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The toughest thing for many marketers, our customers included, is reaching out to influencers. We're often asked about best practices for engaging with influencers and have written on the topic many times by outlining the many faces of influence, strategies to kick start your influencer outreach or ways to turn your detractors into effective evangelists.
From getting on the radar of your influencers to activating advocacy among them, the influencer engagement journey is a process but not a difficult practice. The key to engaging with your influencers is to understand that there are different stages of engagement. Social and digital marketing leader Tara Hunt explains the stages of building relationships in the age of social media in the Social Engagement Ladder. Building on Tara’s framework, we created a playbook to describe how to develop your influencer relationships and ascend the ladder of influencer engagement.
Though your influencers may have heard of your company, you are not on their radar yet. At this stage, you need to raise their awareness and get them to look you up and acknowledge you.
Your goal is to start building a rapport with your influencers, have them start paying attention to you and your contribution to the point that you can initiate a dialogue with them; better, them with you.
Though still sporadic, you've now entered in a conversation with your influencers. They know who you are and what you do. You now need to increase your level and frequency of communication, for it to become a regular occurrence.
You're engaged in frequent dialogue with your influencers. With journalists and analysts, this is where the journey ends as their profession prevents them from advocating for specific brands; you will have to become creative to maintain this engagement level over time. With other influencers, your goal is now to turn these influencers into advocates for your brand through high touch activities.
You've entered influencer nirvana. You have managed to to turn an influencer into an ally to your brand. For this relationship to last, you now need to build the foundation for joint success.
It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. We can't thank Tara Hunt enough for letting us build on her framework for social engagement to structure and articulate our own thinking on influencer engagement.
What do you think about this framework? How do you approach influencer engagement?