Making Meaningful Connections: 3 Influencer Marketing Insights

April 30, 2016

Editor's Note: This post was authored by Pierre-Loïc Assayag, CEO and Co-Founder of Traackr, an influencer management platform that enables brands to find the people their buyers love, earn their trust through real connections, and measure the impact of influential relationships.

Influence is as old as civilization itself. But technology, social media, and the quickening pace of change have revolutionized the way we communicate. As our culture has evolved beyond written and face-to-face communication, marketers and brands have likewise adopted new methods of reaching their customers. New platforms allow constant customer communication across countless touchpoints. Things have gotten a bit out of control, to say the least.

Frankly, having more ways to target our customers doesn’t mean these customers have any interest in hearing from us. It’s quite the opposite. In fact, a recent Nielsen study reported that more than 80% of consumers across all generations trust recommendations from peers and friends above all other forms of advertising.

Working with influencers is one of the fastest and most effective ways to build trust and affinity with your brand’s audience. According to a 2015 study from Schlesinger Associates, a full 81% of marketers reported influencer initiatives were “effective.” It’s no surprise then that working with influencers is a growing trend.

As brands rush to capitalize on the benefits of influencer marketing, confusion and bad habits have dominated their efforts. Unfortunately, a lack of information sharing has caused many to repeat common mistakes made in other areas of their marketing.

This is why my company recently partnered with Jason Miller to create our latest eBook: An Influencer Marketing Intervention. In it, we explore the many ways influencers can help develop more meaningful connections with customers. Below are 3 insights from the eBook on how you can put a stop to bad marketing, and make the most of influencer programs:

1. Look Past the Usual Suspects

“Right now there are plenty of influencers in every industry to go around, but it’s important to look beyond the usual suspects. I would start by finding the up-and-comers. Get on their radars, and start building those relationships early on.”

                 -- Jason Miller, Global Content Marketing Lead, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions

Having a unique point of view can be more powerful than having a huge following. As you embark on your influencer marketing initiative, look for influencers who demonstrate deeper thinking, and unique skills. Many of these thinkers won’t be famous, or even have a large following. If they have a unique point of view, they will definitely rise the ranks in their due time. Helping them rise with your brand will ensure lasting success for both the brand and the influencer.

Another way to move past the usual suspects is seeking out practitioners in your industry who are hungry to share advice from the front lines. If you can partner with smart people, big names will be attracted to your organization in due time.

2. Recognize That Everyone is an Influencer

“Brands shouldn’t focus on one type, but instead should consider a varied approach to their influencer marketing that includes a mix of employees, fans, and outsiders.”

                    -- Neal Schaffer, Author, Maximize Your Social

Influencer marketing should be approached in a tiered fashion. In each tier, you should have employees, brand advocates, and influencers. Conversation about your organization should be happening at every level, and the only way to ensure those conversations happen is to treat everyone as an influencer.

It’s all too common for marketers to miss the mark, and only aim for working with a single type of influencer. Recognizing influencer potential among employees, friends, colleagues and online advocates means that many more opportunities for promotion.

3. Focus on Sharing, Not Impressions

“The key to marketing success is not producing more - or even better - content, but a focus on a path to get that content to be shared by the trusted people who are most influential in our customer communities.”

                  -- Mark Schaefer, Executive Director, Schaefer Marketing Solutions

Marketers are creating more content than is possible for their customers to consume. So, how do we ensure sharing will actually happen? Develop a plan that makes sharing as seamless and fluid as humanly possible. As Mark points out, the path to sharing lies with influencers. They can tell you what content you need to create, what your audience is sharing, and weigh in on the pulse of the community. Give your audience an incentive, a template for sharing, and reward them when they take action. Ultimately, create content so compelling, they can’t help but share it. Sounds easy, right?

To download the full version of An Influencer Marketing Intervention eBook, click here.

For more tips on connecting those who matter most to your business, subscribe to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog.

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