All marketers face the same problems every day, figuring out ways to captivate their audience with quality content. The concept that content is king is well known to all, but the real problem that businesses face now is that firms have to focus on generating a non-stop stream of quality content.
Creating remarkable content is the first step to an effective strategy but if nobody actually interacts with your content it’s a lost effort. Finding the key influencers that will amplify content is the next step, this is where content marketing and influencer marketing become best friends in modern marketing.
First things first, when businesses create content it generally will be aimed directly at the customers hoping that they will engage and moreover share the content. When creating content with an influencer marketing strategy in mind be sure to focus on the influencers. These influencers or thought leaders will amplify the content and will reach the customers leaving a more credible and trusting message than direct engagement aimed towards the customer. This is why influencer marketing is seen as essential to a successful marketing strategy. (If you are completely new to influencer marketing, don’t worry we thought about you, check out this infographic that explains influencer marketing in 5 easy steps.)
As a business knowing your customers it’s time to identify the influencers that will sway the customers’ buying decisions. The most important part of (influencer) marketing is to define the end goals of a strategy. Is the business looking for brand recognition, ROI, market share or lead gen? These different outcomes all require different approaches to influencer identification and outreach.
Context is important here; be sure to identify the right key influencers to engage with. How many key influencers will be sufficient? Well this depends on the activity and size of the firm, but we would recommend from 50 to 200. For a big B2C firm looking at a popular topic it will be quite easy to find +100 influencers compared to a B2B SME looking at a niche topic in tech or manufacturing. But don’t get discouraged, every topic has its own community and some of these people will be thought leaders and they will influence the consumer groups valuable to your business or product.
Don’t only focus on the top 10 influencers once a list of influencers has been defined. Lower ranked influencers also called tier 2 influencers can be very effective for any campaign and it is often easier to engage with them. The tier 2 influencers are very helpful in discovering rich sub communities and can allow rapid scaling of influencer marketing.
‘This is a fragment of an influencer network map around the topic of content marketing, building these maps is a way of understanding connections between your key influencers and understanding the influencer landscape on a particular topic. We have done a full top 100 list and network map of all the key influencers based on the content marketing discussion on twitter, right here.‘
Businesses and marketers already have a predefined number of channels to reach out to the target market. The company blog, social media, community blogs, forums etc. are all very valuable channels if used correctly.
Starting to engage influencers right away is possible, but listen to what they have to say to make sure the messaging is always relevant. Once you know what influencers are talking about, start engaging them and tracking their response to the conveyed messages.
The idea is to look beyond the conventional channels and this is where influencers can help a great deal. Let’s illustrate this with an example; there’s new content ready to be posted with your key thought leaders in mind. When sharing the content don’t hesitate to mention the key influencers (ask them for quotes or their view on the topic for example), this will engage them and they will share the content if it’s valuable to their community. Their community will then see the value and talk about it on their networks and so forth. This snowball effect defines the effectiveness of influencer marketing in the noisy online landscape and makes you stand out from the competition.
When adapting the content strategy to the key influencers, the content will ultimately reach your consumer group. All consumers now research the internet looking for reviews and opinions on products or services. This increase in transparency forced a lot of firms to be more honest about their value proposition. Thought leaders are transparent and this is why a lot of consumers trust their opinions on defined topics.
Some experience has now been gained by the business trying to influence the influencers, think about ways of scaling the influencer marketing strategy to reach higher effectiveness. Keep in mind that developing a good influencer marketing strategy doesn’t happen overnight.
After some time a good amount of influencers will be defined that can amplify your messages. Understanding when those influencers are most open to listening to the conveyed messages drives organizations forward. By effectively combining tier 1 and tier 2 influencers the strategy becomes scalable and will reach more people with the same resources. Be sure to keep an “always on” attitude towards engagement and build on the relationships that are already developed to maximize the marketing success.
Thank you for reading and if you want to learn more about influencer marketing, please get in touch with me on LinkedIn or Twitter
Photos: Folkert Gorter - http://superfamous.com/