I had an epiphany during Social Media Marketing World (SMMW) this year.
This epiphany manifested itself into two distinct moments during the conference:
- A marketer asked all the influencers in the room to “come find her after the session”
- A self-proclaimed influencer asked how to reach out to brands she wants to work with
So what’s the big deal, you might be wondering? Influencer marketing can net large positive returns, for both the brand and the influencer. But, if either start their engines without being strategic, they are setting themselves up to run out of steam quickly.
Avoid a False-Start in Influencer Marketing
To the marketer: I sympathize that finding influencers can be tricky; but, when in doubt, remember that it’s not so different from dating. What you did was, essentially, propose to ten people you had never been on a first date with. I don’t know about you, but in my experience, throwing out assuming proposals would not bode well.
To the influencer: Your ability to produce captivating content is your secret weapon. Think about the brands you love. Start by genuinely talking about why you love them and let those brands see the impact. Authentic content talks. Once the brand realizes the impact you can drive, it will lead to a deeper relationship. The compensation comes later, and it will be worth the wait.
My Influencer Marketing Epiphany
My epiphany is that marketers no longer need to be convinced of the value of influencer marketing, they need the strategy and tools to successfully do it.
When I started at Traackr two years ago, we were in the business of convincing marketers to try influencer marketing. Now, we are in the business of helping marketers scale influence cross-functionally and across geographies. However, some marketers are frantic to make it work without thinking through the strategy (read: “come find me after the session”). So, while influencer marketing has come a long way, it still has a long way to go.
9 Influencer Marketing Lessons From SMMW
In addition to this realization, I also attended a handful of influencer marketing sessions during my time in San Diego. If you missed one of these sessions (a few overlapped so I used the SMMW Virtual Ticket to watch on-demand) or did not attend SMMW, these are the quick takeaways you need to know. Here is 5 hours of sessions boiled down to a 5 minute read.
Future of Influencer Marketing: Strategies and Trends
By Lee Odden
- Influencer marketing is grossly underfunded. 50% of companies are investing less than 100K annually, 10% of marketing budgets are going to influencer marketing, and 55% plan on spending more on influencer marketing (Findings from Influence 2.0).
- Influencer marketing currently has the most impact on content and social media initiatives. It’s a disadvantage if you are not integrating influencers into those programs. However, influencer marketing is ideally cross-functional (Findings from Influence 2.0).
How to Create and Manage an Influencer Marketing Program
By Bryan Kramer
- Think long-term when it comes to influencer strategy, not one and done. Influencers want to be a part of something bigger than themselves, not just a campaign.
- Lose control of your influencers. Build relationships with them and allow them to share options freely. If the brand gives them guidance, resources and expectations, influencers will share authentic passion points.
Influencer Marketing: Insider Tips, Best Practices and Winning Campaigns
By Tyler Anderson with Aggie Nixon-Kirschner (Marriott), Martin Jones (Cox Communication), Josh Hager and Scott Duehlmeier (Workfront)
- Both proactive and reactive influencers play a role within influencer strategy. Proactive influencers are identified as a good fit by the brand. Reactive influencers are the ones who reach out or mention your brand in hopes of a collaboration. You can have great success by leveraging both these methods. (Aggie Nixon-Kirschner, Marriott)
- Compensation does not always have to be monetary. Appeal to their passion, what is it that they love to do? Provide them with a unique experience that appeals to their passions that they would not be otherwise able to have. Appeal to their audience. Do something for their audience, give something away to their audience. Appeal to their bank account. Appeal to their heart. Appeal to their beliefs. Upon outreach already know their story. (Josh Hager)
Becoming Known: How to Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader
By Mark Schaefer
- No one is born a thought leader. Everyone starts at the bottom and has to work their way up. Being known is not the same as being famous. Being known means having presence, reputation, authority in a specific industry or segment.
- A large audience does not mean an actionable audience. The ideal audience size should be determined by your goals (not your ego). There is no shortcut to developing an emotional connection through content, it takes time.
How to Work With Snapchat Influencers
By Shaun McBride
- Find influencers who have natural brand affinity. The example Shaun gave was that he loves cereal so if a cereal brand reached out to him about working together he said he would be thrilled. His authentic passion for cereal would cause him to go above and beyond to deliver captivating content.
I hope these expert insights help to fuel your influencer strategy. If you are one of those frantic marketers searching for influencer marketing resources that I described above, I suggest you enroll in the Academy of Influencer Marketing (AIM). The first course is FREE and will teach you to plan, build, execute, and measure an influencer marketing strategy that integrates with the overall marketing goals of your organization. If you have additional influencer marketing questions always feel free to tweet @Traackr for guidance or help.