More and more companies are starting to become aware of the benefits of influencer marketing. While such campaigns are time-intensive and require commitment, the effort is worth it if you want to raise your brand profile, attract valuable clients and create brand confidence. The growing torrent of information in the digital age has made influencers‘ role more important than ever before. Since influencers – or opinion leaders – tend to have a very good reputation in addition to a wide reach among specific target groups – or with respect to certain topics –, they can act as important multipliers. Influencers generate attention and buzz for your company, your product or your brand and they lend credibility to your marketing campaign.
Use the key points below as a guide to help you plan and set up a successful influencer marketing campaign:
How to Find the Influencers That Are Relevant to You
To engage influencers and to interact with them, first you have to find out who publishes content on topics from your specific areas of interest:
- Who are the authors?
- What is the main subject of discussion?
- Which channels do potential influencers use?
- How much impact does their message have?
In this day and age, you can choose among a wide range of influencer platforms designed to help you identify opinion leaders and contact potential brand ambassadors. However, these platforms often fail to meet all the requirements of a comprehensive influencer management approach.
To be able to identify those influencers that are truly relevant to your PR activities you should choose a tool that operates across different media and networks. Such a tool ensures that you obtain a comprehensive overview of the relevant opinion leaders across all media channels. It also gives you the opportunity to launch cross-media marketing campaigns.
In case your media campaign focuses on qualitative issues and context, you should make sure that the influencer management tool of your choice supports your language. Many influencer tools – e.g. Traackr, Crowdtap, TapInfluence, Little Bird or Appinions – were developed with the U.S. market in mind. Therefore, in the German-speaking world, the scope of these platforms is rather limited.
The Key Characteristics of Influencers
The main criteria to identify influencers are key figures on reach and virality. However, though reach and the number of followers or subscribers can serve as indicators of one’s degree of influence, they are not the only determining factors. Thus, the interaction rate, relevance scores, impact as well as sentiment analysis are also crucial in this context.
The following checklist will help you to determine whether someone is an influencer:
- What are the main topics of discussion? Does the content fit your corporate and brand philosophy?
Make sure the content matches your needs in terms of topics and that it also meets your quality requirements.
- Do they cover a wide or small range of subjects?
The more specific the subject area, the deeper the understanding of your industry. Influencers with a particular focus usually possess a lot of specialized knowledge and thus enjoy credibility among their target group.
- Does the influencer debate with readers and share background information or is the interaction limited to link sharing?
Influencers in the true sense of the word not only pass on links but they make an active contribution to the opinion-forming process.
- Does the influencer write about topics with a particular, personal focus?
True influencers not only adopt foreign ideas and trends but they also share their own ideas with readers.
How to Gain Influencers’ Support
Before making contact, in a first step you should focus on the communication and professional activities of your relevant influencer and, in a second step, take a closer look at their personal interests as well as possible incentives.
Most opinion leaders agree to sign partnerships because they are interested in a product, service or brand, or because they are convinced of its superior quality. A partnership offers them the opportunity to exchange information and knowledge, which often is incentive enough for them to cooperate.
Most influencers expect the company to provide them with exclusive information and products, which they can use for their own purposes, e.g. to write articles and reviews. Only a minority consider the financial benefits of business collaborations to be the main incentive.
If you want influencers to support your marketing campaign, you need to be smart about how to make contact and how to address them. Here’s some practical advice:
- You should let influencers know that it’s their stellar reputation that made you contact them in the first place, because influencers are well aware of their status and authority.
- Influencers expect exclusive offers and privileged information relevant to their target group and with added value. Give them products to review and access to exclusive information, because influencers are always keen to expand their sphere of influence.
- Ask them for their opinion and show them that you appreciate their expertise.
- There should be no strings attached when it comes to content, i.e. influencers should be free to express independent thoughts. The majority is deterred by rigid rules and specifications, because they don’t want to be bought.
- Don’t try to control the influencer by making false promises.
- Refrain from exerting pressure. Influencers should be free to decide when they want to review your product or brand. In the initial phase of collaboration influencers might bail if they feel you don’t give them enough time.
- Personal contact is key to creating trust between companies and influencers. BarCamps, meetups, conferences or the re:publica are perfect opportunities to get to know each other.
If companies indicate that they want to build a lasting relationship with influencers, one that benefits both sides, influencer marketing holds enormous potential. When we developed our influencer management platform we took special care to identify and meet the most important requirements to enable you to launch a successful influencer marketing campaign. Our tool’s applicability is not limited to the German-speaking market but instead identifies your relevant influencers all over the world. The tool operates across sources and connects all public media channels used by authors (traditional media, online and social media). If you want to learn more about the tool, its features and our focus, we recommend that you take a look at our website’s Influencer Research section.
Article written by Anja Kloster, Marketing Manager at pressrelations GmbH
Anja Kloster works as a marketing manager and developer of social media monitoring solutions for pressrelations GmbH in Berlin. She writes about social media, online marketing and SEO. Prior to joining pressrelations, she worked as a social media content manager and research & program planning manager for international media groups.
Translation by Anna-Maria Hollain, Translator & Media Analyst at pressrelations GmbH
Since 2011 Anna-Maria Hollain has been working as a translator and media analyst. Before that, she was an intern at the Spanish newspaper EL PAÍS in Madrid, where she wrote for the newspaper’s global edition. Her research interests include aspects of linguistic and cultural transfer across media channels and the interplay of journalism and media monitoring.
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