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4 Skills That Will Make or Break Your Influencer Marketing Program

Apr 21, 2016

Trust is the most critical factor for buyers when they make their purchase decisions. When you've earned your buyers' trust, then they're much more likely to stick around. But lately, it's becoming increasingly difficult to connect with these people. 

As traditional marketing remains the topic of scrutiny, it’s clear that customers don’t want to hear from marketers anymore. They crave something more genuine, which is why they focus on influential people who establish niche communities based on their trusted expertise. Enter influencer marketing. With brands increasing their investment up to 10x this year, it’s clear that they’ve set some high expectations for the practice. 

And given the recent buzz around the FTC’s regulations on paying influencers, it’s more critical than ever to do influencer marketing the right way. Yet marketers seem to be falling into the biggest trap when it comes to scaling the practice. To avoid this trap, check out the four missing skills that could make or break your success in influencer marketing:

1. Focus on the right people to make the biggest impact

Very few people can drive impact with online conversations. We estimate that 3% of people drive 90% of the impact online. As a marketer, you should spend less time chasing shiny objects and instead focus on creating the biggest impact. When thinking about your influencer marketing strategy, instead of targeting influencers with the largest audience, consider the up-and-coming subject matter experts who may have less of a footprint but can target the right people you are trying to reach.

2. Change your outreach approach so you have an ‘always-on’ mentality

Still stuck in that campaign mindset? We don’t blame you, but when reaching out to influencers it’s critical to change your mentality. The biggest mistake marketers make, when it comes to influencer marketing, is focusing on the WIIFM factor. Stop thinking, “What’s in it for me?” and instead think about creating value for your influencers. What’s in it for them? The number one way to be successful with influencer marketing is through nurturing relationships, which require care, attention, and an always-on mentality.

3. Move away from the idea of paying for influencer mentions

Between trying to prove ROI and securing enough budget, it’s no wonder marketers are focused on spending dollars and measuring impact. But when it comes to paying influencers, you may be going about it the wrong way. You know, deep down inside, that paying an influencer to mention your brand one day and then seeing them mention your competitor the next day is not real influence. It’s a paid endorsement, which is ok….but you’d better disclose it. Of course, that’s not to say influencers shouldn’t be compensated for their craft. There is a right way to pay influencers.

4. Understand how to set achievable goals for influencer marketing  

It’s important to view influencer marketing as a holistic approach to driving your overall brand strategy. Before even thinking about your influencer marketing goals, do you have a clear understanding of your business goals? To understand the right way to think about your influencer strategy, you need to consider:

  • Who do I want talking about my organization?
  • Why do I want these specific people talking about my organization?
  • How does my organization connect with these people today?

From beginner to expert, where do your skills fall along the spectrum? As a practice, influencer marketing has garnered great expectations from brands...but inadequate experience is holding these brands back from reaching their full potential. We think you can do better.

These four skills are just the beginning, if you’d like to sharpen your skills in the practice, we invite you join the Academy of Influencer Marketing (AIM). By taking our introductory course, entitled “Setting Sail on an Influencer Marketing Program,” you’ll absorb the true value of influencer marketing through video lessons, written and visual content, and even some quizzes. Led by Shonali Burke, an award-winning PR strategist, faculty member at John Hopkins University, and president and CEO of her own consulting firm, this course will enable you to put influencer marketing into action, in no time.

What are you waiting for? Become an influencer marketing expert. Take AIM and hit your mark.