In recent years, it has become crystal clear that “Influencer Marketing” isn't a fad, but a solid marketing strategy that can be successfully applied by a wide range of brands in varying industries.
The problem, however, is separating "Influencer Marketing" the buzz-term, from “Influencer Marketing” as the actual process of working with key influentials to positively impact the public's view of your brand and its offerings.
Because the only way to truly “win friends and influence people” is to commit to it, for the long haul… and that includes the relationships you build with influencers.
Relationships take time
Here’s the thing: you can create any kind of marketplace. You can line up any number of vendors to attract buyers, and you can promise tons of buyers to your vendors, to attract them to your particular marketplace.
Maybe a good percentage of vendors and buyers show up. And maybe some of them even buy stuff. And maybe some vendors make a little bit of money (most probably won’t).
At the end of the day, though, all that has happened here is a bunch of transactions.
Now, while relationships often entail some element of transaction, that’s not all they are about. And while the vendors may have made some money, they’re not really thinking about how they can help you next.
Case in Point: Traackr’s Academy of Influencer Marketing
If you are a Traackr fan (and I assume you are, if you’re reading this blog… though you might also be a smart competitor ;)), then you will be aware of the incredibly valuable resource I created with and for Traackr: the Academy of Influencer Marketing (AIM).
I don’t think you know the backstory to this, which is, in TL;DR form:
- I love teaching and training current and future Social PR pros, and decided a few years ago that that’s where I wanted to take my business
- Traackr co-founder & CEO Pierre-Loic Assayag and I became (and remain) good friends several years ago, and I shared this with him over several conversations
- I did a few trainings for Traackr here and there and continued to do so on my own, with PRSA, etc.
- About two years after PL’s and my initial conversation, he asked if I’d be interested in developing a comprehensive training program on Influencer Marketing for Traackr
The rest is history
Do you see how many conversations we had before AIM actually came about?
Do you see how committed we each were to giving back to our industry through education?
Do you see how Traackr committed to building a relationship with people they consider influencers in particular spheres, and working with them to build and maintain a mutually beneficial relationship?
Influencer Marketing and Social PR
The classic definition of PR is to help “build and maintain mutually beneficial relationships” for our organizations and with their audiences.
This means finding smart and compelling ways to share their stories with the people who need to hear them, via the people who can help tell them most effectively.
Who are those people, if not influencers?
This is why I have pivoted my business to teach and train other pros on “unleashing their Inner Social PR Superhero,” as I love to say.
Because when your community starts telling your story for you, it is far more powerful than when you alone try to tell it yourself.
Just as Traackr puts influencers at the heart of its work, so do we, in Social PR, put our communities, and building relationships with them, at the center of what we do.
That is how we find “champions” from within our communities, who join other influential populations in giving our stories wings.
It’s not “rocket science,” as folks love to say, but neither is it for the faint-hearted. Because it takes time and effort - two currencies that people aren’t necessarily in a hurry to stock up on these days.
Yet when they do, the results are tremendous.
I’ll be talking more about how to build and motivate communities of influence to tell your stories for you, and generate better business results, in my free, LIVE, upcoming online mini-training, “LIFT OFF! The Social PR Superhero’s Guide to the Galaxy.”
Do join; it will be a ton of fun, and you’ll walk away with specific action items on unleashing your Inner Social PR Superhero, and really elevating your career. Feb. 10-12, just 1 hour a day (2-3 pm ET), with a 24-hour replay for registrants. Sign up ASAP - I look forward to seeing you there!
Shonali Burke, ABC, is a globally-acknowledged, award-winning Social PR strategist, teacher and trainer. She is also the world’s biggest ABBA fan, and would have given anything to see Elvis live in concert.