Why Influencer and Advocate Marketing Works…When Done Rightby Anvil on February 18, 2016b2b
If your number one priority isn’t the experience you are doing Influencer Marketing all wrong.
Digital content is at an all-time high, and those hyper-informed consumers of yours are better than ever at tuning your messages out. Being smart at recognizing the value of partnering with the right influencers and brand advocates can help solve that annoying noise issue.
Many brands know that influencer partnerships are an effective tactic, especially with campaigns, but they aren’t sure where to even begin. Hootsuite recently had a Twitter Chat on brand advocates and “Empowering your Advocate Community.” This is something I am very passionate about as I think it can sink a brand if not done well.
Who are you trying to influence and target?
Marketers need to clearly define what an influencer is and, more importantly, what an influencer isn’t. It can be very easy to define influence by vanity metrics like follower count or perceived popularity. Numbers which can indicate reach or impressions, but may or may not be important to your client or brand’s goals.
You want brand advocates that are passionate, supportive and can speak to the integrity and message of your brand. A true customer, fan or even employee that makes an investment in your brand and message through their time, effort and reputation. These are the real influencers—people with whom partnerships can drive success and impact. This can give you the thought and opinion leaders you want… and need.
Tools like Hootsuite, Cision, Klear and Simply Measured can really help you identify people with large and engaged networks talking about topics that matter to your audience. How do you know what matters? That’s why you hire experts like us. Identifying and partnering are two very different things- approaching B2B and B2C influencers and topics that matter are so very opposite. It all takes work and effort, and it is certainly not done overnight by clicking follow on a few accounts.
I spent numerous days and hours scrounging Instagram and Twitter for the perfect influencers/ambassadors at my last job, and it required me traveling to meet them in person, messaging them back and forth all the time following up, and asking what THEY want and need, not just what I wanted and needed from them. Guess what? It was worth it.
Many marketers mistake who their real influencers or advocates are. A question in the chat was asked, “What are some common mistakes with advocate programs?” A great answer by user @Andy_Martinus was “Using advocates based just on their perceived influence (audience size) instead of how engaged that audience is.”
I can find the “perfect” advocate or influencer, but if the benefit isn’t mutual, what’s the point?
What’s the mutual or shared value?
The focus needs to be on the value that the influencer/advocate can bring to the brand, not the other way around, but influencers still must derive some value from partnering with your brand. Without a mutual exchange of perceived value, your brand will struggle to keep the benefit and longevity these partnerships could potentially bring.
Hootsuite says it perfectly, “Value doesn’t necessarily mean financial compensation (although sometimes it might). Value simply means that the perceived benefit of the partnership is equally important to both parties; both sides are receiving similar value from the exchange. For brands with strong name recognition, maybe that value as simple as the social reach and validation that comes with being associated with your brand. For others, perhaps it’s a content swap: You share their content to your networks, and they share yours with theirs. Or maybe the exchange is something entirely different altogether, like an introduction to a unique community in exchange for custom swag.”
I’ve done all of the above and each situation was different. Swag, free travel, event tickets, you name it… but sometimes it is as easy as showing up to an event of theirs or tweeting them “thank you.” I can’t tell you how many times I had an advocate say they have been burned in the past by other brands trying to take advantage of their popularity or connections. A little effort goes a long way. They are a person, not just a username or celebrity. Their reputation means something and they won’t want to back a brand who doesn’t care about them. Advocates typically aren’t shy; maybe the next big campaign idea will come from simply asking their opinion on a topic. It worked for me.
Show them it’s a two-way street and give them the tools and value they need to succeed and you will succeed as well. Helping them helps you. Now let’s get started… or let us help you.
“I never said it was easy, only that it was worth it.”