The clothing company Carhartt engaged customers as paid advocates to answer buyer questions. Peninsula Hotels worked with a style blogger to stay at its hotel and blog about the experience to her luxury lifestyle readers. And AT&T partnered with five Snapchat celebrities to create a crowdsourced miniseries. Influencer marketing programs such as these have the potential to contribute to marketing efforts in a variety of ways.
Influencer marketing is a key part of social marketing that spreads the word about your brand and shapes audience beliefs and behaviors, noted Jennifer Polk, research director, Gartner for Marketing Leaders. But influencer programs come with confusion and challenges. Why, specifically, do we need an influencer program? What is the right type of influencer to achieve the desired marketing goals? Who are the right influencers for our brand?
Adopt three behaviors to get the most out of your influencer program.
Clarify program goals
To design and manage a successful influencer program, it’s important to define goals and desired outcomes. Are we trying to fill gaps in content, credibility or connections? Do we need to reach a new audience? Is it important to extend the reach of brand content? Or does the marketing team need to build brand awareness or facilitate deeper engagement? Answering these questions first lays the ground-work for methodically working through influencer selection, starting with the type of influencer.
Focus on influencer types
One size does not fit all when it comes to influencers. There are five categories of influencers: media influencers, celebrities, industry influencers, customers and employees. Understanding the types of influencers helps guide selection and resource needs. For example, celebrity chefs might be the right influencer type if the brand needs to shore up credibility or drive awareness in a broad market. But a food blogger (media type) might be a better fit to create content for the holiday baking segment. Once the type of influencer is narrowed, use reach, relevance and resonance as filters for assessing strategy and the fit of individual influencers.
Choose the right influencer
Influence isn’t characterized by any one factor. It’s composed of reach, relevance and resonance.
- Reach is the ability to amplify a message to a large audience or a desirable niche audience.
- Relevance is the strength of the connection between the influencer and the brand, industry or topic.
- Resonance is the ability of the influencer to not only be heard, but also to drive desired audience behavior.
Use these three factors as a lens through which to identify and compare influencers for your program and its specific needs and goals. These factors can also be used to reinvigorate and breathe new life into existing influencer marketing efforts.