Keep it simple, keep it human
If, like me, you grew up in an industry focused on traditional media relations, you may be wondering: What’s the secret sauce for breaking through with influencers?
I sat down with Peter White, Text100’s Influencer Relations whiz, and got his top tips for newbies. So, from the horse’s mouth, to successfully plan and execute an influencer program you need to:
Do your research
Similar to building a media list for an announcement, finding the right influencer starts with research. Know the topics and issues they cover and make sure that what you’re offering them aligns.
Don’t underestimate the value of Google as a research tool. This can help find people who speak at industry events, or contribute content to media outlets.
Social networks are also hotbeds for influencer activity. An advanced Twitter search will help you find the people who are talking about the right topics. There are also specialized platforms like Traackr that not only help you identify the right influencers for your company, but also record engagements and measure the value of influencer relationships, so you can determine which ones are worth exploring.
Consider their resonance
So you’ve found an influencer who covers the main topic your brand cares about? Congratulations!
Next you’ll need to take a deeper look at what they’re saying and how they engage with their audience. An influencer who broadcasts but doesn’t drive conversations on a topic isn’t as valuable as someone who is a true catalyst for ongoing dialogue. Ideally, you want to create relationships with influencers who are actively engaged with their audiences.
Does the influencer have an original viewpoint and a distinctive voice? An influencer who adds a unique perspective is much more valuable than one who repeats what’s already being said.
Also keep in mind that the size of their network isn’t the most important measurement. Just because an influencer has a huge following doesn’t mean they’re right for your brand. Ensure the people who engage with your target influencer are the people with whom you want to engage.
An influencer relations campaign shouldn’t focus just on your company and why it’s so great. These relationships need to be a win-win for the influencer and the brand.
There are several ways organizations can provide value to influencers. Perhaps the most obvious method is through monetary compensation. Influencers charge for their services – make sure you budget for this! Pricing will vary depending on the activity, the influencer’s reputation and the company’s ongoing relationship with them (more to come on that part).
Other ways companies can provide value to influencers is by granting them access to people who can share interesting stories, or provide an opportunity for the influencer to raise their profile. Popular examples might be a speaking slot at a corporate event, or a guest spot on a popular blog.
Keep the door open
The most successful influencer relations campaigns are ongoing relationships that deepen over time. Your goal should be to build a long-term relationship with key influencers who understand your brand and point of view. This doesn’t happen overnight.
Finally, brands should make sure they understand, and offer opportunities that align with, each influencer’s goals. Keep in mind that the best relationships take place both on- and offline.
By following these guidelines, those who are new to the influencer scene can become confident, seasoned practitioners.