If 2012 was the year influencer marketing emerged on the social media marketing scene, 2013 will bring more structure, best practices and better frameworks for leveraging online influencers across marketing initiatives. Recently I spoke with 10 marketing and communications pioneers who have built strong influencer programs over the last year.
They shared their stories, strategies and most importantly, their hands-on, tactical approaches for working with and learning from influencers. To get the juices flowing for next year, I’d like to share an example with you: how to work with influencers to drive interest for your new product.
Driving awareness for product launches, events and brand initiatives is a common marketing objective. Leveraging influencers for your launches can help amplify your message and give you a way to focus your limited resources on the greatest levers for success.
Imagine you are about to launch a new product. In addition to your paid and owned channels, how can you work with influencers to boost your earned media and amplify your voice on the social web? Here are four steps to get you started.
Influencer Marketing and Product Launches: A Step-by-Step Approach
- First, define the online conversation you need to be a part of using keywords. Tip: think about terms your ideal customers would use to discuss your product category or to describe the context where they would use it. Try getting out of the box by considering lifestyle-related conversations. For example, if you are launching an accounting software for independent businesses, you can find influencers in small business accounting, but you can also find influencers in the small bakery scene. If you had a small bakery, you would need accounting software and you would be more likely to frequent sites where people write about new recipes (as opposed to accounting sites).
- Use those keywords to find the people who are leading the conversation you are interested in and create your list of influencers.
- Reach out to these individuals with a compelling offer that adds value to their work and creates an opportunity for you to earn their attention. This is where your creativity, objectives and brand pillars will guide you. A few ideas I’ve seen:
- Create influencer networks to help your influencers connect with one another and meet like-minded folks.
- Provide product trials, beta access, free samples, etc. Tip: These strategies work best when you have a good way to incorporate influencer feedback and suggestions into your product development cycle. Showing your influencers how they impact your decisions is powerful.
- Work with one influencer to develop content to support your launch: ebooks, webinars, videos… whatever makes sense given your objectives.
- Monitor mentions of your product and other terms that indicate awareness as your campaign unrolls to measure the success of your outreach. As they say, if you don’t measure it, you can’t get better at it. Using your influencers as a proxy to the larger social web makes monitoring and measurement easier to handle and tie back to your efforts.
This is just one example out of 15 that are described in a white paper we’ve created based on my research. You can explore other step-by-step workflows for boosting event registrations, building owned media programs and conducting competitive analysis in this Guide to Influencer Marketing.
Illustrated with great examples from the likes of NetBase, Logicworks, JPMorganChase and more, you’ll find what you need to kick start or strengthen your influencer marketing program in 2013.
What types of influencer marketing activities are you doing or planning in 2013?