiences through spontaneous and honest interactions with opinion leaders.

So, here are the next 5 letters of the alphabet that associated with essential influencer engagement strategies:

F for “Followers”

Almost all digital communication campaigns are geared towards getting more of them. Followers are the ultimate treasure that brands and businesses strive to attract through social media marketing. These people are what influencers want. And influencers are the ones who ultimately generate content for their followers to share and enjoy: the bridge between brands and consumers.

Followers are also a key aspect of influencer engagement. In our 2014 study on the Status of Influencer Marketing, the main challenge that agencies faced was identifying the right influencers for their marketing purposes. How should they do it? One of the key tactics is to analyse their followers.

And we’re talking about the kind of analysing that is more than just simply counting followers. Because for influencer engagement, it’s more effective to use influencers that have a close relationship with their followers in a specific niche than those that have a superficial relationship with millions of them.

Of course, they should have a minimum number of Facebook fans or Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google + followers or subscribers to video channels and blogs, but if you’re looking for engagement, it’s more productive to establish a quality relationship with players with true influence on how their followers act and think, as you can see what I mean from this infographic by Attentive.

Followers_influencer_engagement-686x433

G is for “Guest Blogging”

This is a content distribution strategy that consists of establishing a win-win relationship between blogs. This collaboration is when one blog, let’s say a brand blog, invites an influencer to write or generate content for their site to attract their followers to the post. It can also work the other way round.

The thing is about guest blogging is that it’s being used badly by many as a way of mass linkbuilding, detracting value and quality from the shared content. The result? That Google has taken note and introduced ways of penalising this behaviour. Mark Cutts, Google’s AntiSpam Director, warned about it in this post in early 2014, which is why guest blogging is expected to decline and only serves for SEO campaigns. However, guest blogging as a tactic for influencer engagement is still valid and gets good results, as long as it’s used to provide truly interesting and relevant content to users. Some of its uses can be seen in this infographic by Opportunities Planet:

guest_blogging_influencer_engagement

H is for “Hashtag”

The hashtag in front of words and phrases that is now so much a part of social media is one of the key elements for engagement. This symbol enables interaction on social media channels. A code for communication that enables the possibility for messages to expand their reach, for example between an influencer and their followers, and amongst the followers themselves. It was used for the first time in 1998 on IRC (Internet Relay Chat), to group a set of images. In 2007, Chris Messina introduced it in Twitter. In 2012, it was named word of the year in the US. Nowadays it has been completely integrated in digital communications

Brands, just like influencers, use hashtags to give their content a presence and identity, creating keywords preceded by a hashtag to boost conversations around products and services. In fact, any word with the symbol is already trendy. At the same time, hashtags are used by brands to find and monitor potential clients online by benchmarking. While influencers use hashtags to get their content to do the rounds.

A hashtag or tag that promotes an action can be damaging for brands. It is so powerful that some marketing departments have specialised teams to create strategies to use and monitor hashtags as part of their campaigns.

I is for “Instagrammer”

Are Instagrammers the most trendy influencers? It may be the case, given the overwhelming growth of engagement being garnered by brands using this social networkin the recent years.

Its dizzying expansion up to 2014 can be seen in this infographic by Techcrunch:

instagramer_influencer_engagement-686x354

According to figures published by emarketer, Instagram is also growing amongst millennials, who will be the largest group of users by 2019, an age range of between 12 and 34. So, if we take into account the speed of interaction that this social network enables, the potential of the young audience it’s attracting and the capacity that images have for penetration over text, then yes, Instagrammers are becoming a very attractive type of influencer for influencer engagement campaigns.

For example, the Jäegermeister brand attracted 3.2 million new users with a combined campaign. They encouraged followers to take pictures integrating the brand and share them with the #ShowJagerLove hashtag. The strategy used 14 influencers that helped it spread their message and boost the reach of the contest. One example of many which are becoming more and more common around the world.

The challenge presented by this type of PR is whether to pay Instagrammers to participate in campaigns. It’s still unclear whether there should be payment and what the conditions should be. You can read more on the subject in this post where we examine how to pay or not pay instagrammers for promoting a topic.

J is for “the Influencer Journey”

The process that enables influencers to make an impact for brands and for this impact to provide a real return is a fascinating and complex journey, which is in turn unpredictable and risky. Which is why it is associated with this concept of “journey”, as a way of understanding the strategic sequence of coordinated actions that are behind influencer engagement.

As is explained by Arnaud Roy, CMO of Augure, in this article for Relevance: “The Influencer Journey is an evolution experienced by influencers from not having any awareness of a specific brand, to the other extreme where they become the brand’s ambassadors”. The evolution can be seen clearly in the following graph:

influencer_journey_augure-686x575

The four waypoints along the journey are: Raise brand awareness, increase credibility, establish ongoing interaction and promote loyalty. And the key for everything to flow correctly? It is, and will continue to be, transparency, something that continues to oil the gears of this extraordinary machine.

Launchmetrics‘s Digital Communications Map for 2014 features a comment made by Jay Baer on this subject:

Most influencers wants to know what really happens at companies. They want to see what goes on behind the scenes to live different and unexpected experiences in the company. Brands that help influencers get closer to their business obtain better results than those who just try and sell their products through influencers.

Can you think of other terms to include in the Influencer Engagement Dictionary with these letters? Share them! And… stay in touch so you don’t miss out on the next part of the dictionary 🙂

Alicia Perez

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