10 Tips to Build an Influencer Marketing Campaign

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about influencer marketing, so I want to provide 10 things you should consider when setting up an influencer marketing campaign.

While it’s not a new concept to treat individuals with ability to influence others as special–think about all the freebies celebrities get–it is an area being increasingly viewed as important to marketing.  What IS new, however, is that the Internet changed who can become one and how quickly.

There are individuals who are influential whether they are on or off ‘the grid’, such as analysts, journalists and standards/buyers groups, those who choose to become influential in a particular area, such as bloggers and columnists, and those who accidentally become influential by posting something, perhaps a video, that resonates with people and becomes popular.  It may not even be a person.  Clark Griswold the dog (who happens to be a male version of my Bella!) was an overnight sensation and is now influencing people to buy all kinds of products…which is another marketing lesson: helping people to have fun can increase your ROI.

Here are 10 tips for your influencer marketing campaign, per Influencers in this category (numbers correspond to quoted sources at bottom):

  1. Treat everyone as important. Not everyone is an Influencer in your area of business, but if you treat everyone with the respect that they could be that’s always the best way. That one time you don’t respect someone as a potential Influencer you will inevitably wind up looking the fool. “Personally I would like to see brands realize every Customer can be an influencer and treat them in a way the builds them as advocates.”  While it’s normal to give Influencers preferential treatment, just be careful not to alienate customers who perhaps aren’t as influential (for now!).
  2. Follow the content and get personal. “To become a Influence is the byproduct of continually producing high quality content.  Maximize human contact where possible – meeting for coffee or talking on the phone will form a much stronger bond between you, your brand and the potential influencer.”
  3. Don’t forget the ‘little guys’. “While it’s relatively straightforward to manually identify the top-level “mass influencers” — such as journalists, celebrities or academics — the far larger number of ‘micro influencers’ has remained elusive. These micro influencers may not have a formal position that validates their influence, but they can be recognized among large audiences as being knowledgeable and trustworthy on specific topics. They also generate up to three times more word of mouth communications than non-influencers. Therefore, these micro influencers have a huge potential to drive purchase decisions and product contagion.”
  4. Build a panel of vocal brand advocates or simply hire them.  Influencer marketing is “simply an extension of traditional word-of-mouth. We find that recommendations from ‘people you know’ are extremely important.  These advocates turn other consumers into advocates.”… “The Brand Ambassador hired by Company K was a nationally recognized authority figure in the category. His credibility enabled Company K to add more Brand Ambassadors at virtually no additional cost to increase the scope of the program.”
  5. Sell to other companies how to connect with your “growing list of passionate individuals who are actively sought by their social group for recommendations.”
  6. Track who’s writing about you and who could be. “Leverage social media [to] find people who are willing to review your product, spreading the word about your brand. These people are Influencers, and if you can access them, you’ll connect with the 82 percent of people who are influenced by the reviews they read online.”
  7. Use Google+ circles to your advantage.  Something to do with Google+ that is different than what you’re already doing on other social networks!  “Customize different content to different groups…give [your] best content or news away to [your] most engaged or high value members.”  “Consumers could tell the brand what type of content they want, and the brand would create circles and share content accordingly.”
  8. Influence and reach are not the same thing.  Another way of saying it: “It’s important to note the difference between credibility and fame.  Influence generate[s] both feeling and action on the part of your consumer base.”  As my high school Spanish teacher used to say, “Escuche y repita!” (“Listen and repeat!” I can’t believe I still remember that): reach is not the same as influence, but influence comes out of reach.
  9. Target trade channels.  This is a stealthy way of infiltrating and overtaking markets.  “Company R targeted Trade Channels where the majority of the selling activity was very subtle and took place almost entirely after normal business hours. This made it nearly impossible for a Company B representative to encounter a Company R Brand Ambassador at work.”
  10. Keep it focused.  “The program was limited to a single venue that was heavily visited by the targeted consumer group. This significantly increased adoption while keeping costs low.” … “The program was limited to a modest but very passionate consumer group that influenced the category. This significantly increased likelihood of adoption by a larger group while keeping costs low.”

One of the greatest challenges is identifying and targeting influencers in an effective manner.  To that end, I have made it my goal to scope out, use and review influencer marketing tools to help both of us achieve our goals.  The first in this coming series is available now, Manage Influencer Marketing with BuzzStream, on my second blog, BYOB.net, a hand-curated resource of products and services to help you Build Your Own Business.

Happy marketing ROI hunting!

  1. Hosni Mubarak was an Influencer! By Frank Eliason
  2. Marketers: How To Get Noticed by “Influencers” by Joe Chernov
  3. The new marketing model: Peer index marketing By Azeem Azhar
  4. P&G’s Panel of Women Helps Amplify Word-of-Mouth Marketing by Chris Laird / Frontera Marketing — The Power of Influencer Marketing: Part 4
  5. InkFluence – Hidden Influencers
  6. Does Word Of Mouth Marketing Work Better On Social Media? by Lauren Dugan
  7. The Social Layer: Six Thoughts On Where Google Plus Is Going by David Armano / How I’m Using Google+ (Hint: It’s About Relevance) by Melissa Parrish
  8. Frontera Marketing — The Power of Influencer Marketing: Part 1
  9. Frontera Marketing — The Power of Influencer Marketing: Part 2
  10. Frontera Marketing — The Power of Influencer Marketing: Part 3 / Frontera Marketing — The Power of Influencer Marketing: Part 4

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  1. October 26th, 2011 at 07:09 | #1

    Rebekah,
    A really nice post and a topic in which we have a great deal of interest. Thanks so much for including some of our content in your links. Influencers are often relative in their perceived impact and can be difficult to identify but the payoff is tremendous for your brand if you can find the right ones and enlist them in your cause.

  2. May 28th, 2014 at 03:38 | #2

    This brilliant must-read article provides the key to the Influencer marketing, Influencer marketing campaign, Person. Clark Griswold & Potential influencer. Rebekah you raise a powerful antidote to today’s malaise and pessimism.

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