Social Amplification Part 2 of 3 – What is Influencer Marketing?

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Using influencer marketing for social amplification

In part one of this series, we took a close look at social amplification; what it is and why you should include it as part of your digital marketing strategy. One common method for increasing social amplification is through the use of influencer marketing.

Influencer or influence marketing a branch of social marketing that grown in recent years, as brands focus on specific key individuals within their target market. Companies use these influential individuals to help carry their message to the entire target market as a whole.

Influencers can have the power to impact purchasing and engagement decisions of others due to their perceived authority within a particular topic or industry. Often, your best choices are with individuals who have an engaged and and active audience which aligns with your target market. Influencers may include:

  • Analysts
  • Trade publications
  • Journalists
  • Industry thought leaders
  • Professional bloggers
  • Social only influencers

 

Identifying Influencers

The first step in creating an influencer marketing campaign is to identify those key individuals who wield influence within your space. There are a number of methods you can use to find influencers, depending on the level of manual leg work you want to do.

The first method is more manual and completed through the same basic tools you may already use for social listening. Use a social listening app, such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Sysomos or gShift’s Social Keyword Research Module to track the conversations happening around your industry, product or topic area. You can also use these tools to track mentions of your own brand and find influencers who already have an affinity to your company.

The second method for finding influencers involves investing in a more robust tool designed to specifically identify and/or track influencers for you. This is a fast emerging market with new tools being released regularly. While there are many that I could go into, here are a few that I have reviewed specifically.

InNetwork – This platform connects marketers with influencers for both paid and non-paid campaigns. Using the roster feature, ogranizations can build a digital address book of influencers for various campaigns and topics. InNetwork’s proprietary scoring system, pricing model, and SmartBrief make it easy for agency planners, brand managers, and PR professionals to easily search for, select and engage influencers they can trust to deliver.

Traackr – This one is great when it comes to identifying social users you should align your brand with. To sum it up in the best way possible, this system is a comprehensive search engine for influencers across all social networks, based on topic areas, keywords, brands, competitors, etc. Traackr allows you to create dynamic lists and gage sentiment from within the app. My favourite part about this system is that it finds all influencers, not simply opt-in paid opportunities, but anyone talking in the space of your search query.

TapInfluence – This is a much more robust system that not only identifies influencers based on brand or keyword search, but also allows you to completely build and track a campaign from within their app. Basically, it is an influencer and content marketing platform all-in-one. TapInfluence uses an opt-in system, meaning you will only be connected with professional paid influencers. However, the capability of their system allows you to track content from the app and see many of the metrics we have listed below in one screen.

InsightPool – This system is a little more targeted, with their influencer search feature only being built into Twitter at this time. However, they offer a few key features that many other systems do not. Such as drip campaigns for automation and tools to allow for much more targeted messaging to the right Twitter users. InsightPool has developed a very comprehensive algorithm that analyzes dozes of social factors continuously to generate an incredibly dynamic list of relevant users.

Paid Influencers vs. Organic Influencers

When looking to work with influencers, it is important to know the difference between paid and organic. Often, a well built digital marketing strategy will involve both.

Organic influencers are individuals who have built an authority within your industry or with your audience. It is likely they may have a genuine interest in your brand or the products or services that you offer. They don’t take sponsored content in the direct sense, but rather for the sake of providing valuable insight to their readers.

Paid influencers have also built an authority within your industry and audience and share content based on adding value to their readers. However, they will review and promote your brand, product or services to their network for a set compensation.

Working with Influencers

Start by developing a strategy to engage and build relationships with influencers and create campaigns they may participate in. Be as detailed with the campaign brief as possible and create a toolkit to ensure your influencers any key messages, brand assets and details necessary.

To work with organic influencers, you need to build a relationship with each influencer to ensure that they are the right fit for your brand. Be engaging with the influencer to help nurture a mutually positive relationship. Create Facebook lists and Twitter lists to pay closer attention to your influencers to ensure you are sharing their content and developing a social history. You will want to give influencers as much information and support as they require, but do not bombard them unnecessarily.

Similarly as with organic, you need to build a relationship with each paid influencer to determine if they are the right fit for your brand. Get to know their content, social media interactions and see how well they perform for other brands they represent. Give your paid influencers as much detail as possible. As mentioned above, consider creating a toolkit to outline campaign, brand and product details and include logos, images, etc. Also consider an ambassador badge to allow them to promote their partnership with your brand.Toolkit for Influence Marketing Campaigns

TIP: Download our free Influencer Marketing Toolkit Template and use it as a guide to ensure you are providing your influencers with the right information.

Most influencers live by a strict rule to give honest opinions to their readers, first and foremost. This goes for both organic and paid partnerships. Paying an influencer does not guarantee a positive
review. Having a solid relationship and open communication between yourself and your influencers can help to alleviate any confusion or frustrations they may be having with your brand, product or service.

Tracking Influencer Marketing Results

As with all aspects of marketing, it is critical to track the analytics of your influencer campaigns in order to identify what is working and what needs revisiting. There are a number of metrics you can focus on to get a clear picture of the campaign results.

  • Referrals
  • Bounce Rate
  • Conversions
  • Click-Throughs
  • Social Signals
  • Social Shares

 

TIP: Use a system, such as gShift’s Content Performance Campaign and Reporting Module to easily follow and track all the right metrics around your influencer campaigns. Also, be sure to create a unique URL for each individual influencer to use within their content. This will allow you to better track the click through rate from each piece of content.

With regards to paid influencers, you can and should also request a campaign report they can generate and provide on their end. This would include a few specific numbers that only they can provide, such as total pageviews and unique visitors.

Social Amplification Series:

Question:

Do you use influencer marketing for your brand’s digital marketing strategy now? Sound off in the comments below!

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