by Emily Mouyeos*
Influence marketing is beginning to showcase itself as an effective tool in social media strategies. Companies such as Starbucks and Virgin America have partnered with Klout , a startup that measures influence on Twitter, to identify influencing social media users. The criteria used to identify key influencers include more than 25 variables used to measure “true reach,” “amplification probability,” and “network score.” Klout’s website explains that, “The size of the sphere is calculated by measuring True Reach (engaged followers and friends vs. spam bots, dead accounts, etc.). Amplification Probability is the likelihood that messages will generate retweets or spark a conversation. If the user’s engaged followers are highly influential, they’ll have a high Network Score.”
The examples of Starbucks and Virgin America shows how companies are reaching out to find influencers to (in the words of Frank Sinatra) “start spreading the news” or share their valued opinion on a product or service. However, it can be just as important for the company to be the influencer, especially in B-to-B marketing. Being an influencer means you need to create a following (True Reach), have smart and interesting things to say (Amplification Probability) and connect with other shakers and movers (Network Score.)
This article, appearing on The Drum, offers some tips for effective influencer marketing, among them:
- Focus on the Influencer.
- Focus on Transactions.
- Focus on the Story, not the pay-off.
- Measure what counts.
If want to become an influencer then scoring high in these areas will pay off for your sales and retention efforts. If people come to know and like you, they will want to buy from you. Co-founder of influencer marketing company Pursway, Ran Shaul states, “The fundamental marketing challenge today is more strategic than tactical. Numerous studies all draw the same conclusion – the majority of people buy based on the conversation and recommendations of trusted friends, family members, colleagues and, increasingly, online reviewers.”
He then goes on to cite Nielsen’s latest Global Online Consumer Survey, which revealed that out of over 25,000 Internet consumers, from 50 countries, “90 percent of consumers surveyed said they trust recommendations from people they know, while 70 trust consumer opinions posted online.” Incidentally, 70 percent of consumers surveyed also indicated that they “trusted brand websites completely or somewhat.” With 64 percent listing that they trust “brand sponsorships.”
How does this translate to sales and retention efforts? Becoming the influencer (directly or indirectly) gives you direct connection to potential clients who will remember you when they are looking to buy. These types of relationships increase brand awareness and prove you are a trusted advisor through thought leadership. Potential clients plugged into the industry chatter will know who you are and what you are about. Social Media has made it incredibly easy to share information. You no longer have to write a book to be considered an expert or impact the community.
As an example, I loved watching the phenomenal initiative; “Help A PR Pro Out” (HAPPO) impact the PR community. The campaign partnered together “PR Pros” with recent graduates looking for jobs in this tough economy. It may not have been the intent of the co-founders, Arik Hanson, ACH Communications, and Valerie Simon, BurrellesLuce, but they instantly became industry influencers to the young generation of PR professionals. You better believe that the college graduates will look to them for future partnerships and will one day become influencers themselves, not to mention the group of current PR influencers HAPPO was able to group together. I think the HAPPO campaign hit all of the “high scoring” variables used by Klout on the head. They created a strong following of PR pros and college graduates, gave out incredibly valuable information and gathered together the PR industries current and future influencers.
Do you know of any influence marketing campaigns where the influencer is the actual company? What are potential pitfalls to a company striving to be an intentional influencer?
*Bio: Emily Mouyeos joined the BurrellesLuce account management team with a background in nonprofit communication and development. Her background and current experience with BurrellesLuce allows her to effectively address client needs and consolidate feedback for senior management. To Emily, nothing feels better than helping others achieve their goal, whether it’s professionally or personally. By focusing on client management through the Fresh Ideas blog, she hopes to evaluate new client management trends, as well as provide insight to the pros and cons of current practices. She looks forward to connecting with the readers of Fresh Ideas for new perspectives and dialogue on issues that affect overall success. LinkedIn: Emily Mouyeos Twitter: @BurrellesLuce Facebook: BurrellesLuce