About a few years back, influencer marketing excited every marketer. It was the most glorified way to get “intelligent” people to talk about your brand in the most subtle yet thought provoking manner. There was an actual impact that was built for brands from influencers.
Over the last two to three years, number of self proclaimed influencers has increased. Most common are influencers that charge brands per tweet they mention them in or write 1-2 articles for them. These type of individuals who just have a huge fan base and feel they can influence target audience across brands have made marketers like you & me lose confidence in influencer marketing.
So in a scenario like such, how do we get genuine influencers?
The silver lining is that you can now started building your own brand influencers. The quality of communication gets more attention than the quantity.
There are some brands that still engage with individuals who have thousands of followers. But for driving conversations with intent they need to create an impact. Therefore, they look for topic experts who engage in quality discussions and drive conversations from genuine customers.
The challenge here is that quality influencers are built through a period of time. You can’t engage with them through an email and expect them to write about you.
For successfully driving conversations and engagement from influencers who would build thought leadership, you need to keep a few things in mind.
Exclusive access to events and workshops
An influencer can write and talk about your brand passionately if they understand it well and feel connected to it. If you think that by giving a brief requirement via email and sending a few documents will do justice then you’re wrong.
Influencers must be an integral part of your events and workshops. They need to be on boarded and should be given the product and service experience first hand. You need to invest time to get them to understand your business better.
You’ll be surprised how much value influencers will add if you treat them like how you treat PR agents & journalists.
Allow freedom of speech
Don’t work with influencers to drive agendas for your business – directly. Work with influencers simply to understand how you can better yourself & business will take care of it.
This exercise should be done by first finding subject matter experts, getting them on-boarded, giving them the product and service experience & then letting them freely talk about you. Do not give ready made material to influencers for publishing.
Letting your influencers have their own tone of voice will strengthen your trust with them & they will automatically focus more on the positive points of your product while talking to their followers.
Do not expect a free service
Some clients think that if they get influencers to attend an event or gift them freebies then there is no need to pay them. And most of the time such petty issues can make brands lose a potential influencer.
Influencer marketing is a job and influencers spend time and energy in setting a tone for your product. They need to be paid for their services irrespective of how friendly your relationship is with them.
As a brand if you start expecting free service you come across as unprofessional and maybe cheap sometimes.
Spend time in building your own influencers
It’s a popular belief that third party influencers drive better engagement. However when you convert your leaders into influencers it works even better.
If your CEOs and CXOs start sharing their opinions, plans and excerpts with their network then it creates a strong affinity towards the company and brand.
Remember, leaders are decision makers. When decision makers share their opinions with the general audience or their network, it makes the brand a leader as well.