84% of people agree that “digital-ad interruptions are too frequent” according to an Accenture survey this year spanning 28 countries. On top of that, almost half of the 24,000 U.S. consumers surveyed last year said that “most of advertising is way too annoying.” (Source: The Wall Street Journal)
As the tactics of traditional marketing continue to lose their luster, marketers are moving on to shinier horizons. Humans relate to each other via meaningful conversations, which embodies the very essence of influencer marketing.
Even more so, trust plays a large factor in the ongoing growth and success of influencer marketing. People don’t trust brands, and they actively go out out of their way to ignore them. People trust their friends.
How can your brand tap into the personal trust and aspirations encapsulated by influencers and their communities? The answer is simple; but the path to get there is unpredictable. Let’s tackle it together:
The (Not So) Secret Sauce of Influencer Marketing*
As marketers, we must accept and believe that influencer marketing is an ongoing process, not a one-off campaign. To maximize results from influencer efforts, strategic marketers follow five simple steps:
- Set initial goals for the program
- Identify which influencers you want to work with
- Build relationships with these people
- Activate them at key moments
- Measure the impact; then use as a benchmark to set better goals for next time
This is how best-in-class marketers run effective influence programs.
A Deep-Dive to Connecting With the Communities You Care About
While the road to success is unpredictable, we wanted to share five tried-and-true actions to engage your community with always-on influencer marketing and gain trust along the way.
- Know Who You Want to Target
This will come as no surprise. Know your target audience and gain an understanding of what they are talking about online. It is key to look beyond the conversations that your customers are having and understand who is leading those conversations.
- Identify Key Influencers to Target
Influencer selection is often hard for marketers to grasp; yet, it is one of the most critical steps to success. Discover which influencers are leading your brand’s communities of customers. (Check out the step-by-step guide to see how the Traackr platform enables identifying the right influencers.)
- Build Relationships with Key Influencers
After identifying the right influencers for your target audience, the next step is to build relationships with them. When thinking about influencer outreach, remember to “give, give, get” and always focus on adding value to the influencer.
- Constantly Activate Your Influencers
Building relationships with influencers doesn’t stop after a single outreach, direct message, or campaign. This is where some marketers may falter. It’s about building always-on relationships through constant activation; the best ones are mutually beneficial and long-term. Fair-weather fans need not apply.
- Always Measure Success
Measure the impact your influencers have on any business goal, from awareness to lead generation to sales to advocacy. Make sure to set benchmarks when you begin, so that you have a basis to improve. Start small by building an influencer marketing pilot, measuring it consistently against goals that matter to your business, acting on the insights, adapting, and then doing more once you have proven initial success.
Sharing the Aspirations of Your Communities
Gaining customer trust via the influencers they already turn to is only the beginning. Any initial success will crumble unless you maintain trust for the long haul. To achieve this, it’s key for brands to share goals and values with their communities. This isn’t surface level stuff; this is about establishing a real connection.
“Paradoxically, your “story” is not about you—it’s about what you do for others. That’s a subtle shift, but an important one, because it installs your customer at the very heart of your marketing.” - Ann Handley, MarketingProfs
Become truly customer-centric
Stop talking about your brand so much. Successful brands who maintain consumer trust are okay being a side-show and letting their customers take center stage. This will likely require you to embrace empathy and have faith in your community to carry your brand.
Humanize your brand
Make sure your brand is approachable and actively having two-way conversation with customers. Your employees can often be the most authentic brand ambassadors. Allowing your customers to put a face with the brand will help to humanize your brand.
Transform the ways you connect your buyers
Leverage key influencers throughout the customer journey. Align your values with those of your communities of interest and show that you support what they care about.
Start Building Trust Today
To get started building trust, which will in turn help you establish real connections and share aspirations with the communities you care about, read the Guide to Influencer Marketing. Whether you are looking to scale an existing influencer program or begin with your first pilot, this guide will be your blueprint to success.
*This content was originally presented by Pierre-Loic Assayag at Inbound17. To see a mini case study on the importance of trust in action, read What JetBlue can Teach You About Trust and Influencer Marketing.