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Word-of-mouth recommendations are the driving force behind 20-50% of all purchasing decisions. Brands are now working with their PR agencies to identify and engage digital influencers, providing them with assets to help tell their story. But what defines an influencer? Anyone that can cause an effect or change behavior around a relevant conversation.
Identifying quality influencers is critical. From my experience, there isn’t one tool that solves this need, a human element is always necessary. When looking at potential influencers, some marketers and brands get caught up in the reach numbers. The truth is that reach means nothing if nobody is listening. You’ll want to hone in on the engagement rates if you’re looking to move the needle and build true advocacy.
“Influence marketing will work for brands that understand the connection between their target audience and the influencer and they focus on working only with those that can strengthen that connection not only for the short run, but also sustainably into the future” – Daniel Newman of The Huffington Post
Now that we’ve identified the social influencers for our upcoming campaign, how do we best incorporate them into our strategy? In order to be successful, marketers must find a way to provide influencers with key messaging that caters around their audience’s interests. Once you discover what makes an audience react, you can better serve them something that they will want to read. We can also ask the influencers what types of content they are seeking from the brand as they know their audience best. Is it to be the first to know of a product launch? Is it a certain experience at a relevant sporting event? Focusing on the responses will be key to the success of your program. Remember that influencers are looking at us to provide them with value. Providing exclusive content, experiences, social reach, and compensation are a few incentives.
Once your campaign takes off and influencers start sharing content, it’s time to illustrate to the brand the value they create. We can show that influencers are drivers for impressions, reactions, clicks, traffic, and in some cases purchase intent. If you’re driving consumers to any site, you can measure that conversion rate. The main role of influencers isn’t to substantially move the bottom line and provide immediate tangible business results, but to change consumer behavior. Marketers need to set expectations up front that the ROI with influencer marketing is the effect or change in behavior that you are trying to cause in the audience. Associating your brand with consumer’s interests will be the deciding factor.