The Modern Marketing Influencer Blog Series asked top influencers from across the marketing spectrum what’s on their minds and what topics and pressing issues in their fields they feel are begging for more insight.
The Oracle Marketing Cloud (OMC) marketing team recently sat down with Michael Krigsman, founder and host of CXOTalk, to discuss influencer marketing. Michael is an influencer and industry analysts and also regularly interviews influencers for CXOTalk.
When Does an Influencer Program Work, and When Doesn’t It?
First and foremost, it depends on whether your goal is raising awareness or generating leads. Influencer marketing is not the same thing as demand generation. There are blurred distinctions, but most of the time, people use influencer marketing for building awareness as opposed to posting a gated white paper or hosting a webinar to collect a bunch of leads.
Second, for an influencer program to work, you as a marketer have to be able to give up some control, so think carefully about this. Influencers have their own audiences and stakeholders, as well as rules of engagement for those groups. You can make requests or suggestions regarding what influencers do and say, but you aren’t in complete control, even if they are being paid directly or indirectly. Think of influencers as having their own brand separate from yours, and your relationship is an area of overlap where you collaborate to benefit from more awareness about your separate-but-aligned messages.
So naturally, you need to make sure you are clear on what your message is and how it aligns with the influencer’s message. And be sure that your marketing strategy includes opportunities to include influencer participation, whether for blogging, quotes in longer-form content, social awareness, or events participation.
Can You Provide Some Tips for Finding the Right Influencers?
The first hurdle is, do they have an audience that is an audience you want to reach? You are looking for someone who can spread your message by expanding your existing audience or reaching a different, adjacent audience.
Next, for B2B marketing, make sure the influencer has subject matter expertise — that is, a deep understanding of the products or services. This isn’t always important for B2C marketing, but it is especially important for B2B because these purchases tend to be much larger dollar-wise and are more technical.
And third, make sure you are on board with how the influencer will engage people. Part of that is, do you feel comfortable with the influencer? Do you like that person? You are going to collaborate together, so chemistry is important.
What’s a Good Way to Approach an Influencer to Ask Them to Collaborate?
You can ask the influencer how you, as a brand, can get them engaged. I think that's a reasonable thing to ask. Rather than just send a cold email saying, “Hey, would you come to our event?” Why not send an email that says, “Dear Influencer, We love what you do, and think that you're a great fit to work with us. How do you prefer to work with our brands? We’d like to have a conversation with you.”
How Do Influencers Differ?
Different influencers work in different ways. For example, the more prominent the influencer, the more stringent their demands will be. This is because in a particular niche or subject domain, the more prominent the influencer, the more opportunities are constantly being presented to them, and these can be small, high-value niches. For example, I’m very focused on senior-level executives. That’s a pretty small niche, but it’s a very high-value niche.
So the more in-demand the influencer, the more often they are invited to events, to dinners, having attention thrown at them, lavished on them, things like that. Can you give them what they want? That needs to be considered.
Another difference comes in distinguishing between broad influencers and micro-influencers. A broader influencer is someone who might have a million followers on Twitter. A micro-influencer is somebody who has 3,000 followers on Twitter, but those followers are engaged and part of a very focused group that’s of interest to the marketer. Both of these types of influencers work well. Just remember that someone with a million followers is going to have a much more heterogeneous audience.
Influencers also vary by where they are in building their own brand, and this will affect how they want to engage with you. For example, an influencer who’s just starting out will be more than happy to attend your event for three or four days if you pay for travel. But somebody who's more prominent is not likely to want to do that. They've done that lots of times, and they receive many of those invitations, so they’ll want to do something different. Be clear on what that is, and if that fits your goal.
How Do You Define Success of an Influencer Program?
That's simple. When you're done, you look back and you say, “We are happy with what we got out of it, and the influencer is happy with what they got out of it, and everybody wants to do it again.”
Like you, the top priority for influencers is to build and engage with their audience — people who like what they do and like to hear what they have to say. If you align on the other things we’ve discussed, it should be the start of a great relationship.
Influencers marketing can pay great dividends, but for any marketing campaign to achieve success you need the right tools to accomplish your goals. Find out how Oracle Marketing Cloud (OMC) can help you upgrade your marketing game.