Nowadays, no one argues against the need for brands to connect with their audiences on a variety of different platforms. And one way that’s gaining traction is Influencer Marketing. Applying this type of strategy enables them to reach a segmented influencer marketing audience and gain more credibility. However, many brands fails to get their influencers’ attention—throwing a blogger’s name into your long list of contacts for a massive press release sendout is not enough. The relationship between influential bloggers/Tweeters and brands must be built over a period of time. Nothing is instantaneous.
If you are a part of a Marketing or Communication team, the term Influencer Marketing is probably not new. Your team most likely has a list of important influencers to interact with for your next campaign. However, does your team keep track of all the interactions with these influencers? This is called proximity scoring: measuring the status of influencer relationships.
We have included an Excel template that we have designed to be used as a basis for creating influencer relationship measurement indicators and calculate the proximity scoring that currently exists between your brand’s influencer (or if you’re an agency and you want to measure the relationship between your clients and their influencers).
Proximity Scoring: Define the stages of the on-going relationship with potential influencers
The scoring concept is already being used in other areas, especially in marketing, to determine where a prospective client is in the purchasing cycle: the more active a prospect is, the greater degree of interaction they will have with your brand which leads to a higher score. This method enables brands (and/or their sales teams) to successfully prioritize their prospect contacts, focusing on those who are have a higher degree of activity meaning they are more likely to become clients. Within the scope of this activity scoring that is mostly quantitative, there also has to be a certain qualitative criteria as well.
In other words, you need to determine a value that lets us define whether or not that person’s profile is aligned with our own brand’s business goals for successful B2B influencer marketing. An example could be a student who is extremely with our brand and is writing a paper on Influencer Marketing. This is great for awareness goals, but it is not someone who will be able to work with our brand to generate engagement (leading to sales) from our target audience.
So how can you apply this method for qualifying influencers and incorporate them into your Influencer Marketing strategy?
1) Is this influencer worthwhile for me?
We have addressed this point in several earlier occasions: contextual influence. To be able to properly identify relevant influencers that are experts on your brand’s or agency’s main topics of interest, we have developed technology that provides a sophisticated Influencer ranking. This will help you find relevant influencers because if the influencer is not aligned with your brand or its values, then they are probably not the right person to engage.
2) What degree of proximity does this influencer have with my brand?
- Is the influencer opening my e-mails?
- Are they participating in my events?
- Have they been asking for product loans or taking part in my product testings?
- Are they following my brand or my spokespeople on Twitter?
- Are they sharing my content?
To define a proximity scoring, you should give each and every action a certain number of points that will go either up or down according to level of relevance: for instance, +1 point when an influencer opens one of my e-mails, +15 points when they have an interview with my brand. The scoring system defined by actions that correspond to the number of points being assigned will depend on each brand: for example, a company from cosmetics (B2C) may assign more points when an influencer shares their Youtube video as visual content is one of the brand’s major communication assets. For B2B marketers, this type of interaction may not have the same relevance and an influencer sharing their Youtube video is not as important as co-creating content.
Another key factor that should be taken into account is time. If an influencer responded positively to one of your brand’s actions two years ago, but after that there has never been any further interactions, we can hardly say that they are closely linked to our brand. Timing needs to be relevant. Even here, each brand may have their own criteria and specifications meaning that the definition must be adapted to each brand’s own influencer marketing situation.
3) Create an influencer monitoring model
Okay, so now what are you supposed to do with all of this data? Proximity scoring allows you to clearly define what stage your relationship is in with each and every influencers at a particular moment in time. We have defined the following stages of influencer relationships based on our clients observations:
- Build awareness: getting on your influencer’s radar screen, so they know who you are
- Gain credibility: position yourself as a trusted Influencer Marketing source that your influencer can count on
- Build an emotional connection: exchange information on a regular basis, start collaborating together
- Build loyalty: maintaining a long-term influencer marketing relationship with this specific influencer and carry out mutually beneficial projects
Last but not least: our funnel
People are talking more than ever about funnel strategies! After working with the funnel concept for several other business strategies, we realize that the idea can also be easily applied to influencer marketing.
This funnel will help you assess your results and monitor the trends in the relationship with your influencers: those who have been identified, those who you are interacting with and other that are your brand’s active your influencers. The active influencers represents the final part in the Influencer Marketing funnel strategy and should be applied to campaigns: when an influencer starts to interact positively with your brand, nurture this relationship so you can work with them on future campaigns!
With the funnel, you will be able to analyze the ROI being generated by your actions (how many people have you been able to activate, for instance) as well as optimize and schedule your upcoming actions by trying to attract more influencers over the next few months to increase your number “active” ones for your campaign.