In the Ebook titled The Value of Influence: The Ultimate Guide to Influence Marketing written by Nick Hayes Principal, Influencer50 Inc., and Co-author, Influencer Marketing: Who Really Influences Your Customers?; Nick Hayes defines influence marketing this way.
Influence marketing is an updated approach to marketing and public relations where you target the people your prospects turn to for information. These influencers help generate awareness and sway the purchasing decisions of those who seek out and value their expertise, read their blogs, converse with them in discussion forums, attend their presentations at industry events, and so on.
Other definitions of influence marketing include the following:
Influencer marketing (also influence marketing) is a form of marketing in which focus is placed on specific key individuals (or types of individual) rather than the target market as a whole. From Wikipedia
Influencer marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on using key leaders to drive your brand’s message to the larger market. Rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, you instead inspire / hire / pay influencers to get out the word for you. From Tap Influence
Influencer marketing involves marketing products and services to those who have a sway over the things other people buy. This market influence typically stems from an individual’s expertise, popularity, or reputation. Marketing to an audience of influencers is similar to word of mouth marketing, but it doesn’t rely strictly on explicit recommendations . Influence can come from a wide range of places. Any person, group, brand, or place could potentially be an influencer. For example, celebrities are often used to market products because they are highly respected and highly visible. When a celebrity uses a product, the maker of that product gets exposure and the respect that comes from a celebrity endorsement. Marketing-Schools.org
How is Influence Marketing Accomplished? Best practices include the following steps. I’ve shared an Opportunity/Risk construct around my sharing.
I. Define your end goal. What is your strategy?
Opportunity – You get to revisit the entirety of your mission, plan, marketing plan and more with a necessary review of what it is you wish to accomplish.
Risk – If you don’t define your end game, i.e.your goal for influence marketing, your efforts may very well succeed marginally or not at all. If you’re not careful, your influence marketing program will lead to the wrong results.
II. Research your Influencers.
Opportunity – This puts the major people who use and love your products and services right in your line of sight. You’ll have a chance to build relationships with them. Delight them in special ways and their willingness to help sway their audience will rise.
Risk – If you think you know your influencers but haven’t actually talked to them, serviced them or perhaps even refused to build authentic relationship with your true influencers, your initiative will fail.
III. Define and Assess Your Platforms for Engagement
Opportunity – When you properly understand your influencers, i.e. where they live, work and play and how they spend money and to what degree they are actually influencers, you’ll be able to know where they live out their lives online and in the real world.
Risk – If you’re myopic, you’re screwed. If you don’t like SnapChat and that dislike prohibits you from advertising there or pursuing solutions or engagement there and your audience is 18 to 34 year olds, then you are missing out. You have to know where your influencers play and work online if you hope to leverage their subject matter expertise and street cred.
IV. Engage with Your Targeted Influencers
Opportunity – You’ll be able to build relationships with people who are fans of your brand, product or service. If you seek first to provide them with tools that enhance their life and work, you win as they win.
Risk – If you engage in a way that is inauthentic, for example, a pay to play scenario where you’re paying a blogger to post on your behalf and talk up your product, you’re risking an inauthentic message going out from the influencer to their audience.
V. Measure Twice and Cut Once
Opportunity – Make an effort to measure the effectiveness of the campaigns and relationships you’ve launched around influencer marketing and you’ll likely end up measuring much more than what you initially felt would be useful. Through the use of url shorteners, hashtags, along with what’s provided on the platforms you may use, as well as other technologies, some of it quite sophisticated, you can measure the effectiveness of the messages and activities of the influencers in your campaign. You’ll be able to effectively cut out the poorly performing influencers of your campaigns if you find things are aren’t working.
Risk – Measuring the effect and benefits of influencer marketing is still in many ways an inexact science. The measures of success shared by purveyors of tools, blogger aggregators and more are still in the realm of terms like “lift”, “clicks”, “sentiment” and other measures that don’t sway many CEO’s when it comes to making big spends.
Significant TIP! Read this post. Visit every site listed in the post. You’ll learn more in one hour that all the reading you can do over the next week. The real tools being built for use by companies in the area of influencer marketing are changing the game.
In my next post, I’ll break down the primary components of what I see as the plethora of “me too” copy cat influencer marketing platforms. I’ll suggest there is a better way to empower influencers and never have to fight with the FTC (US Regulatory Body) or any other regulator again.
Sherman Mohr is CEO of Shared Spirits. Shared Spirits is a cocktail, wine and beer sharing app built to help brands in those industries manage relationships with influencers in ways never before possible.