Influencer Marketing: the basics

There is a clear evidence of the symbiotic relation between content marketing and influencer marketing. Whenever you will define your content marketing strategy, it will not be complete if a solid influencer marketing strategy is not in place. As Ted Karczewski (@TeddyHK) mentions in his blog series about 2016 marketing trends:

Up until now, marketers have started to look outside the business walls to collaborate with industry influencers on campaigns or content programs. In 2016, influencer marketing will evolve to encompass both external and internal influencers (…)

and, as a conclusion:

(…) in the next year, we’re going to see a higher volume of enterprise organizations leveraging people’s social influence, with a more sophisticated management process in place, and with a higher price tag for results. This makes influencer strategy easily one of the fastest-growing practices (…)

The fact is simple. According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer, 63% of surveyed respondents indicated they trusted a “person like them”. About 50% said they trust a brand’s employees, and 43% said they trusted that brand’s CEO.

Without spending more than a few seconds reading the statement, it is obvious who has to tell our company’s story: our customers, partners and employees. Which brings back to Influencer marketing and Employee Advocacy practices (the latter – not in the scope of today’s post).

Influencers are topic experts, thought leaders, or brand advocates who possess strong credibility and an extended reach with your target audience. Traackr (@traackr) well put things into context: Today’s buyers are overwhelmed with data from a multitude of sources and have a limited ability to filter through the noise. As a result, buyers resort to trusted influencers as their proxy to meaningful and relevant information. As a marketer, it is essential to partner with these influencers in order to connect and make an impression on your buyer. Building an influencer marketing strategy into your current content marketing plan is a great way to start building influencer relationships, generate quality content, and increase the reach of your content.

And it’s critical to go first with a good understanding of your customer conversations and topics and how those conversations relate to your brand, for a proper identification of influencers. Also, it’s beneficial to narrow conversations as much as it is possible, in order to get a better influencer list.  Just to provide an example, in my Business Unit, operating in the Data Center market, we have to go with a clear and sharp topic selection. Looking for “Data Center” influencers vs. “Edge-Computing”, “Cloud” or eventually “IoT” might bring to very different results.

True influence drives action, not just awareness.
Jay Baer (@JayBaer)

Some facts:

  • A recent Traackr’s research shows that 3% of individuals generate 90% of the impact online. Those individuals are the few that generate most of the conversations that will impact our brands;
  • Influencer Marketing is a cost effective marketing technique. On average, marketers who implemented an influencer marketing program in 2014 received $6.85 in earned media value for every $1.00 of paid media. – Burst Media Influencer Marketing Report

Finally, influencer marketing and content marketing can’t really exist without each other. Influencers can be engaged in a program and can write content for you. Interview an influencer on a relevant topic (for your brand) or ask an influencer to guest blog, for quotes to be featured in big rocks, eBooks or whitepapers and for a partnership to host a webinar. These are all good tactics to get influencers engaged and to have them generating content for your brand.

As far as the geographical reach, in Schneider Electric I am suggesting Influencer program should be handled at country/regional level. Nevertheless global functions can provide guidelines, tools, best practices and methodology.

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