How to Win Friends and Influencers
Being an area of abundant theory, research, and statistics (So. Many. Statistics), the theoretical study of how-to-market-your-business has spewed forth a veritable mountain of concepts and buzz words, many of which now orbit the marketing studies arena like so many pieces of space junk. Remember ‘Synergy’?
A fresh term, which has emerged from the Social Media Department of Marketing Everything, is the introduction of the ‘brand influencer’. The identification of this concept as an important theory truly represents how advertising is leaving behind one-way-communication for ever. Make way for the era of marketing as a group conversation.
Brand Influencers are individuals or companies which are able to lend credibility and/or visibility to your product, simply by publicly associating with it. In the past, this would be stiffly engaged by use of celebrity endorsements or ‘credible witness’ campaigns. But even back then, the momentous power of the influencer was at work through word-of-mouth and referrals. This illusive and ethereal connectivity between Customer A and their whole community was thoroughly studied and analysed – but could never be organically manipulated – until the age of Social Media.
Find existing influencers.
On Social Media we can SEE who our influencers are. Every platform has a way of seeking out who is talking about your brand, sharing your content, engaging with your business. Look after these people! Follow them back, acknowledge their shares, encourage them to talk to you as the person and the brand.
These interactions will also develop a sense of place for your brand, in that it feels like it exists in real-life somewhere. That’s a powerful way to stand out in a virtual world.
Be an influencer.
BE an influencer. You can comment, like and share the content of influencers you are targeting – and possible become an influencer they value. (What is going to get someone’s attention? Shouting your name or theirs?)
Retweet their tweets, share their blog, show them support and you will have kicked off an alignment with their brand (even if they don’t reciprocate!).
>>It is important when entering into this situation that you demonstrate generosity, not self-promotion. You will definitely seem like a jerk and probably be blocked from your targets’ accounts if you ignore this advice. Be polite on their digital real estate.<<
Value your community.
No matter what business you are in, your product is only necessary because there is a culture around believing this to be so. That culture is supported by every other product similar to yours, supplying to a demand which EVERYBODY on the supplier end needs to look after. Promote the general need for whatever line of supply your are in as a whole. Congratulate those who are doing it well. Share positive information about stand out individuals in your industry and how important they are to keeping the culture of your industry safe/reliable/innovative/validated.
>>When you work from a community-first approach, you make it very easy for influencers to support you, as they aren’t jeopardising relationships they might have with your competitors.<<
Do some market research.
A little bit of research into what influencers your influencers have, or who is an influencer for a brand in your field, is not illegal or morally wrong. Like and follow the pages your competitors like, and follow who is following them. Select those who seems active and post generously, who have similar values and priorities to your brand.
That’s what networking is – in the technical AND marketing sense. Plus, these extended (potential) influencers become a fabulous brains-trust for ‘reading’ the environment in which you are navigating your brand.
For more experienced brand-developers, check out Kissmetrics Definitive Guide to Influencer Targeting. (See what I did there?)
Mel Anastas, Do Re Media Consultant and Creative