There has been a lot of talk happening about Influencer Marketing. It’s not going to replace Social or Content Marketing, because it can’t exist without them they work hand in glove. If you’re new to IM and aren’t quite sure what that means, then you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to break it all down for you, starting at the most obvious of starting points:

What is Influencer Marketing ?

Influencer Marketing is a hybrid of old and new marketing tools, taking the idea of the celebrity endorsement and placing it into a modern day content-driven marketing campaign. The main differentiator in the case of  influencer marketing is that the results of the campaign are collaborations between brands and influencers

Influencers, unlike celebrities, can be anywhere. They can be anyone. What makes them influential is their large followings on the web and social media. An influencer can be a popular fashion photographer on Instagram, or a well-read cybersecurity blogger who tweets, or a respected marketing executive on LinkedIn. Within any industry, there are influential people—you just have to find them. They are easily recognized by their hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of followers, and that’s the target audience you’re after.

What works in Influencer Marketing ?

Carefully consider your approach in influencer marketing

  • Be organized, put together a strategy, plan and budget, spend time on research
  • Be patient and be human – people talking to people, not companies talking to companies

Develop a schedule

  • Does the influencer prefer monthly/quarterly/biannual calls or newsletters?
  • Integrate with your PR schedule, product release schedule, etc.
  • Send emails on behalf of key executives. Plan travel schedules for exec and arrange face-to-face meetings

What Influencer Marketing is not ?

This is a good time to point out that IM isn’t just about finding someone with an audience and offering them money or exposure so they can say good things about you. That’s what viral celebrities are for. Influencers are people who’ve spent time building their own brand and cultivating their audience; they will be naturally protective of their reputation and the people who trust them. They’re people who had the patience and focus to succeed in social media, one organic follower at a time—people like this aren’t interested in a quick payout.
Influencer Marketing is also not about quick payouts. It’s the same kind of slow-and-steady approach as Social Media and Content Marketing, where your campaign isn’t about directly selling your wares. It’s about demonstrating your authority, credibility, and thought-leadership within your industry. It’s about becoming synonymous with whatever it is that you offer, like when people say they’re going to Xerox a document instead of photocopying it.
With Social Media Marketing, it’s a slow game of acquiring the kind of followers who are going to be loyal and engaged. It’s tempting to think that joining forces with an influencer is going to be an easy way into the hearts and minds of her followers—it’s not that simple, though. Because to ally yourself with influencers, you’ve got to earn their trust and respect. But how?

What doesn’t work in Influencer Marketing ?

Generalizing your approach to finding & making use of different influencers. One size doesn’t fit all influencers: tailor your approach to the specific influencer. Simply looking at the popularity of the influencer. Influence does not only mean popularity, remember that your goal is to elicit a specific action from your customers.There are no advertising tricks used in these campaigns, no disingenuous celebrities smiling over a product you know they’ve never used. Think about this way: the CMI conference campaign was a straight up content marketing play, commissioned by the people who wrote the book on content marketing, and aimed at other campaign marketers. These are all people who know the “tricks of the trade,” but the campaign worked. And that’s because in this case the trick is that there is no trick.

  • The best Social Marketing works because it’s nothing more than a natural social interaction.
  • The best Content Marketing works because the information is genuinely helpful.
  • And the best IM works because it relies on both Social and Content marketing tools, where credibility and genuine authority are already established in the minds of the audience.