Influencer marketing isn’t a new thing. Marketers have long been trying to find ways to leverage the influence of others to sell a product. Prior to the digital revolution, celebrity endorsements were prime influencer marketing, but the nature of influence has changed.
According to a recent study from Augure, a reputation management software, the biggest problems marketers have are identifying the right influencers, engaging with them and quantifying the influence. Celebrity doesn’t always equate to influence anymore. In fact, less than 25 percent of those surveyed consider a well-known celebrity an influencer.
Lisa Barone, VP of strategy at Overit says too many brands are focused on the numbers. “Having a large following doesn’t necessarily mean you’re influential or that you can inspire people to actually do something.”
And herein lies the true benefit of influencer marketing — leveraging someone else’s influence to connect with customers. Barone says this kind of influence can be especially powerful for smaller brands who have a hard time building an audience from scratch. Influencers are a good way for these smaller brands to connect with an audience that’s already engaged around their topic.
So how do you identify the right influencers for your brand? The Augure study identified three main attributes:
Echo: the ability to get people to take action
Exposition: the potential for audience exposure
Share of voice: or the influencers level of activity in the conversation
After the influencer is identified, the next step is to engage. While 66 percent of the Augure survey participants said email was the best way to reach out to influencers, Barone says that it’s important to build relationships by seeding the conversation. She says the Overit team does this by reaching out on social media and commenting on the blogs of influencers they hope to engage with.
“Once we’re confident they have some awareness of us and that we’re no longer a stranger, we’ll usually reach out in an email,” Barone says. “That tends to have a better response once we’ve had that initial contact with them online.”
Of course, you should always keep the goal in mind. Nearly 80 percent of the survey participants said influencers can play a strategic role in a product launch. Nearly 60 percent identified sharing content as the strategic role of the influencers.
While nearly 70 percent of brands say their influencer marketing campaigns are effective, only 31 percent are using business metrics to measure the impact of their influencer interactions. In fact, many brands are measuring impact based on social media mentions, shared content and web traffic. Social mentions are great but brands have to be careful not to neglect other quantitative measures.
Barone pointed to lifestyle and mommy blogger Heather “Dooce” Armstrong. “If she mentions a new product or Etsy store, it sells out. That’s influence.”
Check out the full report from Augure.
*featured image credit: stux